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. 

 

 

Eggs Nest Macaroons

With all that’s been happening in the world, I’ve almost forgotten that Easter is right around the corner.

I’ve been quarantining for about 3 weeks now, but it feels like a LOT longer. I miss my friends, I miss over-paying for coffee, I miss my yoga studio, and with Raleigh having 70-80 degree weather, I am really sad that the pool in my apartment building isn’t open.

With that being said, I know I’m so so lucky. I’m still working and my family is healthy. While quarantining alone can be lonely at times, I’m grateful that I’m able to exist in my space however I want (and I’m happy I spent so much time making sure my home was cute and cozy). Quarantine has prompted some good changes, too: It’s forced me to find new ways to stay connected with my friends, like collaborating on playlists, working out together over FaceTime, doing Zoom happy hours, etc. It’s helped me get back into running outdoors and prompted me to try the Peloton streaming workouts, which I’ve discovered I love! I’m not putting a ton of pressure on myself to accomplish SO much during this time – this is a collective traumatic experience and I’m cool with taking it easy. But I am happy with the opportunity to read a little more, learn procreate, watch some movies, and bake!

IMG_2903.jpg

Which brings me to these Eggs Nest Macarons. Ugh, I love these guys. I made them a few years ago (seen in this embarrassing post) and just adored how simple, delicious, and festive they are. Keep in mind, they are so freakin’ sweetBut if you’re like me and have a sweet tooth, they’re perfect. 

They incorporate three of my favorite things to satisfy my sweet tooth with: shredded coconut, chocolate hazelnut spread, and mini Cadbury eggs. I’m impressed that this year I’ve only purchased one bag of eggs. One year I think I totaled more like 10. No regrets.

Also – this was my first time using the Good & Gather brand from Target. It’s more affordable than brand name products and honestly I’m really impressed. Nutella is one of my favorite things, and this version was just as good as the real stuff. Not sponsored (omg can you imagine?!), but just thought it was worth sharing!

IMG_2929.jpg

Eggs Nest Macaroons

ingredients:

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 large egg white

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups sweetened coconut

chocolate hazelnut spread

mini cadbury eggs

directions:

Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir the sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla extract, and salt together until combined. Add in the coconut and mix.

Scoop up about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and place it onto the prepared baking sheet. Shape the cookie into that of a bird’s nest. It’s okay if it’s a little imperfect, most nests are! With your thumb, press down into the center of the cookie to make an indent. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Bake the cookies for 17 to 20 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and press your thumb down in the center of the nests again. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets until they are firm and set. Then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool completely.
Place some chocolate hazelnut spread in the center of each nest. Place 2-3 egg candies in the center of each nest, then enjoy!

IMG_2932.jpg

IMG_2920.jpg

IMG_2913.jpg

Cookbook Club: Defined Dishes Whole30 Gumbo

Oy vey. How ya doin’ blog fam? Times are crazy right now, I know. The coronavirus pandemic is pretty intimidating. I’ve been trying my very hardest to be a responsible member of society by staying informed & practicing social distancing…but it’s been hard. As an extrovert, isolating myself is truly torture. I’m also finding that constantly being bombarded with scary facts & figures and everyone else’s fears is making me pretty anxious. I wish we could just break up the dialogue with a conversation about something else, you know?

Anyway, I’m trying to minimize my anxiety and maximize my fun during this process! I’ve got some great books to read, a lot of work to do, Tik-Tok dances to learn, and I’ve been working through a big list of movies that I’ve never seen and doing live reviews of them on my Instagram stories. This weekend I did the Lord of The Rings trilogy and…it was some of my best work yet.

Also, I’m cooking a lot. Cozy, healthy, and comfortable recipes. I’ve been leafing through my cookbook collection and just choosing things to make and it’s so. much. fun! It makes me want to start a new series here called the Cookbook Club, where I share recipes I’m trying from my favorite cookbooks (side note: if anyone in the Raleigh area wants to start a real cookbook club with me, hit me up!) 

IMG_1796.jpg

So, to kick it off we have the Whole30 Gumbo from The Defined Dish. She’s been my favorite Whole 30 blogger for years now and she just published her first book and it’s INCREDIBLE. This gumbo is so freakin’ good, plus it freezes well if you want to make a big batch and save some for later (read: perfect for isolation). 

IMG_1790.jpg

I’ve linked the recipe (again here, in case you missed it). The only change I made is I added shrimp to my gumbo…go big or go home, right?!

Okay, that’s all I have for today! Time for me to go make some Irish Stew (a work thing – I’m more of a corned beef & cabbage gal) and finalize my St. Patrick’s Day content. Wahoo! Stay safe out there friends.

IMG_1785.jpg