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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Time Flies

It's already mid past July and the realization that my business partner and more importantly my daughter is leaving in a few weeks. As I have stated in the past this is one of hardest transition we both have to make. I feel like my heart is leaving for college. It is during this time I pounder if the wonderful and amazing bond we have will cause this new and exciting time for her to be harder than it needs to be.
Who else would put chocolate and lemon together and
end up with one of most popular macaron flavors?

I am also feeling that I am being a little selfish, baking/cooking is not the same without her. We have so much fun most of the time we forget we are working. I love baking and of course will continue after Sydney leaves for college; she is lucky she is in a dorm with a student kitchen. She will surely make friends fast!

Meanwhile I don't want "to close my eyes" or waste one single minute, so we will bake, cook, run, swim and continue playing with my new digital camera.

Both of us were thinking about mangos and looking at a very ripe one wondering what we should do with it. The mango we were staring at we ended up eating, but as the juice was dripping down from our chins both of us in unison said "mango macarons" why not?

So after we devoured our delicious, perfectly peached colored flesh of the mango, we were ready to bake Mango Macarons.

Piped and waiting an hour to develop skins

Nice Feet

Cooling Down

Created a few Macaron au Framboise

Finally finished and filled with a little Lime Ganache

Still have the second half of the day, though each minute passes by way too fast. I sense myself drifting to a younger time, Sydney is almost three and the day is also a hot, however on this day we are at the swimming pool with friends. 

It was my turn to bring the treats: Juice boxes, mini cupcakes so chocolate and gooey, Sydney had licked the bowl and beaters clean the night before, she was chocolate from head to toe so tubby time came before bed time.

Now as I watch my beautiful young adult daughter whisk the sugar for a Swiss Meringue that will turn into buttercream, I am yanked and not so gingerly to current time. College is just weeks away, and I am thrusted into the future that will be here soon enough.

I wonder what passions she will share with her child in ten years, I can almost see a vision of myself ( a grandmother ) baking with little prancing feet in the kitchen and Sydney showing them how a hard block of chocolate melts gently in a Bain Marie or how warm egg whites and sugar can be turned into a cloud of fluffy shiny meringue with endless possibilities. The irony of my future vision, I realize,  Sydney is about to embark on a future of endless possibilities, what will she choose?

Butter cubes and Sydney's voice remind me I need to start adding the butter to the meringue or there will not be any frosting for our first set of cupcakes.

As we begin to add the butter, watching a cloud of wonderful meringue turn to a curdled cottage cheese like texture and then reverse back to a delicious smooth fluffy Swiss Vanilla Buttercream, I cannot help but compare this frosting to life and all the stages we will or have already gone through. 

It is now early evening and another day will have past, but I know I have done my best to utilize every second sharing a passion that Sydney and I love, talking, eating, and just having fun.
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes piped with Italian Meringue Buttercream

White Chocolate Cupcakes with piped Swiss Meringue Buttercream

There still is time to bake up a recipe Sydney and I have jointly designed, but have yet to test. 

 Gooey Double Chocolate Mini Cupcakes

Amazingly they worked and taste delicious. They seem to be a cross between molten cake and the moistest cupcake I have every eaten. Hurray! The recipe worked with only a little tweaking.

As I finish this blog on "Time Flies" I realize I chose two photos the first of 3 mini cupcakes, we have three people in our little "Noto Unit," and the second is 1 beautiful mini cupcake by itself, as my Sydney will be with out us when she leaves next month on the next journey of her life.

As much as I want to scream stop go back 18 years, I know for her to succeeded and be a productive, caring adult she must go on this journey, without me, and have many more though out the rest of her life.
So I will say goodbye to my heart, allow her to find her own way; knowing that I am on the sidelines cheering her to achieve her own hopes, accomplishments, and dreams. I never will be more than a phone call away!

 I will conclude with a picture of Brioche Cinnamon Rolls; Sydney's favorite breakfast, and one of the first recipes we collaborated on together!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 4th baking marathon with Sydney

As I have confessed in the past I love using holiday weekends to bake with Sydney. We do take time to enjoy the bright warm Colorado sun, and as Coloradans we also hike, bike, run, and I tell Sydney idleness is a BAD word.
I just could not pass this flower in our garden

We began the morning with a fast paced walk and a trip to the farmers' market. Not so true before our walk we had a good pot of espresso, I had a tea cake and Sydney had cinnamon roll made with brioche.

