Salted Pretzel Macarons, 3 Years Blogging, and 3 GIVEAWAYS!May 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Posted in Baseball, Cookies, Dessert, Giveaway, Macarons | 225 Comments
Tags: baking, Chocolate, chocolate ganache, Cookies, Food Color Gel Pastes, Giveaway, Macarons, MacTweets, Nutella, Pastry Tips, pastry tubes, pretzels, recipes, Salt, Salted Pretzel Macarons
So I had an idea, and it’s been cruising through my brain for months now. I wasn’t sure it would work, but I had to try it. Things just kept getting in the way, and soon it was in limbo, wanting to move on, but unable to move out. Well, I finally got to it, and I’m finally taking part in a MacTweet – regardless of that bendy joint in between my thigh and calf that tries to ‘trip’ me up. If I had a nickel for every time the word ‘knee’ has been used on this blog…. I’d have about 75 cents.
This month’s MacTweets theme is ‘Ballpark Snacks – Take me out to the Ballgame’, aka, food you usually find at a ballgame - as or in a macaron. It sort of went like this…
“Jamie (MacTweet co-founder, along with Deeba)! I came up with this amazing salted pretzel macaron, the shell really tastes like a pretzel, well, a sweet pretzel, like the chocolate dipped pretzels..but I did add powdered mustard to a white chocolate ganache..blah blah..zzzzz”
Then I lucked out, Jamie made this month’s theme a baseball one. Big, soft, hot, chewy pretzels with gobs of mustard, at a Yankee game. Yes, that is the life, well, while I’m there, even though I haven’t been to one in a while. I’m pretty sure, if I recall, you can get chocolate dipped, crunchy pretzels too, at the new Yankee Stadium. SO, I began to whip up my second go round of this macaron I created about 2 months or so ago.
Time to digress…
While I waited for the first batch of macarons to dry (the wrinkly ones – see below), I dug into some spicy, cold sesame noodles. I was bored, so I ate one noodle at a time. I’ve never done that before, and in fact, get annoyed when anyone eats anything uber small or skinny one piece at a time. (Remember, Jerry Seinfeld dumped a girl because she ate her peas one at a time). First off, the noodles better have a good sauce coating them, one full of flavor, or else it won’t work, way too dull to enjoy a single noodle at a time. The longer I write about this, the stranger I feel, and the stranger I think you think I am.
On your left, the salted pretzel powder. This one needed to be sifted just once or twice more, as you can see there’s still tiny shell bits in it. On the right, The color your finished macarons should be - similar to graham cracker crumbs, to emulate a golden, baked pretzel. I placed two small pretzel sticks on top to show you. However, and very important, you want your tant pour tant about two shades lighter than mine above, as the color deepens when folded with the egg whites. The wrinkled macarons below were made from this tant pour tant. See how much darker they are than the original tant pour tant above – which looks to be the perfect baked pretzel color match?
I discovered something in this odd ‘one noodle at a time’ dining experience. You will not finish the noodles. I was satisfied with half the bowl. This is a good thing if trying to eat light or diet. This is not a good thing for your dining companion. Do it only when you’re alone. That is when most of us gorge anyway, right?
The above are filled with Nutella. The rest of the photos, just plain, dark chocolate ganache. AS promised, I supplied a recipe for the white chocolate – mustard ganache, below, even though I couldn’t show it to you in a macaron.
Ok, back to macarons, and guess what? Two so-called ‘Lisa’ disasters! I think it’s getting to the point where a disaster is to be expected with every new post here, huh?
1. My first batch – the tops just deflated and wrinkled. No idea why. They looked like the victims of years of too much sun worshipping. Tan 1.5-inch raisin rounds. If anyone has a clue, please fill me in. There have been no feet, flat shells, too poofy shells, too big feet, but never wrinkly faces. They’re being bitches again.
2. Second batter spilled into my lap. I don’t even want to say how.
This is the ‘too dark - wrinkled’ batch. No idea why, what, how. Never seen this before in any macarons I’ve made.
OK, I had a choice, try again or use these photos from my first try creating the salted pretzel macaron. They sat in my photo program as a sort of a back-up in case of bitchiness. The color was off, the feet were weird, I piped so quickly I ended up with too many baby shells, I accidentally sprinkled pretzel salt on all the drying shells, instead of every other one, and the photos..no words. BUT, they had to do, since I wasn’t sure I had the time or patience to make them again within the next two weeks, so here they are – this is them. Are you happy, bitchy macaron goddesses?
I basically took one shot of them from different distances. No idea why I used a blue mug and red ribbon. If I had not encountered any problems the second and third time around, I had some great deep background ideas, soft and crispy pretzels, chocolate and mustard as props, all broken, crumbs etc, and, I was going to fill them with this perfect white chocolate -mustard ganache I came up with. I think these will be making another appearance on this blog, the way I planned, before X-Mas. (Like I was going to perfect my Twoffle for another entry, and the third Levain Copycat attempt I keep promising everyone. I’m a bad blogger)
Ok, I must to digress again (this entry is all over the place!). This past weekend there was a BlogHer convention. Those who attended were tweeting all kinds of advice from the diifferent workshops they attended, from social media to photography. One hint that stuck in my head ‘Try not use ‘I‘ very often – don’t make it about yourself’. This entry is riddled with ‘I”s’, Should I speak in third person? I’m 100% sure I made these macarons, and I’m pretty sure it is about the macarons, but they wouldn’t exist if not for me, right? At this juncture, I really can’t wrap my head around that one.
