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!

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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?

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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!

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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!

 

 

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). 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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. 

 

 

Dalgona Coffee (& Dating During Corona!)

Everybody is talking about how to do it. It seems intriguing, entertaining, maybe even fun? You want to be a part of it, to see what the hoopla is about. In practice, it seems like a lot of work for a sort of confusing outcome.

It’s Dalgona coffee! It’s also online dating during the time of Covid-19.

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So, if you’re over the age of 30 there’s about a 50/50 chance you have never heard of Tik Tok. Or, you’ve heard of it and have literally no idea what it is. This is fine. As a 27-year-old even I feel like I’m too old for it at times. But then I remember my job is literally to stay up to date on new social media trends and apps, so I lie to myself and say my latest obsession with it is in the name of “professional research”.

In all honesty, I find Tik Tok endlessly entertaining. Like, I’ll scroll for hours through funny videos just laughing my ass off, or attempting to learn some of the trending dances. It’s truly one of the things that’s saving my sanity during this quarantine. So when I saw this new whipped coffee trend (called Dalgona coffee) all over Tik Tok one day, I knew I’d have to try it.

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The idea is that when you dissolve sugar and instant coffee in hot water and whisk it for a few minutes, it turns into this whipped consistency that you then spoon on top of a glass of milk. The aesthetics are definitely on point, and the taste wasn’t bad per se. But like I said above…it was a lot of effort for a kind of confusing result. Unless you want to taste fluffy sugar-coffee concentrate for 5 minutes followed by a layer of watered-down milk (and who the heck wants that?!)…you have to stir the fluffy coffee into the milk. Which ultimately yields the same thing as if you just made yourself some iced coffee the normal way. And the whole whisking process? Guys, I felt like I needed a coffee to be able to prepare my coffee. And I have a Kitchen Aid that I was able to walk away from! Imagine having to whisk your coffee by hand first thing in the morning?! No way.

Ultimately, it was a fun experiment and a great way to kill some time during this quarantine.

Not unlike online dating right now!

I’ll be honest – I don’t mind the apps. I’ve had a few great dates with guys from them, pre-corona. When I broke up with my ex of seven years and decided to “get back out there”, I decided to be really intentional about having an open mind when it came to dating because I’m still learning what I want/need in a potential partner. That mindset makes “swiping” a lot of fun. Plus, the apps are a nice way for someone like me (read: entirely new to the dating process) to ease into the whole thing.

But you guys. The dating apps during corona are like…on a new level. The rules are gone and the bets are OFF. Overnight my matches per day basically doubled. I’m messaging guys for weeks that I’ve never met in real life, whereas the typical pattern pre-corona would be to exchange some banter for a few days and then schedule a datePeople are doing first dates via FaceTime. We’re all so bored and our inhibitions are so lowered (#CoronaNoRules), so we’re trying out our weirdest conversation starters. And since I’m literally starving for human interaction, I find myself wondering “would I even be talking to this person if I wasn’t going on week 5 of being quarantined alone?” It’s truly a dating experiment. Equal parts confusing and entertaining.

And ultimately…what’s about to happen here?! Once quarantine is lifted and I can meet up with people again, how do you have a first or second date with someone who is still basically a stranger but who you’ve been getting to know for weeks?! Or will all these guys just disappear once they aren’t forced to pen-pal with us? (likely) I’m laughing right now just thinking about how absurd it all is. I think it’s totally possible that the nature of dating changes because of this pandemic, and it’s kind of cool to think that I’ll be participating in that process in real time. But wow, I have literally no idea what to expect here…what a time to be alive.

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Oh right – here’s the recipe for the Dalgona Coffee if you want to try it. I hope you’re all having some fun during this quarantine, taking it easy, staying safe, etc!

Dalgona Coffee

ingredients:

2 tbsp instant coffee

2 tbsp white granulated sugar

2 tbsp boiling water

a glass of almond milk over ice

directions:

combine the coffee, sugar, and water in a bowl and whisk until the mixture is light, fluffy, and forms stiff peaks.

spoon the whipped coffee over the milk. stir to enjoy.