Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and More Macarons

I only started making my own ice cream this year, but it has been really fun and very rewarding, so I think it’s something I’m definitely going to keep experimenting with for years to come. Now that summer has come, and a hot oven heating up the house isn’t exactly ideal, making homemade ice cream is a great alternative to cakes and other baked treats.

I have only made a couple batches of vanilla bean and chocolate, and only managed to follow the instructions correctly a single time. All the other batches were also delicious, mind you. I can’t imagine how any mixture of sugar, milk and cream could taste bad. I’ve mixed ingredients in the wrong order, and even forgot to add sugar once, but it has always worked out in the end. I usually read recipes through before starting, and rarely forget anything when baking, so I suppose maybe I was just a little too excited with the ice cream. Anyways, here is the recipe from David Lebovitz, and you can find many other great ice cream recipes at his blog too.

Continue reading Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and More Macarons

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Birthday Cupcakes

You can never go wrong with a classic bakery style vanilla cupcake with pink buttercream and rainbow sprinkles. They’re just so cheery and happy and full of celebration. I made a batch of these vanilla cupcakes and a batch of rich chocolate cupcakes for a friend’s birthday yesterday. Both are very easy to make and lots of fun to decorate. I topped the vanilla with a simple swirl and sprinkles, and the chocolate with a ganache glaze and some chocolate curls.

The cupcake liners I used are wide and shallow, with a large surface on top just asking for some creative decorations. I definitely want to give these flowers a go sometime soon, I’ve been meaning to try out the technique ever since I saw that picture on pinterest a few weeks ago.

I used this vanilla cupcake and buttercream recipe from Sweetapolita, but cut the icing sugar in the buttercream from 5 cups to 3.5 cups (and it was still very sweet! although much more tolerable). For someone who loves baking and desserts, I have surprisingly low sugar tolerance. My whole family tends to find most desserts too sweet so I usually cut some sugar in most recipes, as long as it doesn’t compromise anything else.

The dark chocolate cupcake recipe is also from Sweetapolita, but I just made a simple ganache instead of the raspberry buttercream. And last but not least, here is a great tutorial for making chocolate curls.

And now, I’m off to take a nap in the park. I hope you are all enjoying the warm summer weather wherever you are too!

Macarons Part Two: Coffee, Pistachio, Chocolate and Lemon

The past few days have been macaron mania in my kitchen and I’ve still only made about half my list of flavours. I made lemon, pistachio, chocolate hazelnut, and coffee. They’re all absolutely delicious although the texture is a little off in all of them in one way or another. There was some underbeaten meringue, as I switched from using a stand mixer to a hand mixer, and one batch I even forgot about and left in the oven for far too long (tried to pass these off as meringue cookies, didn’t even bother filling them they were so crispy).

Even with all the troubles I ran into, these were still lots of fun to make. A couple hollow shells don’t ruin the flavour of the cookies and they are still very tasty. I found recipes for different fillings all over the internet, mixing and altering them until I got something I liked. The pistachio cream and coffee infused ganache are amazing. It was my first time making both of them and they are definitely my new favourites.

I could only snap a few shots of the filled and completed batches before the sun went down, and my dog curiously came down to join.

Continue reading Macarons Part Two: Coffee, Pistachio, Chocolate and Lemon