Homemade Simple Vanilla Macarons Recipe

I’ve recently been introduced to macarons, and I loved them! The nice crispy shell texture with a soft centre make an amazing treat! Not only do the ones at the store taste good – they look amazing! So, I figured I’d try my hand at making a simple batch of Vanilla Macarons as it appears I have all the ingredients in my pantry! Of course my batch didn’t look great – but tasted wonderful!

Ingredients: Makes about 12
1/3 cup finely ground almond
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 egg whites
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Let’s get started on my first batch of shells! First, we gather all our ingredients so we have everything ready and preheat the oven to 300F.

Then we grind the almonds until they’re fine and then we grind it with the powdered sugar! I figured we do this so that the ground almond is coated with the powder sugar so it doesn’t lump!

Lots of recipes call for sifting the mixture a few times. I tried and I guess my strainer is too fine… it separates the powdered sugar from the ground almonds. The end results wasn’t rough or anything but it’s got some texture as I had to omit the step. So, we go to beating the egg whites until the mixture starts becoming airy and bubbly. At which you will add the 2tbsp of sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Once you got the soft peaks, beat the vanilla extract in.

From here, mix half of your egg white mixture into your almond mixture and mix until they’re incorporated. Then, fold in the rest of the egg white and put into a piping back or a ziploc bag. Then, you can cut out a corner and pipe onto a lined cookie sheet of circles. Then you let them dry for about 30 minutes (or until a hard layer is made)

Once the hard layer is formed by drying it, you can pop them in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until they move off the parchment paper easily. At this point, you can take them out and let them cool while you make the filling.

For the filling…
You can start by taking out the ingredients that you need.

Start with the egg yolks, and beat together the ingredients until it’s even and smooth.

Then, move it to the stove top and cook it until a custard texture

From here, I removed it from the heat and returned it to a bowl and let it cool to room temperature.

When it has cooled, I arrange the macaron shells so that they kind of match each other in relative shape and size. I put a dollop of the butter cream on one side and put the other side on carefully. Once they’re assembled, I put them in the fridge to set. When you’re ready to eat, take them out a few minutes ahead to take the chill off of them. They apparently last up to a week in an air-tight container in the fridge. Ours are often gone way before then!

Homemade Eggnog

December is my a great month for me as it’s the one month I allow myself to indulge. It’s once a year certain delicious treats come around and Eggnog is definitely one of those! I use to make my own eggnog, then got too lazy and now I started to make it myself again! It’s wonderful, simple and delicious!

Ingredients: makes about 4 cups
5 large eggs (4 extra large eggs)
1/2 cup cream
2 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp rum (optional)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

To begin, I start by separating my eggs.

Then, we whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Once that happens, throw about 1tbsp of sugar into the egg whites and mix again. We can put it aside until the end.

Then, we beat the egg yolks until they are fluffy and lighter in colour. Once that has happened, we can gradually pour the 1/3cup of sugar into the egg yolks and mix again.

When the egg yolks are mixed thoroughly, pour the 2 cups of milk, 1/2 cup of cream and rum into the egg yolks and mix until it’s blended.

Now we’re ready to season the eggnog mixture with the rum, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Your eggnog is pretty much done now. All we need to do is whisk in the egg whites and enjoy! You can have some as is – or you can chill it and then serve. I usually claim it lasts only 3 days.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Homemade Xiao Long Bao – 小籠包

Well, after we came back from Shanghai, China, we were really missing some delicious Xiao Long Bao so we decided to be adventurous and make some!

The process is time consuming, but it was delicious! We just enjoyed some frozen ones, and sadly, I had to say mine tasted better! Not bad for a first time attempt! There is 3 parts to making Xiao Long Bao, and it starts with the soup part

Ingredients for Soup:
Pork Belly Meat
1 Package of Gelatin
Water

First of all, make a soup with fatty meat so it solidifies. I boiled some pork feet with pork belly in water until it reduced to about half. When I claimed it was done, I seasoned it up as though I was about to drink it – with a little heavier hand of seasoning!

Now, we have to let the soup set and become “jello” so I add a package of flavourless gelatin just to make sure it sets. Put it in the fridge at least 3 hours before using it!

The next thing I did was to marinate the meat. I wanted the meat to be full of flavour so I did that before making the dough.

Ingredients for Filling
1/2 lb regular ground pork
2 tbsp 5-Spiced Powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
chuck of ginger (minced)
chopped green/spring onion
1 tsp salt

Basically here, mix everything together and let it marinate in the fridge!

If your soup has set at this point, pull back the layer of fat/oil and break down the soup jelly and mix it into the meat marinated. If you put this in at this point, make sure you keep the meat in the fridge so your soup doesn’t become “soup”.

Now, as everything is chilling and developing their flavours, we can make the dough!

Ingredients for dough:
200g A/P Flour
1/8 cup of cold water
1/3 cup of hot water (I used boiling water)
1 tsp salt

Making the dough is actually super easy! Basically you measure out the flour and pour the boiling water in. Mix until the dough is smooth and keep mixing as we’re trying to develop the gluten!

When it’s soft and smooth, add the cold water in and knead for a few more minutes! It will have a nice texture and bounce back when you poke it – then it’s ready. When you reach this point, let it rest in the bowl covered for at least 30 minutes.

After it’s rested, roll it out. I rolled mine out in a pasta roller to get the consistent thickness – and on my machine, I had it at setting “6” for the perfect thickness! I then cut out circles so I can fill the xiao long bao

Then, I get to fill the xiao long bao wrappers and place them on a cabbage lining to my bamboo steamer! I tried to make as many pleats as possible as that’s how it’s prettiest.

Now, we prepare the steamer and we’ll steam for about 15 minutes!

Now it’s done! Be careful, it’s hot and the soup you can see at the bottom of the dumpling — this means it’s really hot!! Enjoy!