Sunday, 26 January 2014

Macaroons #Attempt1

Now, where to begin. I guess I should start by telling you that I have attempted to make macaroons. Word of advice, they are fuckingg hard to get right. So, I have decided I will blog each of my attempts to make macaroons until I get them perfect so I can share with you what to do and what not to do. This is my first attempt and let me tell you they are farrrrrr from perfect BUT they didn't go as bad as they could have gone so hay that aint to bad.

 Now, before I made these macaroons I did a lottttt of research into tips on making macaroons and there were a load that I picked up. The biggest tip being that you must not over mix the mixture nor under mix it as this could make or brake the macaroons. 
Tip 1. DO NOT under mix the mixture as this will cause the macaroons to come out of the oven cracked with no feet (feet are the little rise all good macaroons have). HOWEVER over mix and your macaroons will be flat with no feet. It is hard to say precisely how many mixes to do as it depends on how strong you are but roughly 65-75 mixes to get it just right.
Tip 2. The colour of the macaroons will fade a little in the oven so make the mixture a couple of shades darker then you intend for the macaroons to be.
Tip 3. You MUST tap the tray of macaroons at least 5 times to release the air bubbles making sure your macaroons don't crack once baked.
Tip 4. Leave the macaroons to sit out for 30 minutes before baking to ensure that they dry a little so that when baking they rise up and develop feet instead of spreading outwards.
Tip 5. (The mistake I made!) DO NOT under cook the macaroons evennnnn if they look done as they will stick to your tray and become hollow not-good!

I can't stress enough how crucial it is to follow these tips, use the exact amount of ingredients and don't mess with the recipe; at least until you get them perfect.

*Disclaimer this recipe is not my own*
3 Egg Whites (At room temperature)
50g Granulated Sugar
200g Icing Sugar
120g Ground Almonds
Filling of your choice (I made Chocolate Butter cream Icing)

1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 2.
2. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks slowly adding in the granulated sugar.
3. Then add the food coloring taking into account tip 2.
4. Sift the ground almond and icing sugar into a bowl, discarding lumps in the sieve as they are too big for the macaroon mixture, fold the flour and sugar mixture into the egg whites TAKING INTO ACCOUNT TIP 1.
5. Transfer batter into an pastry bag and pipe out 1 inch rounds onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. DO NOT line with butter or oil as this will affect the macaroons.
6. Tap the tray 5 times to release air bubbles and then leave the macaroons to rest for half an hour.
7. Bake the macaroons for 20 minutes taking into account tip 5.
8. Meanwhile make a filling of your choice. I made chocolate butter cream icing.
9. Once the macaroons are cooked reverse them on to their backs and pipe a small amount of the filling on to one macaroon of each pair. Close them together and you are done!

 This was one of the mistakes I made that could have easilyyyyyyyy been avoided. I didn't pipe the macaroons! I used a teaspoon, do not do this unless you are aiming for the dodgy shaped circle macaroon kinda look. I will definitely use a piping bag when I next attempt to bake macaroons!

This is why you should tap the macaroons before leaving to rest for 30 minutes as air bubbles are released. You should tap the macaroons until you can visibly see the popped air bubbles on  the surface of each macaroon.

I wanted to show you the inside of them as I under cooked them causing them to become hollow as parts of the macaroon stuck to the baking paper. Oppppppps

Now that I have shared my mistakes with you hopefullyyy you wont make the same ones. But don't be disheartened if they don't turn out perfect the first time around. They sure didn't for me! However I will blog each of my macaroon attempts sharing my mistakes until I get them just right.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Mini Croissants

What more fitting to have for breakfast than a croissant. Easy? Not at all, I will be honest with you and say it does take a lot of time and is very tedious to make howeverrrr once finished it will be well worth it as you will have a batch of homemade mini croissants to eat.

Now, this recipe is by no means easy to make and you will have to stick to this recipe precisely or it will go wrong as we-are-dealing-with-puff-pastry-here.

So, I thought I would make the recipe easier to follow with pictures inserted a long the way.

Mini Croissants:
*Disclaimer this recipe has been adapted*
250 ml Cold Milk
125 ml Boiling Water
1 tbsp Yeast
50g Sugar
500g Plain Flour
1 tsp Salt
250g Butter- Frozen, then left at room temperature for 30 minutes.

1. Pour the milk, boiling water, yeast and sugar into a large bowl. Leave for 5 minutes until frothy.

2. Add the flour and salt, mix together with your hands until all combined into a ball.

3. Tip onto a clean work surface and knead until all the flour is incorporated.

4. Place the dough into a large oiled bowl. Leave in the fridge to rest for 1 hour.

5. Once your dough has been in the fridge for 30 minutes take your frozen butter that has been left at room temperature for 30 minutes and grate it onto a piece of clingfilm. Disperse the butter evenly and flatten to roughly 8" x 5". Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

6. Once the dough has been chilled for 1 hour remove from the fridge, tip onto a lightly floured work surface and roll to a roughly 16" x 10" rectangle.

7. Unwrap the chilled butter block and place in the center of the dough. Fold the dough into thirds over the butter and seal the edges by pinching them. (Make sure you seal them well)

 8. Turn the dough 90 degrees then using a rolling pin make regular indentations in the dough.

9. Fold the dough into thirds again. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 1 hour. (STEP 8 AND 9 ARE 'ONE TURN' OF THE DOUGH)

10. Remove from the fridge and complete one turn. Re-Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour again.

11. Repeat step 10 two more times so that you would have done 4 turns in total.

12. Cut the dough into quarters and wrap them individually tightly in cling film. Refrigerate for 8-12 hours. (OR freeze for up to 3 months then let the dough defrost overnight before continuing the recipe). 

13. Remove 1 piece of the dough from the fridge, unwrap and roll it out onto a lightly floured surface to an 16" x 6" rectangle. Cut into thirds and then cut these 3 rectangles in half diagonally through the middle

14. Take one of the triangles and put the others in the fridge. Pull on the corners of the shortest edge of the triangle to even the base and then stretch out the triangle a bit.

 15. Cut a small slit in the base of the triangle, stretch the 2 bottom edges and then roll the dough up from base to tip.

16. Place the croissant tip side down on a lined baking tray. Repeat with the rest of the triangles placing them 2" apart.
~At this point you can put the croissants in a tray in the freezer and once they have frozen transfer them into a plastic bag and you can leave them in the freezer for up to 3 months, then one ready to use defrost them in the fridge overnight and proceed with the rest of the recipe~

17. Cover loosely with clingfilm and leave in the fridge to rise for 2-3 hours in a cool place. Or you can leave them to rise in the fridge overnight for breakfast.

18. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 8.

19. Brush the croissants with a beaten egg mixture.

20. Put into the oven and immediately lower the temperature to Gas Mark 6 and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to Gas Mark 4 and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until well browned and puffy. Leave to cool on a rack and enjoy.

~If you have made it to the end well done you can relax now! These croissants are deliciousssss drizzled with chocolate or served with jam and double cream.~

Mmmmmm Mini Croisants with strawberry jam and and double cream c:

Andddd drizzled with chocolate