Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pierre Herme-Inspired Pistachio Macarons - Run #10

My dear friend Lara truly believes in me...so much so that she lent me her Kitchenaid stand mixer while she tours SPAIN! Miss Jelly over here! Just teasing!

Before she left with her husband Kuya Chip for their anniversary vacay, she and I attempted to make pistachio macarons filled with Pierre Herme's recipe pistachio butter & white chocolate filling. I've had Pierre Herme's macarons smuggled to me from Paris by my Twinsy Cristina (God bless you), so I knew how good they are!

Tell me why this was a fail upon fail macaron experience! From over beating the egg whites in the stand mixer since it was our first time using it for this process, over-greening the batter til it became leprechaun-worthy, theb watching the macs bake, rise, and develop feet only to see them collapse. Don't even get me started on the filling! That was drama too!

It was so frustrating, but we got a few that were decent after making a second (less green) batch using my hand mixer and less coloring. Like I keep saying: learning experience! This is one recipe I'd like to revisit for sure!

I am not settling for "decent." They have to be "great."

9/28/12 - Pistachio Macaron Shells with
Pierre Herme-Inspired Pistacio White Chocolate Filling

Orange October Macarons - Run #9

I wanted to make orange macarons because the month of October is all about orange: the fall leaves, Halloween, and Giants postseason!! Another important person who influenced me to make these is my mother-in-law Marion. She loves orange-infused dark chocolate, so these were made with her in mind.

I took the orange and only took the orange portion of the skin.  The white pith is very bitter.  I then simmered the zest in heavy cream until almost boiling and poured the hot mixture (minus the orange zest) over good Scharffen Berger 70% cocoa chocolate to create a luscious ganache.


Black and orange. Black and orange. Black and orange.

9/27/12 - "Orange October" - Orange Shells Filled with Orange-Infused Chocolate Ganache

Monday, October 29, 2012

The San Francisco Giants Are The 2012 World Series Champions!!

We Interrupt Our Normally Scheduled Programming To Bring You ...


What a season!

I remember back on July 31 during the regular season, I brought my godson Keanu to a game at AT&T Park. There were new faces on the team and one man caught my attention.  Turns out we just did a trade to get him.

"Who's Scoo-tah-row?" I asked.

"Auntie, it's 'Scoot-a-row'!" he replied.

Yes, I got schooled by a 9-year-old, but it turned out to be one of the more memorable games I've been to. Soon we were counting down "magic numbers," clinching the #1 spot in the division...then the league...and finding ourselves in the Fall Classic after everyone left us for dead.

Talk about torture!

There are only a few faces left from the 2010 team: Panda, Posey, and Huff for example; nevertheless, the synergy this team had was truly magic. Crawford's boyish face radiating from that newspaper article made us want him to win and live his dream. Crazy-eyed Reverend Pence spreading his gospel game after game. Blanco and Pagan's running catches and defensive plays stopping runners in their tracks. The pitching teams' passion and skill making us binge on rally enchiladas and hashtagging #rally all over the interwebs...and doing it Gangnum Style with Romo after the 27th out. The ridiculously loud bats of Panda, Posey, and Scutaro. Belt's handling of the ball in his glove at first making out after out. Every one of them made an impact, for sure.

Last Friday, I was compelled to make Giants macarons again. My black and orange monogrammed ones were a hit; however, I didn't want to jinx them. I posted my blueprints on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook (killed 3 birds with one push of a button), but proclaiming I would only make them only after we won the series.

The day of Game 4 came, and I was anxious. I had to make them. Something told me I had to. Win or lose, they're still my team and will always be my team. So I did...

This one is dedicated to the TRUE fans. The ones who never stopped believing. The ones who stuck by them after losses, controversies, and injuries. The ones who watched the clincher from their office computers at work only to cheer as quietly as possible when Posey hit the grand slam. The ones who stayed in the rain after Game 7. The ones who were rooting them on from Opening Day and cheered them on through the 10th inning.

Congrats to the San Francisco Giants! 2012 World Series Champions.

...and yes, I really did cry after the win.


I'll post a complete description with our usual collage of the macarons as we continue our "run # sequence" which shouldn't be long from now...until then...

