Star Shaped Raspberry Hand Pies

As I write this, I’m on day 20 of a whole 30. I figured that with quarantine, it was kind of the perfect time to complete a whole 30 for the year since I didn’t finish the one I attempted in January. Without the usual temptations from work, social gatherings, networking events, etc. it’s been nice and easy so far!

IMG_3833

With that being said, I made sure to make a festive Memorial Day themed treat before I started the 30 days. Would you expect anything less of me?

IMG_3819

IMG_3864

These star-shaped hand pies have the most delicious raspberry jam filling and super flakey, buttery crust. They’re drizzled with white icing (an allusion to the “stripes” part of “stars and stripes”!) They’re the perfect size to curb your sweet tooth without overloading on pie (although, is that even possible?) and the best part is you don’t have to use anything other than your hands to eat them. Wahoo!

Star Shaped Raspberry Jam Hand Pies

ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup butter, chilled and cubed

1/3 cup crisco, chilled cubed

~ 7 tablespoons ice water

raspberry jam

1 egg, for egg wash

2 tablespoons of powdered sugar

a few drops of water (or lemon juice)

directions:

Process the flour, sugar, and salt together. Add the cold butter and the shortening. Gradually add the water to the mixture, tablespoon by tablespoon, until the crust holds together.

Flatten the crust into two rounds, wrap them in parchment paper, and let them rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400 F.

When ready, roll out the dough disks and, using a cookie cutter, cut out the star shapes. Place whatever dough you’re not working with in the refrigerator, to keep cool. Assemble half the stars on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the other half of the stars in the fridge.

Add a 1/2 tablespoon of jam to the center of each star. Cover these with the remaining star cut-outs. Use the back of a fork to press down all around the perimeter of each hand pie, this will seal the edges to prevent seepage, as well as create the crimping effect.

Use a small, sharp knife to cut a little cross in the center of each star so as to allow for venting.

Brush each assembled hand pie with the egg wash. Place all of the assembled hand pies in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Transfer the hand pies to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.

While the hand pies cool, make the icing drizzle by combining the powdered sugar and a few drops of water (more or less, depending on desired consistency.) 

Once the hand pies are cooled, quickly drizzle the icing over the hand pies. The icing will harden quickly, then your pies are ready to enjoy!

IMG_3881-2

IMG_3886

So, Memorial Day 2020. No real plans as of yet except I demand to be outside, weather permitting. I got some new kindle books delivered so at the very least, you can find me in the park on a picnic blanket. Have a good one, friends!

 

 

What I’ve Watched For Every Mood I’ve Had In Quarantine

Wow guys! Are we all so sick of quarantine? I know I am. BUT – I feel moderately optimistic. It’s basically summertime, things are slowly opening back up (which I’m nervous about but also cautiously excited for), work has kept me nice and busy, and I’d just rather focus on the good and fun parts of it all.

We all know quarantine has had its ups and downs. I’ve had real low moments of intense loneliness while I miss my friends and family, and sadness while I feel like all the things that make life fun (read: bars, restaurants, concerts, parks, travel) are temporarily on hold. I’ve also had moments where I’ve felt pretty happy with how I’ve been able to spend my time. Through it all, I’ve kept up a consistent stream of entertainment (look, don’t lie, we’re all watching more TV right now and I live alone so I need it more than others.) So I thought it would be fun to share all the things I’ve been watching, based on the moods I’ve been in during this quarantine!

Note – this doesn’t include the movies I’ve been watching as part of my movie review series on Instagram.  

moviesandshows

When I was ready to laugh my ass off:

For all the times I was in a great mood and wanted to keep the party going, I usually put on one of these options for a guaranteed crack-up.

Schitts Creek – The Rose family’s riches-to-rags journey is that of comedic GOLD. I can never decide what’s funnier, David’s physical humor or Moira’s pronunciation of “baby” (read: bey-bey.) The number of times I laugh out loud at this show is astonishing, and I will literally never be able to “fold in” any ingredient in a recipe ever again without saying “FOLD. IN. THE. CHEESE, DAVID!”

