Cookies and Bars

Tropical Punch & Blue Raspberry Lemonade Macarons

by Shawnda on January 31, 2012

in Cat in The Hat,Cookies and Bars

Tropical Punch & Blue Raspberry Lemonade Macarons

When I was planning our daughter’s Cat in the Hat birthday party, I wanted to do a dessert table in red and blue. As you already know, there aren’t many naturally-colored foods that come in blue. There are blueberries. And then there are… no, that’s pretty much it. Blueberries.

I also wanted to make macarons (actually, I wanted to buy them but my party budget had other ideas). After doing a little research, it seemed best to opt for powdered food coloring over liquid for such a vibrant colored cookie, so as not to risk disrupting the temperamental high maintenance delicate moisture balance in the macaron shells.

So I put Kool Aid into delicate, fancy French cookie batter. Because powdered food coloring was nearly $10/bottle.

Tropical Punch & Blue Raspberry Lemonade Macarons

It’s a little bit of sacrilege topped with a whole load of blasphemy. It’s kind of like… putting Kool Aid in macarons :P

I’m pretty sure I haven’t had a glass of Kool Aid in at least 15 years. At least. But it has powdered food coloring so it took care of both flavoring and coloring the macaron shells a pretty red and blue (I did add a pea-sized drop of Americolor Red Red to the Tropical Punch and the tiniest drop of Americolor Yellow to the Blue Raspberry Lemonade to get more of an aqua color than light blue). It’s a very, very odd experience to open your oven and get hit with the smell of hot tropical punch but the cooled cookies are filled with a lemony buttercream – fun, fruity, and matched the party’s color scheme perfectly.

And I mean exactly perfectly – I joked on Twitter that I must have been a paint color matching machine in a previous life because my macarons matched the blue Jelly Belly candies perfectly.

Tropical Punch & Blue Raspberry Lemonade Macarons

I wished that talent carried over into decorating… our old house had 5 different shades of yellow/tan downstairs. And only two of those were supposed to be different.

Tropical Punch Macarons

Powdered drink mix yields a fun, fruity, vibrant-colored macaron.

Ingredients

  • 110 grams almond flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 200 grams confectioners sugar
  • 100 grams egg whites (from 3 eggs, separated 24 hours in advance or microwaved for 8-10 seconds)
  • 50 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 envelope Kool Aid
  • 1-2 drops food coloring, optional
  • 1/2 cup buttercream frosting

Instructions

  1. Pulse the almond flour and confectioner's sugar several times in your food processor until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Place your aged egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk until foamy.
  3. Add the sugar and turn the mixer to high, whisking until you have a glossy meringue.
  4. Add the Kool Aid and food coloring, if using, to the egg whites and let the mixer run a few circles through the batter to distribute.
  5. Fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites gently, briskly at first to break up the meringue a bit, until thoroughly mixed. The batter will be a little lumpy but will relax.
  6. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe rounds of 1.5 inches along two parchment-lined baking sheets.
  7. Let sit one hour at room temperature.
  8. Heat oven to 300. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely and remove from the pan.
  9. Not more than 24 hours before serving, pipe 1-2 tsp of frosting onto one cookie and top with the other, gently pressing down.
  10. Store tightly covered and serve the next day.

Notes

Yields: 24 filled cookies

Adapted from Tartelette's "Demystifying Macarons" master recipe

Estimated time: 2 hours

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Homemade Fortune Cookies

These fortune cookies were one of three kinds of cookies that I made for a cookie exchange last week. But instead of a small slip of paper containing a fortune and lottery numbers, we stuffed them with silly quotes from some of my favorite Christmas movies – an idea that I totally swiped from Amy (she made red and green ones!). Things like, You’ll shoot your eye out! and Of all the Charlie Browns in this world, you’re the Charlie Browniest.

Christmas Fortune Cookies

And it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without a quote from Eddie: Merry Christmas! ****ter was full! :)

Or Clark: Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?

Favorite. Christmas. Movie. Ever.

Christmas Fortune Cookies

They ended up being a ton of fun to put together. But it didn’t start out that way. It was slow. Tedious. Painful. And I was kicking myself for choosing homemade fortune cookies over sugar cookies. The first dozen took me 45 minutes. At least. And cost me most of my fingerprints.

You can only do, at most, 4 cookies at a time because you have to handle the cookies while they’re still piping hot (goodbye fingerprints) – they begin to harden really quickly as they cool. And you can’t shape hard cookies. The first two pans had 1 cookie each. Then I moved up to 2.

