Monday, June 16, 2014

Miss me? Here are 3 yummy desserts!

Holy cow! I haven't been on here in forever. Over a year! I have tried and failed and tried and succeeded with many dessert recipes over the past year. I'm going to highlight some of my favorites! Yay!

Can I start be saying what a crazy year it has been?!   
Ups, downs, downs, more downs, and a few ups kind of sum it up.

Unfortunately (and not so unfortunately) experimenting in the kitchen is one of my outlets. It gives me something to focus on other than my stressful life. I life, stressful? No kids, no job, no life must really suck. You don't know the half of it...and if you do, then consider yourself one of my closest friends! Go you! High five! I will say that even though life has thrown a big ol' wad of elephant crap at my face, I'm still my same cheerful, optimistic self. I've always been good at seeing the big picture when I need to, knowing when to think logically vs. emotionally, and especially good at forgiving. Maybe to a fault. Despite the poo poo in my face, I'm okay. Thanks, kitchen. And family...and church...and friends...I suppose I should thank you all too for keeping me somewhat sane.

Alright, enough about me. Time to oooh and aahhh over my yummy treats. Most of these were found on Pinterest. Thanks, Pinterest. However, I usually end up tweaking the recipes just a little. What can I say, I'm a genius rebel.

So first, pie. More pie! I know my last post a year ago was about pie, too.


Minnies Chocolate Pie

You know the one...from The Help!

Don't worry. I didn't add the secret ingredient. 
So  I searched far and wide for this recipe. There were many to choose from. This one turned out to be the winner!

It is SOOOO easy to make. The recipe can be found HERE and the crust recipe I used can be found HERE .  This is now my go-to crust recipe. If you make it correctly, it should be incredibly flaky, buttery, and delicious. Just follow the directions!

With the pie, I lowered the temperature on my oven to 325*F. But, that is just my oven. You might have perfect success at 350. It is best served at room temperature with some homemade whipped cream! If you don't know how to make that, dishonor on YOU, dishonor on your COW!


Chocolate and regular whipped cream with strawberries.

This has got to be my new favorite dessert. Its basically a giant meringue cookie, but because it is so large the inside doesn't harden and turns into a delicious marshmallow-y center. Think: Top of a lemon meringue pie. Eh, eh?? I had my first taste while in Mountain View, CA visiting my dad. An Australian family made it for us during a dinner party one night. It was gone in seconds.

This is one of the hardest desserts I've made. The recipe itself it very simple, however the technique takes trial and error. The lady who made it for us told me the recipe but I didn't write it down. Le sigh. Luckily I found one nearly identical on the interwebs. Of course.
The fluff flattened from the weight of the whipped cream and strawberries. whoops.
 The trick is to not over beat the eggs. Doing so will make the Pavlova leak a clear yelowish goo and the center will be more "month old marshmallow" as opposed to "fluffy marshmallow fluff". eww. Just kidding, it still tastes wonderful, trust me, it took a few tries to get it perfect but I still loved all my little imperfect pavlovas. It's just the texture that was off.

It's okay if it cracks a little. Don't cry about it.

Second trick? Let it rest in the oven with the door cracked over night or alll day. Whichever is more convenient. It has to rest in there to a souffle. Don't open the oven until it is done! Don't take it out until it is cool! And DON'T put the toppings on it until right before you serve it. Just don't.

French Macarons

 Whaaaaat?! Yeah, I tried it. Failed once. Success on my second try. Boom.
Looking good so far!
So close.

Nailed it!
This is probably the greatest recipe for the French Macaron. It is straight forward, easy to follow, and has great results. The flavor of the cookie can be altered by using different extracts. My first batch was lemon. Everything was going so well until the last 2 minutes in the oven. The tops kind of crawled away...(Their cookie guts leaving a trail behind them). I had to scoot them back into their correct positions on the pan. Result? Yummy, good texture.. but, ugly. Just not the pretty macaron you see in stores!

So, what did I do differently the second time? I lowered the temperature. Preheat to 350*f, and lowered to 300 when I put the pan in. I'm starting to think my oven is too hot. Hmm. The second difference? I blended up the almond flour and powered sugar to create a finer powder. The first ones were lumpy because my flour was grainy. Also, when folding the dry mixture into the merengue, mix until it's "lava texture"... Whatever that means.. I found it means smooth enough to run off the spatula but firm enough to hold its shape for a few seconds until it's melts into itself, if that makes sense. Google it if you have to ;) 
The last tip?  I banged the CRAP out of those pans to get all those pesky air bubbles. I probably could have done it even more! Next time. Want to know why my tops ran away?! They had gas and bubbled up and shot off like rockets. Never again!
Bang, bang, bang!

My second batch was a chocolate almond flavor. I added 3 Tbs of cocoa to the dry mix and used almond extract instead of vanilla. Result? Heaven. Pure Heaven. I also added a tablespoon-ish of cocoa to the filling recipe. But vanilla or almond would be just as good.

Oh, and I went to Disneyland. 

Let's see if I can keep this up this year!

Thank you and goodnight.