My perfect Fourth of July, a morning spent baking new treats, an afternoon sharing them with friends on the beach!
I was going to attempt some previous Daring Bakers challenges. Croissants seemed like a fun idea, then I realised how involved and daunting they were and decided on something a bit more fun.
Pretzels for my lovely husband, who doesnt have a sweet tooth but loves a nice bit of savory, I knew he'd love these. It was really fun to read the first challenges of the daring bakers on Ivonne and Lisa's blogs and then to give it a try myself! I was really glad I got these out of the house quicksharp as they were absolutely delicious, and I think we'd have eaten the entire batch on our own!
This is the kind of recipe I love, just a bit of flour, sugar, water yeast and salt, a quick rise, then shape, dip in water, proof and bake. Of course they are complete with a little brush of butter and a sprinkling of kosher salt, but really, how simple is that!!
This will definitely be on my rotation of baked snacks from now on!
I then set about with my first attempt at macarons. It didnt seem too bad, as they didn't require a huge number of eggs, that I'd regret wasting or expensive ingredients. I'd come across a delicious looking recipe on tartelette and decided to try it. The batter came together very well, I had my first try at making praline, and I happened to have some dulce de leche knocking around for a filling.
My first time wasn't perfect, the macarons stuck to the silpat, so only about half came out ok. I also don't think I baked them for quite long enough, they were very fragile. They were also insanely sweet. I think a more creamy/tart filling might be nice against the intense sweetness of the meringue.
The recipe was used exactly as written, so I wont repeat it here, I found other sources that were a lot more detailed, and I might try that route, apparently putting some water under the silpat after baking really helps to release the macarons.
As far as dulce de leche goes, there are 3 ways to do it:
1. Put a sealed can of condensed milk into slightly simmering water for 3 hours
2. Pour a can of condensed milk in a small, thick bottomed pan and heat on a low/medium heat, stirring almost continuously with a wooden spoon until it is thick and caramel colored.
3. The david lebovitz method, heating in the oven.