Brooklyn Nine Nine – I’ve got to be honest, I was never a huge Andy Samberg fan. I thought he was good on SNL but never gave him much thought. But so many people recommended this show to me, knowing my love for Parks & Recreation and The Office, so I tried it and quickly got hooked. It’s great. Andy is very funny, but the real comedic gem is the character Captain Holt who delivers some of the funniest & unexpected one-liners I’ve ever heard.

Chris D’Elia’s No Pain – Do I need to explain further? He’s hysterical! I watched the comedy special he dropped on Netflix, then immediately watched all the others ones he’s done and then moved on to re-watching all of John Mulaney’s comedy specials. They’re just so good.

 

When online dating wasn’t quenching my thirst for romance:

When quarantine first started I was highly amused with what was going on with my dating apps (you can read about it here) but as time went on I got really bored. I missed all the things that happen when you meet & fall for someone IRL, so I filled the void by watching it happen on screen.

Outlander Ohhh boy. This show. The things it’s done to me. Wow. I knew nothing about Outlander except that it kept showing up on my “recommended for you” list on Netflix. So one night at about 9 p.m, I was like “I’ll try it out and watch one episode.” 12 hours later I had pulled an all nighter and watched almost the entire first season because IT WAS SO GOOD I COULDN’T TEAR MY EYES AWAY. It has everything I could ever hope for: The 1700’s (my favorite time period to learn about), foreign scenery and accents (hi, Scotland is a dream), danger and strategy, really hot Scottish men in kilts, and a truly legendary romance. Unsure if I’ll ever be able to fall in love ever again because I highly doubt anyone will ever measure up to Jamie Fraser.

Jane the Virgin – A lot of people think this show is cheesy and ridiculous. And honestly? It is. But that’s kind of the point! It’s meant to mimic and even mock cheesy, preposterous, almost nauseatingly romantic telanovelas. I like it because it has lovable & relatable characters, dramatic love triangles, and this element of magical realism that makes it feel like you’re watching a romantic daydream come to life onscreen.

 

When I missed being with my friends:

Sometimes I just really missed the feeling of being surrounded by buddies…

New Girl – I swear, this is the only show that has ever made me wish I had roommates. Can you imagine how entertaining it would be to live with Schmidt, Nick, Jess, and Winston? There’s always some weird, hilarious thing going on and you’d be right in the center of it. For someone who lives alone, that sometimes sounds really fun.

The Bold Type – I love the #girlpower in this show, and I love watching the friendship between the three main characters because it’s pretty reflective of the honest, silly, supportive, no-bullshit friendships I have with my own girlfriends.

How I Met Your Mother – Ahhh, a classic. I’ve revisited this show so often over the years that I feel like these characters are old friends of mine.

 

When I needed an excuse to ugly cry:

Modern Love – Each episode tells a different story of love, both romantic and not. It does this amazing job of showing you how love is complicated, beautiful, wonderful, and terrible all at once. Every story is so moving that I find myself weeping by the end of each episode.

Someone Great – This movie really gets me right in the feels, I’ve watched it several times when I just need to emote. The main character breaks up with her boyfriend of 9 years after deciding to move across the country for a job (#relatable, lol) and enlists her two best friends to join her for a day of adventure in New York while she starts to deal with her heartbreak. This movie came out around the same time I went through my very similar breakup and I remember being so taken aback at how accurate it all felt. It so truthfully depicts falling in love, staying in a relationship you’ve outgrown, experiencing a heart-wrenching breakup, and beginning to move on. Even if you can’t immediately identify with any of those things, it has this way of really getting you there mentally. I found myself crying for the past version of myself going through all of that. I also found myself crying out of gratitude for all the incredible friendships I have that get me through whatever heartbreak I’m dealing with, which is also something this movie perfectly exemplifies.