Now back to your regular scheduled broadcasting...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Red Velvet Macarons - Run #8


If you have ever been to my family parties, you will know that it is almost "expected" of me to bring some sort of red velvet "sumptin"...my fams in Union City, California already be knowing. I've brought red velvet cupcakes, red velvet cheesecake, but what I'm bum rushed for (at the door before I could even stop to kiss-kiss everyone) are my red velvet cookie whoopies. Ever since I got rave reviews for them at an SF Wars competition, I made them for my family parties.

Then I thought, "wouldn't it be fun to create a red velvet macaron?"

And that's what I did. I give you my "Southern Sweethearts":

9/23/12 - "Southern Sweethearts" - Red Velvet Shells
with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Buttercream

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Buko Pandan Macarons - Run #7

I knew one of these days I had to make a Filipino-inspired mac. One of my mentors is Annapet from The Daily Palette whom we fondly call "Ninang" or godmother in Tagalog. Earlier in the year at one of our kapaMEALya potlucks, she brought over amazing ube macarons with Brazo de Jun Belen filling! Thanks to Arnold of inuyaki for the pic. They were to die for! She became an inspiration.

Now that I'm making my own, I cherish all the kind words and advice I receive, especially when they come from her and other macaron makers.

So for my first Filipino mac, I chose "buko pandan" or screwpine leaf and coconut flavor. Buko pandan is a dessert which consists of tapioca, gelatin, sweet coconut gel in a cream flavored with pandan and coconut. I wanted to encapsulate that flavor in a mac. I used a green pandan extract and powdered coconut flavor for both the shell and frosting. While not the best macs (aesthetically/technique-wise) I've made thus far, the flavor was there.

9/21/12 - "Buko Pandan" - Screwpine and Coconut Flavored Macarons

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stuffed French Toast and Bacon Macarons - Run #6


Chic? Ou passe?

Bacon is just one of those things where it can be good with everything, but I understand when people say that putting it in everything needs to stop...especially when it is stuck in a dessert.  Well, this is probably going to be the last time I will ever put bacon in a dessert...or will it?

Sometimes savory and sweet are meant to be together!
Behold!  All the flavors of brunch in one little macaron:

9/19/12 - "Stuffed French Toast and Bacon" Macarons
Cinnamon shells with Canadian maple-cream cheese buttercream
and studded with Maple Niman Ranch Bacon

Monday, October 22, 2012

San Francisco Giants Inspired Macarons - Run #5

San Francisco. 

The Giants have the best fans.  Through the good through the bad and of course the torture. Can you believe how great they were last night?!  I swear, it had to be all those rally enchiladas!  Vogey was amazing!  I hope the energy we give them tonight will carry them to the World Series!  Keep believing!

Ever since I was a kid watching Willie McGee stealing bases, hanging Kurt Manwaring's centerfold picture on my wall over my bed, and cheering on my favorite trio:  Will the Thrill, Matt Williams, and Robby Thompson, I have been a fan.  Of course, growing up with the Barry Bonds homerun record, getting devestated with the 2002 World Series loss, calling JT Snow my husband, and finally almost coming to tears watching them win the 2010 Word Series have made my life as a fan a rollercoaster. 

Nevertheless, I love my team...and this was for them and all their faithful fans!

GAME 7!!  We got this!

9/16/12 - "Black & Orange" - David Lebovitz's chocolate macarons
colored further with black gel and monogrammed with the official
SF Giants logo filled with salted caramel buttercream

I will forever say "Go Giants!"

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Linkin Park Inspired Macarons - Run #4

On Friday, September 7, my friends and I went to the Civic Tour at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Moutain View, California.  My most favorite band in the world (they are the only artist on my iPhone) would be playing a set of my most favorite songs ever.  Still smitten from the most awesome concert ever, I made these lovelies:

9/13/12 - "LP Fanatic" - vanilla shells topped with chocolate LP logo
and filled with Nutella buttercream

This was my 3rd time seeing them in concert.  I don't think I can ever
get sick of seeing them live.  Such a great show.  I love you, Mike!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

San Francisco 49er Inspired Macarons - Run #3

The City of San Francisco lights up especially when football season and baseball post-season arrives.  We are definitely one of the best places to be a sports fan.  I have been a 49er fan as long as I can remember, so my friend Jnet and I met one night and made these babies:

9/11/12 - "Niner Nation" - Red and Gold shells filled
with white chocolate cream cheese buttercream
  PS: Who else remembers those old school Starter jackets?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tiffany & Co. Inspired Macarons - Run #2

It all started with this email from my friend Lara:

It was a good two weeks after I baked macarons for the first time that I went back to the kitchen to make them again.

