Have I ever mentioned that I ADORE Parisian Macarons?
Oh…. maybe just once? Twice? A gazillion times?
The Tết Festivities (Lunar New Year) has finally come to a close. And so far, the Year of the Dragon isn’t looking too bad at all. I’ve eaten a ton of yummy food, my home is spankin’ clean, work hasn’t been a hot mess, and I even found money in the pocket of one of my coats I haven’t worn in awhile. Score!
Ok, let me revise that. The BEST thing this week is that I get to meet my brand new nephew, Leonidas (Leo), tomorrow! He’s so adorable and CHUBBY! Of course, pictures are to come.
Over the weekend, the clan got together at my auntie’s home for Tết. We ate, drank, gambled, gave/received lì xì (lucky money), and had a good ol’ time with the peeps.
I had struggled for some time thinking what I should bring to the party as my aunties and sis would be covering the Vietnamese dishes. Vietnamese desserts aren’t really my specialty so after much mulling around, I decided to whip up a few Chocolate Tarts. I know…not the least bit Vietnamese or even Asian for that fact but I was pretty sure the fam wouldn’t complain.
For the recipe and cute video tutorial, check out Dulce Delight.
I’ve got two quick tips should you try this little number out… … First, after you bake the tart you may freak out a bit if the filling looks a bit grainy or bubbly. I know, cause I totally did! But don’t worry, once it cools, it all settles and the gorgeous honey-ganache glaze covers any imperfections. And second, although the flavor of the crust was divine, mine was really crumbly. I’d recommend throwing in another tablespoon of butter to the party.
I served the tart with fresh whipped cream and it was bliss. The tart itself is like a rich, decadent truffle and the hazelnut crusts added a great crunch and flavor—kind of like a Ferrero Rochers. Mmmm…I love those.
All in all, I’m liking the Dragon.
It’s been a minute since I’ve baked Cupcakes. In fact, I gave up baking for the entire month of January. The holidays just wiped me out and I needed some reprieve.
But lately when I open up my cabinets, I see my little muffin/cupcake pans looking at me sadly. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the “why have you abandoned us” kind of look.
These little pans have been good and loyal….. and they were in need of some TLC.
So when I made plans to reconnect with some old friends the other day, I thought it was high time to whip them out, blow off the dust, and get Cupcakin‘!
I managed to pull together a rich chocolate cupcake, filled them with a raspberry sauce, and topped them off with a whipped chocolate ganache and fresh raspberries.
Easy, simple, and pretty.
Perfect to get my Cupcake Baking Love going again.
Note: I used a Wilton 4B Tip to pipe the ganache.
Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
Makes approximately 24 Cupcakes (depending on size)
½ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1½ Teaspoons Baking Soda
¾ Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
5 Ounces Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Strong Brewed Hot Coffee
½ Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Large Eggs
2 Teaspoons Raspberry Extract
12 Ounces Quality Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Tablespoon Framboise Liqueur
2 Cups Frozen Raspberries
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tablespoon Framboise Liqueur
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Zest
Prepare Cakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper cup liners in cupcake pans. Place finely chopped chocolate in a bowl and pour hot coffee over it. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit for a few minutes. Remove plastic and stir until smooth. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. In a mixing stand, beat eggs for a few minutes until they become a pale yellow. Beat in oil, buttermilk, and raspberry extract . Scrape down the sides of the bowl and slowly add the chocolate. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Pour batter into the lined cups–about 3/4 way. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cooling racks.
Prepare Raspberry Filling: Place all raspberry sauce ingredients in a medium sized, heavy saucepan. Simmer on medium-low until berries have broken down and the sauce has thickened. Approximately 10-15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. *If you don’t want seeds in your filling, puree the raspberries in a blender and strain before cooking.
Prepare Chocolate Ganache: Place chocolate pieces in a large bowl. Heat heavy cream on medium high until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour cream over chocolate. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit for a few minutes. Remove plastic and add framboise—stir until smooth and glossy. Allow ganache to cool completely before frosting. *If you wish a fluffier “whipped” frosting, allow ganache to cool completely before transferring to a stand mixer. On medium-high speed, whip until you reach the desired consistency.
Assemble Cupcakes: Once all items have been prepared, fill a piping bag with a small round tip with the raspberry filling. Fill another piping bag with the ganache. Taking one cupcake, place the tip of the raspberry filled bag into the cake and squeeze in a few teaspoons of the filling. Be careful not to “inject” too much or your cupcakes will implode Finally with the piping bag filled with ganache, pipe/decorate swirls on top of the cupcake. Garnish with fresh raspberries.
Coconut again?! Yup. This time in Macaron form. What can I say, I’m a coco-nutty kind of gal.
I learned my lessons from our first Parisian Macarons experience and paid heed to do the following:
Initially I had wanted to fill the Coconut Shells with a Passion Fruit-flavor filling but was unsuccessful in finding a pure concentrate or nectar flavoring agent. But since I had Mango extract on hand, I figured it would be a nice tropical “oompf” for the white chocolate ganache filling. Unfortunately it didn’t bring out as much of the mango flavor as I had hoped—though the end result was still quite tasty. Next time, I’m taking my sister’s advice and use a pineapple filling. Coconut Shells + Pineapple Filling = Piña Colada Macarons. And that, dear friends, is a Nguyen-Win Situation at its best
I have to admit that I did exhale a sigh a relief after making these little treats. Thank goodness that it wasn’t just beginner’s luck last time! But on the next try, I think I’m going Caramel flavored.
So until my next kitchen adventure Mes Amis, a tout le heure!
Coconut Macarons with White Chocolate-Mango Ganache
110 Grams Almond Meal
180 Grams Confectioners’ Sugar
25 Grams Ground Desiccated Coconut
100 Grams Egg Whites, aged at room temperature for 24 hours
50 Grams Granulated Sugar
White Chocolate-Mango Ganache
8 Ounces White Chocolate, finely chopped
4 Ounces Heavy Cream
1 Teaspoon Pure Mango Extract
1-2 Drops Yellow Food Coloring (optional)
Grind almond meal, desiccated coconuts, and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor to remove any lumps. Sift mixture into another bowl and set aside.
In a mixing stand, whisk egg whites until frothy. Slowly add granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks are formed. Carefully begin incorporating dry mixture into the meringue—gently folding until all items have been integrated.
Using a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, pipe small rounds of the mixture onto Silpat lined baking sheets. Rounds should be about 1½ inches in diameter. Once baking sheets are filled, tap the sheet carefully but firmly on the counter to remove any possible air pockets. Let baking sheets sit on the counter for 45 minutes to harden the outer shell before baking.
Bake at 300 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Transfer the pans to cooling rack and cool completely before removing shells.
In a saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat and strain the hot cream through a fine-meshed sieve directly into the bowl of the chopped chocolate. Let the mixture sit 1 to 2 minutes without stirring, and then gently whisk until the chocolate is entirely melted. Stir in the mango extract and food coloring. Cover with plastic wrap and chill about 20 minutes, or until slightly thickened.