Beary Chocolate Macarons

Beary Chocolate Macarons

Hiya!

I love a good challenge, not from someone else but I like to challenge myself! I also love kawaii things. I’ve seen many teddy bear head macarons but I really wanted to make a whole teddy. So I played around and tried a couple chocolate macaron recipes and drew my own teddy macaron template and you know what, I’m really pleased with how they turned out!

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I couldn’t decide between arms on the side or arms on top so I ended up doing a few of each. I piped two batches of macarons and strangely the first batch came out best. It is essential that the base shape has formed a skin, ready to go into the oven, before you add the tails to the backs and the arms to the front, otherwise it does not keep its shape & will just be absorbed by the base shape.

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Chocolate Macaron Recipe

50g egg whites (aged 24 hours)

pinch of salt

45g caster sugar

65g ground almonds

60g icing sugar

5g cocoa powder

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Remove the ages egg whites from the fridge.

Sieve the ground almonds ensuring you get 65g of almonds through the sieve. Keep the larger bits for another project. Next sieve the icing sugar & cocoa. Mix it together until evenly distributed.

Ensure the bowl you are going to whip your eggs in is very clean. Wipe it out with lemon juice & some paper towel.

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Usuing a handheld beater whip the eggs. When they start getting foamy add a pinch of salt. Continue to whip until you can see trails in the bowl, gradually add the caster sugar. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form. No colours are required for chocolate macarons as the cocoa powder will colour it brown.

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Fold in 1/3 of the almond/icing sugar/cocoa mixture at a time. Fold gently to avoid flattening the mixture too much.

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Once your mixture has combined and flows off the spatula in a ribbon like way & honey like consistency, it is ready to pipe. It should not drop off the spatula.

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Place your template under the parchment paper or silpat mat and pipe your macarons. I found that turning my silpat mat upside down made it easier to see my template below.

Rap the tray on the table 3 or 4 times before allowing your macarons to rest for 30 mins & form a skin.

Place the oven shelf on the lowest rung and remove any other shelves. Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Bake the macarons for 12-14 mins depending on their size. Test if they are done by touching the side of one, it should not wobble.

Allow to cool on the tray.

This is the link to my Buttercream recipe. The quantities I used are:

50g butter

100g icing sugar

1TBS Nutella

1TBS caramel

I made American buttercream and divided it in half before flavouring half with Nutella and the other half with caramel.

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Pipe the buttercream onto the backs of the teddies and match up with a front. I used pink and black edible markers to draw the faces.

I hope you think they’re as cute as I do. I packaged them up nicely & gave them as gifts to my kids teachers.

Cxx

Summer Dessert Pavlova

Summer Dessert Pavlova

Hiya!

Spring is truly here now & I wanted to show you a fancy dessert for sunny days, a Vegan Meringue Pavlova. Made with the liquid you usually discard from a tin of chickpeas which is whipped up to replace egg whites. There are a few recipes online and a facebook group too and I just love trying new recipes.

Sadly I tried a few times but it just would not whip up enough to hold its shape once piped & cooked. It may have been the gel food colouring I added, I’m not sure. My first batch rose very quickly in the oven & while you could still see the shapes I’d piped from the colours, it did not hold its shape.

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Before baking the vegan meringue

I eventually gave in, separated 3 eggs and made a real meringue. I think a pav is best served with berries & cream but by the time I’d decided to just use eggs & was ready to take pics. I’d eaten all the pretty berries! My plan was to pile them all up in the middle.

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Meringue

3 egg whites (weigh them)

Caster sugar (double the weight of the egg whites)

1tsp vanilla extract

Gel food colouring

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Heat your oven to 180°C

Ensure that your mixer bowl and whisk are clean and grease free as meringue will not whip up if there is any water or grease.

Weigh your egg whites and take note of what they weigh.

Weigh your caster sugar in a heat proof bowl. Caster sugar should be double the weight of the egg whites.

Place your caster sugar in the oven at 180°C for 5 mins.