OK..back to macarons ONCE AGAIN. Even though you didn’t get to see my perfectly ‘pretzel colored’ macs, you can see the color in the tant pour tant photo above. Notice the pretzel stick I placed to show you how close the color was? Well..as mentioned above..under the photo of it, you have to go about two shades lighter than that because when folded with the egg whites, the color deepens considerably. I said it twice because it sucked for me when that tant pour tant turned a deep, reddish brown after being combined with the whites, definitely not a golden, baked pretzel looking shell. Those were the wrinkled ones, so I assume they wrinkled in protest of the color they had to wear. Bitches. That perfectly baked pretzel colored tant pour tant was the batter that became my lap puppy. Again, bitches.
Americolor, equal parts warm brown and egg yolk, 1 part gold.
I color the tant pour tant and let it dry overnight. You don’t have to do that. You can color the egg whites while beating, or drop in the color during your ’50 strokes’.
Some of those ‘baby’ macarons from inconsistent pressure on the piping bag.
All in all, if you love sweet, dipped pretzels, these shells hit that flavor perfectly. Fill them with whatever you like, from sweet to savory, you won’t be disappointed!
Now onto the good part, minus the whining and bitching. Myy three year blogiversary is upon me. (ME ME ME..again). It’s actually May 26th, but I probably won’t have a post up on the 26th, so I want to celebrate it now….with 3 Giveaways! I love you guys, and love that you like my blog. I even love those of you who are just coming for the giveaway, because, well..Oh, I don’t know, just feeling the love today. These prizes will definitely help in your macaron making, or cookie and cake decorating…or whatever floats your boat (I won’t go there). This is not a promotion, I bought all of the prizes myself to give away to YOU.
I’m giving away 1 big prize (well..bigger in relation to the two others). An Ateco 55 Piece Pastry Tip Set ((Set includes coupler, flower nails and Ateco’s most popular stainless steel decorating tubes in a plastic hinged storage box) plus 12 Ateco gel paste colors (black, blue, yellow, green, pink, red, teal, orange, fuchsia, violet, sky blue, and brown – remember, a little bitty drop goes a long way!)
For two runners up. I’m giving away two Ateco 14-Piece Cake Decorating Sets (12 inch flexible bag with hem and hanging loop and 12 stainless steel decorating tubes. Also includes a plastic coupler (pre-attached to bag), instructions, recipes, and a clear plastic storage box)
How to Enter: You have three chances to win any three of the prizes. Three separate comments for each entry. You can just leave one comment if you want, but why not increase your chances?
1. Leave a comment telling me what you like to eat at sporting events, and/or just a comment on this macaron entry if you don’t go to sporting events.
2. Follow me on Twitter @parsleynsage, or you can click on the little blue tweety bird at the top right of this page to go right to my profile and follow.
3 Tweet about this giveaway – 3 #GIVEAWAYS, 3 #WINNERS @parsleynsage – 55 Piece Pastry Tip Set plus 12 gel colors, & 2 Cake Decorating Sets http://bit.ly/lZ3XAZ
By the way, keep following me once this giveaway is over because there will be lots of tweets about all the upcoming giveaways I’ll be having this summer! A few biggies in there.
All three winners will be chosen via random integer on Jun 2nd, so that’s 12 days you have to enter! Good luck, everyone!
Salted Pretzel Macarons with Chocolate Ganache
Salted Pretzel Macarons
1 cup icing sugar
3/4 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons pretzel powder (method follows)
2 large egg whites
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pretzel salt or coarse salt
Warm Brown, Egg Yolk Yellow and Gold Americolor gel pastes
1. Place the powdered sugar, pretzel powder, and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add in the gel food colors and pulse until you reach a golden pretzel color you’re satisfied with. I used about 3-4 drops of each of brown and yellow, plus 1 big drop of gold, for 2 egg white macarons. Let the tant pour tant dry overnight, or spread on a cookie sheet and let dry in a turned off oven for a few hours.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.
3. Add the tant pour tant (nut, sugar, pretzel powder amalgamation) to the beaten eggg whites and sugar. Give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.ntil you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10.
4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Lightly sprinkle every other round with pretzel or coarse salt.
5. Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don’t let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer. To fill: pipe or spoon about 1 big tablespoon of ganache in the center of one shell and top with another one.
Salted Pretzel Powder
About 2 handfuls of lightly salted pretzel bites, or thin sticks, or twists, shape doesn’t matter
1. In a food processor, grind the pretzels as fine as you can. Now this is the important part, you need to sift the powder because small bits of the golden shell do not break down to a fine powder.
White Chocolate – Mustard Ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon mustard powder
3/4 cup white chooclate
Yellow gel paste..optional
1. Boil the cream and the mustard powder in a saucepan and pour over the chocolate in a bowl. Let it sit for a minute and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Add 1 or two drops yellow gel paste color and stor until uniform and a yellow mustard color. Add more if needed. Let ganache sit in the refrigerator overnight and whip the next day until a thick cream is formed. You don’t have to whip it, you can just stir and pipe it on as is, a more truffle like consistency.
2. Pipe or spoon about 1 big tablespoon of ganache in the center of one plain shell and top with a salted shell.
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