Alright! That’s it! Back to re-watching Outlander. What are you all watching during quarantine?

Orange Buttercream Macarons

Hi from my couch! Again! Forever, maybe!

Okay – week 100 of quarantine. What can I update you on…

I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series and also enjoying a couple of new titles. I was watching too much TV (sometimes when I do this I feel like I turn into a poorly functioning human) so I took a break from movie reviews. I made the most incredible quarantine-themed playlist. I gave up on Hot Balcony Guy after my huge sign went ignored. I signed up for Skillshare so I can learn some new skills (I’m very type A…what can I say). 

IMG_3122-2.jpg

I miss my family, friends, community, etc. But all in all, things are standard and pretty good over here. Thank goodness.

And by “things are standard”, I mean I’ve made another batch of macarons.

This time they’re ORANGE BUTTERCREAM MACARONS. You guys, these sweet, citrus-y cookies? C’est Magnifique.

IMG_3140-2.jpg

IMG_3109-2.jpg

Ok. These macarons. How beautiful are they?! I couldn’t stop taking their picture. These babies knew how to werk the camera!!!

If you’ve never had a macaron…what are you even doing?! I am so sorry for you. Please remedy the situation immediately. Make these. It’s so fun and a perfect quarantine baking project because they take some patience and I’m betting you have free time available.

These guys use a basic French macaron recipe with orange buttercream frosting piped in between the two cookies (with real orange juice! hello, vitamin C boost anyone?!) The result is a sweet, citrus-y, delightful, wonderful, splendid, etc. cookie that will. not. disappoint.

IMG_3148-2.jpg

Orange Buttercream Macarons

for the macaron shells

1 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup almond flour

2 large egg whites

1/4 cup white granulated sugar

orange food coloring

for the orange buttercream frosting

4 tbsp unsalted butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 tsp orange zest

1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

orange food coloring

directions

sift 1 cup of powdered sugar and 3/4ths cup almond flour into a large bowl. whisk to combine, then set aside.

add the egg whites to a metal mixing bowl and start whisking on one of the lower settings (I start with a 4 on my Kitchenaid) until the egg whites start to look frothy. add half of the granulated sugar to the egg whites, then increase the speed to a medium (7 for me) until the mixture is entirely foamy and mostly white. add the remaining granulated sugar, then increase the speed to high (9 works well) and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. add the food coloring to the meringue at this point and mix until the desired color is uniformly distributed.

remove the bowl containing the meringue from the stand mixer. add half of the dry ingredients directly into the bowl containing the meringue, then use a spatula to gently fold meringue around and over until the dry ingredients are well incorporated. add the remaining dry ingredients, and continue to fold the batter. avoid over-mixing by going slowly. the batter is ready when it falls off the spatula in ribbons, but isn’t runny.

transfer the batter to a piping bag with a large round tip. pipe small, uniform circles onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper by holding the piping bag at a 45 degree angle to sheet. make sure not to overcrowd the sheets.

once finished with piping the batter, take each cookie sheet and carefully but forcefully bang the bottom of each corner on the countertop, to help release air bubbles in the batter! let the cookies sit for 35 minutes. preheat the oven to 305 F while you wait.

bake the cookies on the top shelf of the oven for 15 minutes. remove from the oven but let the cookies cool completely before touching them.

while the cookies cool, make your orange buttercream by creaming the butter in a clean mixing bowl. add the powdered sugar and mix on high for a minute, then add the orange zest and orange juice. finally add the food coloring and continue to mix until the desired color is reached.

transfer the buttercream to a new piping bag and pipe frosting on the underside of one cookie. sandwich with another cookie of roughly the same size. repeat over and over again.

optional: paint macarons into lil baby oranges with orange food coloring mixed with a little bit of water.

enjoy!

IMG_3129-2.jpg

IMG_3178-2.jpg

And don’t forget to check out the other macaron recipes I’ve shared, because you can seriously never have too many and with these bad boys practice really makes perfect: here, here, here.