When we arrived back to the kitchen, home, we started on some ganache fillings. Since they take about 2 hours before use.

While the silky ganache hung out, we began to prepare a sponge for brioche dough. The Ganache is for another pastry we were also baking, I will talk about the ganache and what it is used for in another blog. But here is a sneak preview

I forgot to mention we were planning a BBQ for friends on Sunday July 4th. 

The preparation

More preparation

Sydney begins to warm the milk for the yeast and measures the amount of yeast needed.

She is always so accurate, luckily.

Once the milk has reached the perfect temperature I added it to the yeast that was waiting in my standing mixer bowl. Swished the warm milk with the yeast to activate it, add an egg and some flour. Now we let the sponge rest and swell.

The sponge with a layer of flour

The rested sponge swelled and ready for more ingredients

The bowl has been placed back on the mixer and in need
of the dough hook.

The sponge will now be turned into a wondrous sticky smooth dough, but it is not a true brioche without butter. I must admit I order real french beurre (butter). We have found there  is a significant difference in texture, taste, and smell. In an article, posted on January 1st, 2001, The New York Times goes into great detail on why: "Butter With a Pedigree. Ah, the French."New York Times. If you have a chance it is well worth reading.
French Beurre

Dough is now ready for the butter!

The silky magnificent beurre (butter) has been added, the dough has been "slapped" around enough to feel smooth and look silky, now I will hand knead the dough for a few more minutes, transfer the dough to a very large buttered bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in a proofer (a warm room will work too) until doubled in size, between 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

The first rise in my proofer

Once the dough had risen and doubled in size, Sydney removed the brioche dough from the proofer, remove the plastic film, and gently deflated it. She then cover the brioche dough inside the bowl with move plastic film and put it back in the refrigerator over night. I checked the dough after an 1 1/2 and found it had risen to the top of bowl so I deflated it one more time, by the next afternoon it was ready to be used as the cinnamon roll dough.

Preparing for the first phase in making
cinnamon rolls

The Cinnamon roll ready to go in the freezer
for later use.

Tomorrow the cinnamon rolls will be ready to rise again, baked, and GLAZED by Sydney.

Proofing to the right size.

A Special /thank you

I guess its long over due, Sydney and I both need to take a little time to thank Dennis, my husband/ Sydney's father. He spends countless hours on the computer organizing the pictures I take of  food, plus he helped with the Culinary Calculator. He was the mathematical giant and spent long painstaking days to convert the common measurement into grams for the IPhone, Itouch, and Ipad, plus this app does so much more!

He tastes all the recipes we work on, there are some that have not yet been perfected. However with a smile he eats the food in front of him and always pushes us to keep trying( if he thinks the recipe needs something, if he likes it we are unable to keep up with his demand.)

Confessed The Macaron Cerise Vanille was just as delicious 
as The Triplet Chocolate  Macaron

The batter above in a lined butter coated pan

But truth be told as much  as he loves these pastry sweets his all time favorite dessert is Ginger Pound Cake. I realized we had not made him his Ginger- Ginger Glazed pound cake in sometime.

I actually had the idea for this cake while dining on sushi, at my favorite restaurant, I was offered a sample of ginger liqueur. A minute later I asked Sydney to have a sip, together we both proclaimed ginger pound cake!

When many hours later we were back in the kitchen still throwing ideas out on how to create a very special uniquely tasting pound cake, this could not just be like every other pound cake. It had to be personalized to my husband's taste and it also had to be appealing to guests and friends. We finally, 3 hours later, had a recipe, crystalized ginger, orange zest, and of course the ginger liqueur we had sampled earlier that day. Would my husband like it, well we would have to wait to find out, so we began constructing the first ginger pound cake.

Fresh from the oven waiting to be glazed
My husband is not as patient!

The glaze was easier to design: icing sugar, vanilla, ginger liqueur, and 1 teaspoon juice. 

My husband did not even wait for the cake to cool down he sampled a piece as soon as the glaze set. 
Did he like it? No he feel in "food love" with it, and when ever there is a loaf in the house he eats it every morning for breakfast! He proclaimed the cake's taste lingered with sweet and spicy notes hitting his tongue

The finished cake with glaze, and a special piece
all for him to snack!

