Life..a miracle

Life..a miracle

Monday, May 28, 2012

Raspberry semolina spring!

I cant believe it has been a month since the bake sale and here I am. The past month has gone by at warp speed! We had my parents visiting us for about 2 weeks which included several family dinners and my brother's graduation! woo-hoo!! Kudos to him for graduating from USC! :)

My baking has been fairly less mainly because we have been eating out way too much..time to dial down the crazy, but I just couldn't miss out on participating in the monthly #baketogether challenge. 
It was the perfect timing since my parents got to experience my baking and this month's recipe for Cornmeal Buttermilk Muffins is pretty much the recipe I use every time I want to make healthy muffins. But instead of using cornmeal I tend to use semolina which gives the same kind of texture but is made from rice/wheat.

Here are the modifications I made to the basic recipe:
1 cup chopped raspberries
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup wheat semolina
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup yogurt, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
3 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Follow the same directions as mentioned in the original recipe. I only got a couple of snaps of these muffins, with family around these were gone by the next evening. I did pack a couple and gave it to my parents for their trip and felt super glad that I could share my baking joy with them.

Oh and another thing that I am super excited about is my first set of plants! I have planted tomato, chili, basil and cilantro. So far the tomato bears lots of flowers and I hope to get some fruit soon but my chili has given me a good amount of hope, I got my first big chili! Look..

..until next time..have fun!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bake Sale Recap & macaron musings..

I am no expert when it comes to baking, none-the-less macaron making, oh it rhymes.. :P But it has been a really great learning experience for me, not only for learning the right way of whipping up a meringue but rather learning to respect each ingredient. This post is going to be a way for me to document my lessons for macarons and also to help out other bakers who have given up on macaron making. I urge everyone to not give up this magical cookie, just try and stretch your patience and reduce the level of your expectations when you get started with this. But before I go on with my macaron trail, I want to share some photos and some posts from fellow bloggers who participated in the sale.

I of course made macarons in two flavors: Lemon macaron with mango butter & Raspberry macaron with dark chocolate ganache. umm..ummm! I went through a turmoil in terms of deciding what I should pack them in. I didn't wanna spend crazy $$ on just boxes but putting them in a small treat bag  felt like laziness and made me super scared that they would be crushed by someone. So inspired by a post by Bakerella right here, I decided to make my very own box template and the end product came out to be something so cute! :) 

As usual, keeping the boxes for the last minute only made my time management crash down, but with help from the lovely hubby I finally managed to get my stuff to the bake sale! It was an amazing experience! Its a great thrill to see people's reaction right then and there and understand how people look at food. I got some really good reviews for the macarons, and was elated when I got some mentions in blog posts too. :)

I also got to meet some really great people, who share the same passion of food as me. In the hurry to get to the sale, I forgot my camera, and so now I can only provide you with some links to posts from other bloggers. While selling macs, I also went around and bought some goodies! I bought the Orange Chocolate Tart from Ann, the cinnamon and cardamom cookies from Live..Bake..Love and the cotton candy meringues.

So here are some of the blog-posts that others posted after the blog:

So now for some tips and tricks for making macarons. I found great amount of help from two blogs, they served as my textbook! So if you are venturing into making macarons surely read these two blogs, here they are:

  • An exhaustive post about macarons by Ms.Humble at Not So Humble Pie
  • A list of great tips for making macarons with do's and dont's by Stella at BraveTart

And finally some tips from this novice baker.:)

  • Measure all the ingredients correctly, buying a scale really made my life easy with this. Also one large egg white when measured equals about 34-36 gms.
  • As Ms.Humble promptly tells, use a steel bowl to beat the meringue in.
  • Since I was baking a lot of batches, I halved the recipe given by Stella (here) so that I could control my portions and the recipe required exactly one egg white! So easy to handle that, imagine taking only half of the egg white! huff..
  • You need to know your oven well, I know this is something you will hear from every other baker, but to start off, raise the lower rack of your oven to a higher level and as Ms.Humble says if they brown from the top, you might need to put an additional sheet on the top.
  • Use a stencil (round cookie cutter) to draw out circles on a parchment, surely makes life easy while piping.
  • I know pretty much everyone says aged whites create a more stable meringue, but I actually got really good results with fresh egg whites so I guess if you beat the meringue right, this issue gets taken care of.
  • I took advice from both the mentioned blogs almost equally and that really helped, so do your home work before you begin the practical. 

Hope this post helps you in your ventures and do let me know if you have doubts about macarons, I am pretty sure I have experienced it by now.
Happy Baking! :)