Prepare your parchment paper. On the wrong side draw a circle with a smaller circle inside so that you know where to start and end piping. Turn the parchment over and place onto a baking tray.

After the sugar has been in the oven for 5 mins start to whip your egg whites, once white and foamy, take the sugar out the oven and slowly add one tablespoon of sugar at a time while the mixer is going.

Turn the oven down to 100°C.

Once all the sugar is added, scrape down the sides and add 1 tsp of vanilla extract.

Whip for 5 mins and test a little meringue between your fingers, if it still feels grainy whip for another 5 mins. Once it feels smooth I added teal gel food colouring and mixed until evenly distributed.

I used a Wilton 1B and 1M piping tips and painted gel food colouring stripes inside the piping bags. I filled my piping bag with meringue and piped roses and stars onto my prepared parchment paper.

Bake at 100°C for 1 hour 20 mins which gives you a crispy outside and soft middle. Turn the oven off and use a wooden spoon to keep the door ajar for 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the tray.

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If you have had success with Vegan Meringue please let me know as I would love to give it another try.

Happy Baking!

Cxx

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Hiya!

It’s not quite February yet but I’m seeing Valentine’s Day ideas all over social media. Have you been looking around at ideas yet? To give you some inspiration this week I’ve made Red Velvet Cupcakes which goes with the whole red & white theme of Valentines Day.

My cupcakes didn’t turn out quite red enough in my opinion but they did taste great! I used a very dark cocoa powder so this could be the reason but be warned, this recipe requires a lot of red food colouring.

I decided to decorate the cream cheese icing with rice paper butterflies. You can buy sheets of rice paper from Amazon for around £5 and I used some butterfly punches that I already had at home. I also sprayed the butterflies with an edible pearlised shimmer spray but sadly this didn’t show up so well in the photos.

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Red Velvet Cupcakes – Makes 12

60g softened butter

150g caster sugar

1 egg

20g cocoa powder

40ml red food colouring

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

120ml buttermilk

150g plain flour

1/2 tsp  bicarb

1 1/2tsp white vinegar

Turn the oven onto 170°C

Measure out the butter & caster sugar in the mixer bowl and beat on a medium speed until light & fluffy.

Scrape down the sides and add the egg. Beat until well incorporated. Scrape down the sides and mix again.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a very thick, dark paste. Note on the food colouring: I use gel paste food colouring and 40ml of this would have been more than my whole bottle. I squeezed a small dollop into some water to make up 40ml and thought this would have been strong enough. I would recommend using at least half a tsp of gel paste food colouring with water for this recipe as mine was not strong enough.)

Add to the butter and mix until all combined. Scrape down the sides and mix again.

Turn the mixer down to low and slowly pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed and then add half the flour and mix again until incorporated. Add the other half of the buttermilk and mix well. Then the remaining flour and mix again until incorporated.

Scrape down the bowl, turn the speed up to high and mix until you have a smooth and even mixture.

Turn the mixer down to slow and add the bicarb and vinegar, beat until well mixed and then turn the mixer up to high again and mix for another 2 mins.

Evenly divide the mixture between 12 paper cases which should be about 2/3 full.

Bake for 20mins until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

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Cool in the tray for 5 mins and then remove to a cooling rack.

Cream Cheese Icing

300g icing sugar

50g softened butter

125g cold cream cheese

Sift the icing sugar and add butter. Slowly beat this to prevent a white storm cloud until the mixture comes together.

Add the cream cheese and beat on medium until well incorporated. Scrape down the sides and turn the speed up to high, beat for about 5 mins until light & fluffy. Don’t beat much longer than this as it can become runny.

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I chose to pipe my cream cheese icing onto the cupcakes but you could also just spread it with a knife.

I hope you like this recipe and if you give it a try please remember to tag me in your pics #sprinklesinthewild

Cxx

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P.S. This recipe is from the Hummingbird bakery Cookbook with a few tweeks to the way I like to do things.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream vs American Buttercream

Swiss Meringue Buttercream vs American Buttercream

One of the most important decisions to make when baking is what to cover your cake or cupcakes with. While you can do lots of different techniques with sugarpaste, many people don’t enjoy eating it.