It is with our dearest thanks and love we dedicate this cake and blog to him.

With our gratitude may you enjoy this flower along with you cake. Many, many, many Thanks!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

"Macaronotized" and Sydney

I hate to admit this new obsession I have: The french Macaron. There are days I find myself off somewhere just dreaming up recipes for new flavors of macarons, I believe I have been "macarontized." The feeling is almost hypnotic. I am driving Sydney nuts, my goodness its summer, 92 degrees in the shade and I want to turn the oven on to bake macarons! We compromised, I would work early in the morning before the heat becomes too bad!

I have been working on Citron Souffle Macaron Shell with a special Swiss Meringue Buttercream, White Chocolat Blanc Shell Macaron, Cerise-Vanille shell with Creme Fraishe and Pomme Shell.

I love the flavoring of the shells, there seems to be an unbelievable amount of ways to flavor them. Like I said I have been "macaronotized."

As much as I love creating macarons, I must admit I love preparing them with Sydney, my other obsession. It will be a hard transition when she leaves for college (far from home). Normally a parent would throw themselves into what they love, but my passion is baking/cooking and I have been sharing my passion with Sydney all her life. At least her college classmates will be loving her: the dorms have kitchens for the students to use.  I have been told by a pretty reliable source she will be in a dorm with a kitchen.
What college student, far from, home would not want one of these delightful snacks?  
So even if I am making her nuts by fall she will have wonderful memories of us baking together all summer long, and maybe a few odd memories of having to wake up early in the morning to take pictures of food before the sun is too bright.

Sorry to go so far off topic, back to the macaron. I am happy to report the Cerise Vanille Macaron is Delicious and Sydney had a wonderful thought of adding cherry pieces to the top. However I must admit is was a very long day.

We had to first process the almonds and we have found by trial and error to use whole almonds and then pulverize the almonds into a VERY fine powder, add the icing sugar and pulse to combine.

Voila Tant Pour Tant
Looking at the wonderful manicured nails, yes Sydney is holding the bowl. Meringue time and sugar syrup. As I have admitted in prior blogs Sydney is in charge of the sugar syrup and I whip up the egg whites.

This next step starts for us with a plump fragrant beautiful vanilla bean, of which we use the entire bean skin and seeds.

The sugar syrup and a sturdy helpful thermometer 

The Egg Whites being weighed

Whip meringue ready to join the Tant Pour Tant

Sydney clears the decks or in this case the counter top and places all the double stacked baking sheets lined with a silicone mats, as I begin to pipe Macaron Cerise Vanillel, Macaron Citron Vert, and the Chocolate Macarons


Now the wait begins with the oven preheating, though it is 5:30 p.m. the temperature outside is still in the high 88 F. My thought, start the sponge for a brioche and Sydney thought "can we take an hour sit on the deck and drink freshly squeezed lemonade. Sydney wins this time: I love fresh tart lemonade, besides I had promised we would work only in the early morning and its now early evening! (I guess I owe her time to rest!)
The sweet summer air, the wonderful company causes the hour to just blink by and it is time to join our patiently waiting macarons and the heated oven.



Chocolate Cooking

Chocolate Cooling

The oven has finally finished it's job, just as the evening begins to cool down. Now the excitement starts as we put the fillings together and choose colorants to match. The  Chocolate Triple Macarons are easy they will be married with Chocolate Ganache and liqueur. We really had to put our heads together to design a perfect filling for Macaron Cerise Vanillel, to deliver an aroma and flavor from the first bite to the last.
The Ganache still waiting

Viola the filling in the macaron

The finished project

Same Macaron just a different view

This flavor has some wonderful memories, I realize that might sound odd, but from the moment I thought of cherry Sydney and I have spent long hours just to create the recipe for the Macaron Cerise -Vanille. Once we had a good recipe we then needed to produce a few batches to insure a pleasurable, unique and unforgettable macaron experience. So far all of the fead back has stupendous!

These past few days have been filled with fun and respect.  In fact we both started to experiment with more recipes and macarons. Just for fun we mixed and matched a Citron Vert Shell with a Cerise-Vanille Shell piping the filling designed for Cerise-Vanille

WOW another summer holiday gone by, and due to an uninvited rain storm the fireworks were canceled;  however we still had plenty of color exploding inside due an array of macarons.