I knew some way some how I could improve on what we did during our maiden voyage.

So glad I did.

The inspiration came from Tiffany & Co. (I adore this company) and I got tips from Hi Cookery.

I would like to add that researching different methods on YouTube and other blogging sites is extremely helpful.  Enormous amount of information is there for you to learn.

Here's a trick for you when you are piping your buttercream: use a star decorating tip.

When you sandwich the macarons, the star tip leaves a nice swirl design on the buttercream.  I only used the star tip because I was too lazy to wash my round tip, but I'm glad I did because it adds an elegant touch.  It's the little things sometimes.

9/9/12 - Tiffany & Co. - Tiffany Blue Shells Filled with White Chocolate Buttercream

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My First Macaron Baking Experience - Run #1

Originally posted on Jo Boston is a Foodie on August 13, 2012:

On Saturday, I had a great time with my cousin Roxanne making French macarons for the first time.  Oh we fancy, huh?  All this time, I had been buying them from cafe's at like $2 a pop.  Yes.  Sometimes I just have to have one.  It's that shell encasing the tender center.  Something about a French macaron reeks sophistication and class.  I am NOT the most sophisticated or classy person, but I can try to be in the kitchen.  I think we did a pretty good job considering it was our first time making them.

Upon review of the methods we used, I can say we need to make some adjustments especially when it comes to making the meringue, grinding the almond meal a little more, setting oven temperature, and making the filling.  We kept saying throughout the day that it was a learning process.  Things can only get better the more we practice.  It is also safe to say that I will no longer buy macarons...actually, unless I'm in Yountville, then I will.

It's one of those things where I ask myself, "why buy when I can make them?"  I was so proud of us when Momma came in the kitchen.  Usually I get nervous whenever she is around because she says I bake too much.  Too much?  Is there such thing as "too much" baking?  We have different minds.  She likes it served to her.  I like serving.  But on Saturday when we took the strawberry macs out of the oven, she walked over and said, "Ohhhh, you know, when the baker makes these at the restaurant, they look like this!"

They had FEET!

Oh, that made us so happy!  Getting a thumbs up from Momma, whether it be for my cooking or how I dress is always a good thing.  You wanna make your Momma proud!  Rox and I are going to make this a monthly thing, and I can't wait!  Thank you to my friends on the internets who gave us advice and "likes" on our pics.  =)  We had so much fun making them.

8/11/12 - Vanilla: Vanilla macaron shells filled with vanilla buttercream

8/11/12 - Strawberry:  Pink sugar topped shells filled with fresh strawberry buttercream

8/11/12 - Chocolate:  Chocolate shells filled with Scharffen Berger dark chocolate ganache

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Welcome to My New Blog!

Hi everyone!

It's Joanne!  You're probably scratching your head and asking "another blog?"...yes, I decided to start a new one dedicated just for the macarons I have been making.  For my travel/event/restaurant recaps, you can still catch them (if I ever post these days) on my first blog Jo Boston is a Foodie.

Since my cousin Roxanne and I started back in August, I've been completely obsessed with making them and brainstorming new flavor and color combinations.

By no means am I a "macaron expert."  I JUST started, so I still have so much to learn!  Trust me, I still have my bad days.  I do want to say thank you to all my friends who have been sending me their love and kind words over the last few weeks!  You totally make this a worthwhile experience.

With that said, here are two of my favorite macaron creations made for my San Francisco sports fans!

Go Giants!  Go Niners!
So why the name "Mahal to the Macs?"

First of all "mahal" in the Pilipino language means "love."  The title can be translated in various ways.  "Love to the Macarons" or "Love to the Max."  The world definitely needs more macarons and love.  I definitely love making macarons.  As temperamental as they are, the challenge gives me a thrill and the process is quite therapeutic, believe it or not.

My soul thrives when given a creative task to accomplish.  

I really don't know where exactly this will take me.  Will I ever be a professional macaron baker?  Who knows.  At this point, I'm not really seriously thinking about it.  I'm just having fun with it.  I'm also not taking orders because I'm creating them for my own pleasure.  Being "hired" scares me!  But like I said, who knows!

Never say never!