Strawberry Macarons

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Originally these little guys were going to be strawberry lemonade macarons because the weather in Portland has been rainy and cloudy the last few days and I felt the need for some summer in my life.

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I couldn’t get the lemon balance right in the buttercream though, so these became strawberry macarons and I’m pretty sure the world is a better place for it.

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The shells are yellow because I had thought I’d be able to get the lemon flavour to work out, but you can totally leave them plain or use a pink/red to match the strawberry filling.

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I also put some pink sugar crystals on top because why not? It makes them look totally adorable.

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I used fresh strawberries and crushed them into a puree to make the buttercream and it was so good. If you can use fresh strawberries you should, it gives the buttercream so much more flavour.

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My kitchen ended up looking like I’d had a serious food fight with someone, but these macarons were so worth it.

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Strawberry Macarons: 

Ingredients:

Shells: 

  • 275g almond meal
  • 250g powdered sugar
  • 210g egg whites
  • 210g sugar
  • Gel/Powder food coloring (optional)
  • Sugar crystals (optional)

Buttercream: 

  • 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Shells: 

  1. Combine almond flour and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor and blend thoroughly. Sift to remove any lumps.
  2. In a large, clean, dry mixing bowl, beat your egg whites until foamy and then slowly add sugar, beating on medium speed. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase speed to medium high and beat until a thick glossy meringue forms. Add food colouring and beat briefly to combine (your mixture should form stiff peaks).
  3. With a large, flat rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of almond flour/confectioners’ sugar mixture into egg whites until combined. Repeat until all of the almond mixture has been added. Fold to combine until you see no streaks of almond flour in the batter.
  4. Pipe cookies onto parchment or silicone lined baking sheets (if adding sugar crystals, do it now), and allow to sit 10-15 minutes before baking.
  5. While sitting, preheat oven to 300°F with a rack placed in the lower third of your oven. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 15-17 minutes (I had to do 17 minutes). Allow cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet.
  6. Once cool, pair up shells and fill with buttercream. Sandwich together.

Buttercream: 

  1. Puree the strawberries and set aside.
  2. In a mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the pureed strawberries and powdered sugar and beat to combine. Mix in the heavy whipping cream.
  3. Once you have it at a consistency you like, pipe onto one half of each macaron pair.

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Mother’s Day Brunch

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and I have 5 killer places you’ll want to consider taking mum to for brunch.

My mum will be on a plane to England with my sister on Mother’s Day, but if she was here I’d definitely be taking her to one of these spots.

Brunch is popular in Portland no matter the occasion so if you’re interested in going to one of these places on May 10th, click on the handy link on each restaurant name to make your reservation through OpenTable.

{These 5 restaurant are listed alphabetically, not in any particular order. This post is part of my collaboration with OpenTable}


1. Bluehour

Bluehour is featuring a special Mother’s Day brunch featuring some of their classic brunch favourites and some new dishes!

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2. BRIX Tavern

BRIX is celebrating Mother’s Day with a delicious brunch and bottomless mimosas for $9. YUM!

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3. Chart House

Chart House has some of the best views in Portland. Their brunch menu for Mother’s Day will feature some of their favourites. Good food and killer views sounds good to me!

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4. The Heathman

The Heathman will be offering local specialties, including omelets to order, specialty salads, brunch entrées and more. They have a fixed price menu, with brunch for adults costing $55 and children 12 and under costing $20.

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5. McCormick & Schmick’s Harborside

Another restaurant with good views, this time of the marina, McCormick & Schmick’s harborside location is offering a selection of brunch items including build-your-own omelets and build-your-own Bloody Mary’s.

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Hazelnut Macarons with Blood Orange Ganache

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Game. Over.

Seriously.

If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life, it might be these. Hazelnut, dark chocolate and blood orange make for quite the stellar combination.

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It’s no secret that I like to make macarons. Even with the many struggles I’ve encountered with them, they are one of my favourite treats to make. And eat.

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The flavour combinations for these little guys are endless. I talked to my physical therapist last week about wanting to make something with hazelnuts and after thinking it over for a couple of days, I decided on a hazelnut/chocolate/orange combination.

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Normally macarons are made with almond flour. I decided to switch it up for these and made them with hazelnut flour instead. Hazelnut flour is a little denser than almond flour and I couldn’t get it ground up quite as fine as I would have liked, so the shells on these guys aren’t as smooth but they taste just as good, if not better.

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The best part of these, though, might be the ganache.

It’s dip your finger in the bowl and lick it off kind of good. I did that. No shame. In fact, I encourage it.

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It is absolutely the perfect combination of dark, bittersweet chocolate and beautiful blood oranges.

I mean, look how pretty these guys are!

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Because of how much success I had with Ladurée’s recipe with my chocolate strawberry macarons, I used it again for these, switching the almond flour to hazelnut flour.

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I’m going to have to catch a flight to Paris to try a real Ladurée macaron.

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Hazelnut Macarons with Blood Orange Ganache: 

Ingredients:

Shells: 

  • 275g hazelnut flour
  • 250g powdered sugar
  • 210g (6-7) egg whites
  • 210g sugar

Blood Orange Ganache: 

  • 1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Zest of 1 blood orange
  • Juice of 1/2 blood orange
  • 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

Directions:

Shells: 

  1. Combine hazelnut flour and powdered sugar in a food processor and blend thoroughly. Sift to remove any lumps.
  2. In a large, clean, dry mixing bowl, beat your egg whites until foamy and then slowly add sugar, beating on medium speed. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase speed to medium high and beat until a thick glossy meringue forms.
  3. With a large, flat rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of hazelnut flour/powdered sugar mixture into egg whites until combined. Repeat until all of the hazelnut mixture has been added. Fold to combine until you see no streaks of hazelnut flour in the batter.
  4. Pipe cookies onto parchment or silicone lined baking sheets and allow to sit 10-15 minutes before baking.
  5. While sitting, preheat oven to 300°F with a rack placed in the lower third of your oven. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 15-17 minutes (I had to do 17 minutes). Allow cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet.
  6. Once cool, pair up shells and fill with ganache. Sandwich together.

Blood Orange Ganache: 

  1. Combine heavy whipping cream, zest and juice in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  2. Once simmering, remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips. Stir to form an emulsion and once the chocolate has melted, add the butter. Mix again until the butter has melted and set aside until thick enough to pipe onto shells. Fill piping bag with ganache and pipe onto one half of each shell.

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