June 15, 2010

MacarOn de Paris

Although macarons are predominantly a French confection, there has been much debate about its origins.  Some have traced its French debut back to the arrival of Catherine de' Medici's Italian pastry chefs whom she brought with her in 1533 upon marrying Henry II.  In the 1830s macarons were served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The macaron as it is known today was called the "Gerbet" or the "Paris macaron" and is the creation of Pierre Desfontaines of the French pâtisserie Laduree, composed of two almond meringue discs filled with a layer of buttercream, jam, or ganache filling.

Treat yourself or friends to macarons!  They're perfect for any kind of event and will bring a sweet and colorful touch to your tables and parties.  Pastry Chef, Cecil, culinary trained at Pierre HermĂ©’s School in France, bakes the macarons fresh daily.

MacarOns are made with, two shells of almond flour, egg white, confectioner sugar & sugar; and a filling, so called the ganache, made with butter, sugar and natural flavors.  The flavors are truly amazing!  Dark Chocolate, Pistachio, Vanilla, Espresso, Coconut, Rose Petal,Caramel fleur de sel, White Chocolate, Mocha, Nutella, Matcha Green Tea, Lemon, Grapefruit, Chocolate Coco, Raspberry, Honey Lavender, Wedding Almond, Peanut Butter, Mango, Passion Fruit, Cassis, Creme Brulee.  

June 9, 2010

Valrhona Chocolate Truffles with Liqueur

At our monthly Sweets Club, we handmade chocolate truffles with Valrhona French Chocolate - well known for their quality and intense aromatic flavor since 1924.  My personal favorite!

The recipe is simple.  Chop 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate into 1/4 inch pieces, and 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces.  In a small saucepan, bring 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream to a simmer.  Bring a 1/2 inch of water in a medium saucepan to a boil, then lower the heat.  Place the smaller pan in the water and slowly add the chocolate and butter.  Once the mixture is completely melted, refrigerate for at least 2 hours until firm. 

Now, the fun begins!  With our truffles, we mixed in Grand Marnier with one batch (while it was on the stove), and Chambord raspberry liqueur in another.  The truffles on your right were duster with Valrhona Cocoa, the middle with coconut, and the right a chopped up Taza Chocolate Mexicano "Guajillo Chili" Disc.