I love to work with and eat buttercream but what do you prefer? Swiss Meringue Buttercream or American Buttercream? I grew up eating cake with American buttercream, mostly chocolate in flavour as that is always my Dad’s preference. While I still love chocolate American buttercream, I have learnt the dream, that is Swiss meringue buttercream too. I still make both as sometimes you just need a super sweet American buttercream topped cupcake

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Below are both the recipes that I use, the quantities are enough to cover a 3 layer 6″ cake or 18 cupcakes with a bit left over. Below that you will find some flavour combination ideas but the world really is your oyster here.

American Buttercream

350g  softened butter (salted/unsalted I don’t mind)

700g icing sugar (aka powdered sugar)

2tsp vanilla extract (my favourite is vanilla bean paste with the little black dots)

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Beat the butter for 5 mins until paler in colour.

Sieve icing sugar into mixer.

Start mixing slowly, once combined turn the speed up to medium/high and beat for about 10mins.

Scrape down the side and add your colouring and flavouring if you choose. Mix until combined.

You can make more or less as required just keep the ratio of double icing sugar to butter.

 

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

(You will require a candy thermometer for this)

buttercream_ingreds150g egg whites (room temperature) about 4 large eggs

250g caster sugar

340g softened butter

2tsp vanilla extract

1/4tsp salt

Wipe the mixer bowl and separate heat proof bowl, if required, with lemon juice or vinegar to remove any traces of grease.

Make a double boiler by placing simmering water below but without touching the mixing bowl or another heat proof bowl.

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Add egg whites and caster sugar to the bowl, whisking constantly but gently until the temp reaches 60°C or until the sugar has completely dissolved and egg whites are hot.

Attach bowl to mixer or pour into mixer bowl and use the whisk attachment. Whip until the meringue is glossy and the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm. About 7-10mins.

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Switch to a mixer attachment and on a low speed add cubes of butter one at a time until all mixed in. Continue mixing until silky smooth.

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Add vanilla and salt and continue mixing until well combined.

Scrape down the side and add your colouring and flavouring if you choose. Mix until combined.

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If the buttercream curdles, keep mixing on a low speed and it will become smooth again. If the buttercream is too runny, refrigerate for about 15mins before continuing mixing.

Flavouring

There are a multitude of different flavour extracts that you can buy in tiny bottles. I love bubblegum, coconut, peppermint, lavender and rose water but you can also add additional ingredients to the buttercream for flavour.

Zest of 2 lemons or limes with 3 tbs of the juice

Peanut butter 3/4 cup (one of my all time favourites)

Chocolate 2/3 cup cooled melted chocolate (white, milk & dark all work)

Strawberry puree 2/3 cup with a pinch of black pepper

Colouring

Lets not forget colouring, I use a gel food colour which does not affect the buttercream consistency while still giving you great vibrancy and you can find every colour in the rainbow.

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Enjoy your baking and let me know what you prefer.

Cxx

 

 

 

 

Hiya!

I’m Claire.

 

I love rainbows, I love bright colours and I LOVE sprinkles! I have been known to be a little over zealous with my use of sprinkles but you know how they end up everywhere? For the next week or so you find 2 or 3 every time you move something in the kitchen…those are sprinkles in the wild!

 

This is my very first blog post. This is a big leap for me as I’m not very good with words, in fact most of my friends would probably describe me as abrupt. I don’t mean to be like that but thats just me. So wish me good luck and here we go…

 

I’m originally from Durban, South Africa but currently live in Hamburg, Germany with my hubby, 2 kiddies & 2 dogs.

 

I’m starting this blog as a portfolio for my baking, I really enjoy custom baking from home but I am currently unable to do so and hope to be able to use this as reference for when I can pick it up again.

 

I hope you will enjoy it.

Cxx