Pumpkin Chocolate Macarons

 

 

 

 

Several months ago, I embarked on a beautiful tour of Europe which included a visit to the gorgeous city of Paris.

While there, my diet consisted of: croissants, crepes, and lots and lots of macarons.

No this wasn’t the healthiest few days of my life, but perhaps the happiest. On my last day in Paris I swore that when I went back to the states I would learn how to make these light, pillowy sugar dreams so I could transport myself back to the gilded streets of Paris, even if just for a moment.

 

So I finally attempted to climb pastry everest. As you will see below, I mixed in my fall cravings with this Parisian classic, and came up with this recipe.

Did these taste good? You bet!

 

Did half of the shells crack or fall apart? Yes, indeed. But it’s more motivation for me to tweak my recipe and find out what works and what doesn’t. However, this is a solid foundation recipe and I hope you too will attempt to climb this tasty meringue mountain with me.

20131025-154030.jpg

20131025-154053.jpg

20131025-154106.jpg

20131025-154125.jpg

20131025-154138.jpg

20131025-154150.jpg

Pumpkin & Chocolate Macarons

By Pleading and Pasta (C) 2013

3/4 cup almond meal

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

3 Tbsp sugar

1.5 tbsp of cocoa powder

2 large egg whites

FILLING

1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups  powdered sugar
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

 

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (Note, oiled foil WILL NOT work)

2. Put regular sugar and egg whites in a mixer and let mix for 7-10 minutes until stiff peaks form.

3. Meanwhile, sift together the almond meal, confectioner’s sugar, and cocoa powder.

4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients by folding the dry ingredients in. You want to do at least 25-30 turns on this particular recipe. “Knock” the air out of the merengue by turning and smearing the mix.

5. Put the mixture into a plastic bag for piping.

6. Pipe equally sized circles onto the parchment and lightly bump and shake the pan so the batter settles.

7. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Cookies should pop off the parchment.

8. Remove from pan and let cool and make the icing.

9. For icing, mix all of the icing ingredients together. To make the frosting more stiff, add small amounts of confectioners sugar until desired consistency is reached.

10. Put icing in a bag and pipe onto cookie shells. Put one on top of the other and serve!

Eat with all of your heart, mon ami,

 

G

 

Advertisements

Nutella Banana Fold-Overs

20131014-122637.jpg

Sometimes you just want dessert. Warm, gooey, chocolatey dessert.

However you don’t have a whole afternoon to dedicate to making a decadent dessert. So in honor of a visit to a dear friend and fellow chef in training, I made these nutella banana fold-overs as the perfect finish to our meal.

As a young girl I grew up on Nutella sandwiches. All of the kids in the lunch room would ask me how I convinced my mom to make me “chocolate sandwiches” and at the time, I had no idea how I was so fortunate. But, later on I learned Nutella is a staple of many European households, and growing up Italian-American, we were no exception to this rule!

Although I don’t eat Nutella as often as I did when I was a kid, it is still such a special treat for me and this recipe is a great way to get your Nutella fix.

Nutella Banana Fold-Overs

1/2 cup Nutella

Frozen phyllo dough or pastry dough equivalent

Sliced Bananas

1. Defrost the dough, and cut into squares

2. Fill with nutella and a few bananas

3. Fold over into a triangle shape, bake on 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

4. Serve warm (be careful though, I wasn’t patient and burned my  mouth in the process since it was fresh out of the oven)

20131014-122646.jpg

Eat with all of your heart,

G

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

20130705-130851.jpg

After just getting back from the grocery store, I suddenly had a craving for chocolate cake. I took a look at what I had purchased, what I had in my pantry, and didn’t have the ingredients I needed for a classic cake. So, I decided to accept the challenge and find a recipe that put together all of the ingredients I had on hand to make a rich, tasty treat.

Enter Miss Nigella Lawson. To be honest, I was skeptical about using olive oil in a dessert, but the final product was divine. Moist, flavorful, and not overly sweet. You can find her Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Recipe here. (Note there is a gluten free version as well!)

However, I made a few Pleadings & Pasta adjustments I would like to suggest to my readers.

First, I love my cake to be extra chocolatey so I added an additional tablespoon of cocoa, and also after cooking the cake for about 15 minutes, I topped the cake with dark chocolate chips. Don’t put them on top before cooking it a bit or else they will sink to the bottom and burn to the baking dish. The extra chocolate makes the dessert even more indulgent!

Lastly, I sauteed some fresh berries in sugar and a little bit of water to make an outstanding topping for this rich cake. I think this cake could be even better with a dash of espresso. Definitely will be trying that on the next bake around!

Eat with all of your heart,

G