But then I hit a groove. The second dozen? Took me 15 minutes. I found myself out of batter and totally addicted, ready to do more! I was thinking of upcoming holidays (New Year’s Eve!) and parties (New Year’s Eve!) and showers (please, someone, have a baby!) where custom fortune cookies would be a hit :)

The texture was perfect – the cookies are crunchy and sweet. I used a little more vanilla than the original recipe called for and added almond extract. Because everything tastes better with a little almond extract. Some of the cookies got a dip into some vanilla candy melts and a sprinkling of red, white, and green sprinkles.

The recipe below is a quadruple batch (I needed 2 dozen cookies for the cookie exchange) and then I whipped up another single batch so we’d have a few on hand at home. There’s no way they make it through the weekend.

Fortune Cookies

Make your own fortune cookies for Christmas - or any other holiday - complete with custom fortunes!

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-2 tsp water
  • Baking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Whisk egg whites and extracts together until light and foamy.
  3. Whisk in flour and sugar and mix thoroughly.
  4. The batter should be like a thin pancake batter - when you raise the whisk from the bowl, the batter should disappear as soon as it hits the surface. I had to add 2 tsp water to get it thin enough.
  5. Lightly mist the backside of a baking sheet with baking spray.
  6. Drop a heaping spoonful of batter onto the baking sheet and spread it around evenly into a 4-inch circle (A template made from a sour cream lid and an offset spatula made this job easy).
  7. How to Make Homemade Fortune Cookies How to Make Homemade Fortune Cookies
  8. Repeat to form 4 rounds of batter.
  9. How to Make Homemade Fortune Cookies
  10. Bake 4-6 minutes, just until the edge of the cookie browns 1/4-inch around.
  11. Remove from the oven and work quickly.
  12. Using a spatula, transfer one round to your cutting board, placing it top-side down.
  13. Place the fortune into the center, and fold the cookie in half.
  14. How to Make Homemade Fortune Cookies
  15. Pick the cookie up and place the folded edge onto the rim of a mug and gently pull the corners down.
  16. How to Make Homemade Fortune Cookies
  17. Put the formed fortune cookie into the well of a cupcake pan - this will hold the shape until the cookie cools and hardens completely.
  18. Repeat with each cookie and batter until finished.
  19. Cookies should be stored in airtight container after cooling completely.

Notes

Yields: ~24 cookies

Slightly adapted from AllRecipes

Estimated time: 1 hour

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Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Did you participate in any cookie exchanges this year? These were one of my contributions to my friend/Realtor/LeapPad Explorer Tablet-finding-ninja Brandi’s cookie exchange this weekend.

I love the format of Brandi’s cookie exchange: 24 people show up with 6-dozen cookies, packaged in groups of 3. Everyone comes home with 24 different packages of cookies – a huge sampler perfect for holiday grazing. And man, was there a ton of good stuff this year – chocolate + mint/peppermint was a popular combination!

A twist on an old favorite, The Emergency Cookies, these rich chocolate chunk cookies are spiked with cool Andes baking chips. I actually made these as Peppermint Chocolate Chunk Cookies last year for the exchange. I might be getting predictable :)

Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I personally think that the cookies are better the next day, a cold slab of minty chocolate. Jason likes them melty, after a 5-second trip through the microwave. But we both think they’re perfectly acceptable as breakfast.

Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Rich, fudgey chocolate chunk cookies spiked with cool Andes mint chunks.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped and divided in half
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Half a 10 oz bag of Andes baking chunks or 1 box Andes mints (4.7 oz), unwrapped and chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment or silpat.
  2. Heat half (8 oz) of the chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 25-second increments, stirring in between, until just melted. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until the sugar has completely dissolved (4-5 minutes). Reduce speed to low and add the melted (and now, mostly cooled) chocolate. Mix until uniform. Add the flour mixture until just combined. Mix in the Andes chips (I reserved a tablespoon of the mints to sprinkle over the cookies when they came out of the oven) and remaining chocolate.
  4. Let dough sit 10 minutes - this will allow the chocolate to cool and prevent the cookies from spreading.
  5. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. The dough should be very stiff and will hold the scooped round. If not, let it sit for a while or stick it in the fridge for 10 minutes. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet still soft in centers, 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Cool on sheets 10 minutes and then transfer to racks to cool completely.
  7. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.

Notes

Yields: 24 cookies

Adapted from The Emergency Cookies

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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