Monday, July 7, 2008

Fourth of July, time for snacks!

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.


Helene said...

Yes, macarons are insanely sweet, agreed. I have detailed other macarons recipes a lot more as well as written a whole tutorial on them :

Seems like it did helped a few people who had questions.
One more thing, my first batches were also failures so don't feel like the recipe failed you. They are very finicky creatures and react very rapidly to the weather.

Lori said...

For some reason my macaroons stick to the silpat most of the time. With parchment paper I seem to have better luck. Its all trial and error and what works for you in your kitchen with your baking ezquipment.
I think both the macaroons and the pretzels look great!