Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Whether you’re celebrating with a special someone today, having a Galentine’s day, or just want to treat yourself, we have the perfect easy treat for you 🙂
This is a great last minute treat to make if you’re scrambling for ideas on what sweet treat to make for your Valentine today. You can either enjoy them yourself or package them up in a nice little treat box or cellophane baggies and give them out as gifts! Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Here are all the ingredients you’ll need:
White chocolate wafers (any white chocolate will do)
Pink chocolate wafers (optional)
Pink, red, and white sprinkles
First, melt your white chocolate and pink chocolate wafers in separate bowls. We microwaved ours in a microwave safe bowl in intervals of 30 minutes as to not risk burning the chocolate. After each interval, stir vigorously until the chocolate is fully melted.
Living in Toronto, we experience erratic weather changes. Although Fall officially began last month, we had temperatures close to 15-20 degrees Celcius for the past several weeks and recently, temperatures have dipped to around 5 degrees! It’s like we just skipped Fall and went straight to Winter…
Anyways, I’m not quite ready for Fall to be over yet so I recently started baking some Fall recipes. One of the few recipes I wanted to try were these White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies. Whenever one hears of cranberries, I feel like they immediately think about Fall – probably due to its association with Thanksgiving dishes (i.e. cranberry sauce)?
Anyhow, I was excited to make these as I usually make the standard Chocolate Chip Cookies. Wanting to switch things up a bit, I leveraged one of our favourite Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe from Serious Eats to use as the base recipe for this cookie. What I like about the Serious Eats recipe is that instead of using regular butter, they use Brown Butter which lends a nuttier, butterscotch flavour than regular butter. Browning butter requires patience and a lot of attention as if you don’t watch it, you might end up burning the milk solids which will affect the overall taste of the brown butter. I cook the butter on medium heat for about 8 minutes, whisking occasionally until it turns golden brown and it starts smelling caramel-y. I aim for this color.
Then, I place an ice cube in there and whisk to facilitate the cooling down process and stick it in the fridge until it has fully cooled. You’ll know it’s cooled when it turns opaque and the sides are starting to solidify.
I have not made macarons in YEARS!! So much so that the almond flour that I bought in bulk a year ago when it was on sale at bulk barn has gone stale and started smelling weird 🙁
I have been inspired to make macarons again this past weekend given I had spare time since I had no access to a car and was essentially house bound. I knew one of the items I’ve been struggling to succeed with is making macarons. They just never turn out right! They either look super flat because they spread too much, or they brown on top, or they stick to the tray and falls apart when I try to take them off. I made 3 batches this past weekend and only the last one was mildly successful. I decided to make matcha macarons since I had lots of matcha powder lying around and saves me from using food coloring
The results were meh. During my last batch, my shells did not spread so they kept their shape (thank goodness) but upon baking, I had a few burst on me and some were even lopsided.
Based on the several trials that I did, here’s what I learned based on the mistakes I made:
It’s better to slightly undermix than overmix because once the batter is overmixed, it gets really runny and you can’t control it from flowing out of your piping bag and spreading everywhere.
Stop folding the meringue into the mixture once you can start forming short ribbons with the batter that slowly sinks back in over time. It should look like thick goop and not have the consistency of runny cake batter.
Pipe macarons perpendicular to the cookie sheet (90 degrees). In other words, the piping bag should be straight and not at an angle. This will ensure a more even shape when it rises.
It’s better to bake the macarons at a lower temperature than at a higher temperature. Unless you really know your oven, try it on a slightly lower temperature setting. The recipe asks for 300F but realistically I should’ve done 275F because some of my macarons ended up bursting.
To this point, I have yet to master the macaron recipe but I feel like I’m getting closer. Mind you ingredients for macaron is not cheap – I bought a bunch of almond flour that’s probably only good for 2-3 batches and it ran me $15!! Luckily, although I did not achieve the perfect “Macaron shape”, at least the texture and taste was still good. It was slightly chewy and the shells weren’t hollow, yay!
So until next time… I have a bunch of macarons to give away now haha. See the recipe I used below – this is the Italian meringue method opposed to the French. Supposedly the Italian method tends to yield more consistent results so I may continue this route going forward.
60 grams egg whites (about 2 large eggs), room temperature
1 teaspoon matcha powder
180 grams white granulated sugar
45 grams water
60 grams egg whites (about 2 large eggs), room temperature
White Chocolate Ganache
1 cup white chocolate wafers/chips
5 tbsp whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300F. Make the almond flour paste by sifting together almond flour, icing sugar, and matcha powder. This ensures a smooth paste so the shells won't appear lumpy. Then, mix in the egg white until it is thoroughly combined. It will form a thick paste - kind of like dough like consistency. Cover with plastic wrap so it doesn't get dry.
Then, add water and sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Do not stir! Allow it to come up to a boil and with a digital or candy thermometer, wait until it comes to 220F.
In the meantime, put the remaining egg whites in a clean, stainless steel bowl and prep it in the stand mixer. Once the sugar syrup reaches 220F, start whisking the egg whites until it is very foamy. When the syrup reaches 240F, turn the stand mixer to a slower speed and immediately take the sugar syrup off the heat and pour it into your egg whites. Once the syrup starts to hit the egg whites, you can crank the stand mixer to high speed and continue whisking until the sides of the bowl cools and the meringue reaches stiff peak. It should be smooth and glossy, kind of like shaving cream.
Take 1/3 of the meringue mixture and whisk it into the almond paste. Then, add in the remaining meringue mixture and fold to combine. Continue folding until there are no more dry lumps. When you life the spatula and you can form small ribbons with the batter and you see it sink right back in, it's ready. Do not overmix! Batter should not be runny but more like thick goop.
Put batter into a large piping bag with large round piping tip and pipe onto a parchment paper at 90 degrees from the baking sheet. In other words, pipe straight down and when you achieve the desired size, doing a quick flick to minimize the pointy tip of the cookie.
Once fully piped, allow to dry until a "skin" is formed. When the shells look matte, gently touch the shells and if they don't stick to your finger, it's ready to go in the oven.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the shells look hardened and firm to the touch. Allow to cool.
In the meantime, prepare the white chocolate ganache. Bring whipping cream and vanilla extra to a simmer and pour over the white chocolate wafers/chips. Stir continuously until all chocolate has been melted. Allow to cool so that it thickens to a piping consistency. You may put this in the fridge to speed up the process but don't forget about it or it will harden all the way!
Once ganache is ready, put it into a piping bag and pipe onto the macaron cookies. Squish and repeat until done. Store in an airtight container in the fridge to maximize freshness 🙂