French Macarons with Strawberry Jam Buttercream – A Seemingly Dangerous Experiment

It’s been so long since I created a recipe specifically for this blog.

Hell, this isn’t really even my own recipe, so does it count? Haaa.

For me, in the battle of cooking vs. baking, I’ve always loved to cook because there is more flexibility in the process. Measure by eye, get creative with the spices, add a little more dry ingredient to offset higher moisture, et al.

Baking? That is SCIENCE.

While there are some baked recipes I’ve made by heart for years now where I can say, “Oh, a few shakes of salt is tantamount to 1/4 teaspoon. I’m good!”, there are some others recipes where the measurements need to be precise. That’s part of the reason I’m not much of a baker, and a huge reason why I avoided baking something I’ve wanted to try for a very long time: French macarons.

I took the task to heart after seeing Mike Bakes NYC make it seem more approachable that other recipes I had come across. He explains the process in his blog in more layman’s terms, and I was, in turn, able to approach making it with less apprehension. And you KNOW I measured with a food scale to a T. I even out-Type A-ed myself here. HA!

Through trial and error, I saw how no one should expect to make that quintessential batch of French macarons on their first try. And if you have…what is your secret? PLEASE SHARE.

1.) When folding the mixture, I feared OVERfolding it and deflating it. I soon came to learn, after seeing my ratchet first batch of macarons, that I UNDERfolded – even though I truly thought I had already OVERfolded – due to utter paranoia. HA!

2.) As I made subsequent batches, the batter got worked in the pastry bag; after that, I started to yield the more quintessential-looking macarons, albeit not perfectly round. Some where oval, some where lop-sided circles, and some even got those pretty little feet on them after they baked!

3.) Some macarons had the dreaded “hollow tops”, while others didn’t. Again, I’m sure that had to do with the folding and baking process. As most ovens have their “hot spots”, there is that risk of over-baking. I baked them to the higher time – closer to 15 minutes than 13 – and I think I’ll try to cook them on the lower end next time to see the result.

French Macarons – They don’t always come out perfect on your first time attempting to bake them! No shame! Practice makes perfect.

I am glad I did this just to prove to myself, “YEAH! Allison, girl, you can make these if ya really wanna!” When all is said and done, it’s cheaper to buy the ingredients to make French macarons at home than it is to buy some at a store; thanks to getting my almond flour from a bulk bin at Whole Foods, I paid less than $10 for all of my ingredients which yielded about 3 dozen small macarons. Better than paying $10 for four macarons at most stores, if you’re LUCKY.

I used Mike Bakes NYC’s recipe for Red Velvet Macarons as a basis, obviously eliminating the cocoa and red food gel while creating my own simple strawberry buttercream to fill them with. Click on the link in the recipe section to follow along for his recipe, then swing back here for my simple Strawberry Buttercream recipe!

HAVE FAITH! Y’all can do this! And if you screw them all up, at least you’ll have some delicious misshapen macarons. It’s really win-win.

French Macarons with Strawberry Buttercream

French Macarons with Strawberry Buttercream

Macarons: Follow the link to the Mike Bakes NYC recipe!

Strawberry Jam Buttercream:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam

When macarons are completed per the linked recipe, whip all buttercream ingredients together with a hand blender until smooth. Pipe or spoon buttercream onto half of your macarons and sandwich them together with remaining macarons. Place in refrigerator for 24 hours to allow macarons to “mature” before consuming. Or eat them right away. You do you!

Winter 2019 – Yoga By Candace Recipe Wrap-Up!

It’s been a minute, I know! (I’m a broken record…) My recipe development has diverged to other outlets, but I’m still gettin’ my cook on! Besides that, I’m still settling into a new office in Midtown East that I moved to in November, settling into life on the Upper West Side (again!), and fawning over the ability to be able to walk to a Trader Joe’s location that isn’t a mob scene that makes me want to curl up into a fetal position and cry. HA! (93rd &Columbus, thank goodness for this TJ’s! Now if only they carried Cauliflower Gnocchi on the reg…)

So! With that being said, I thought I’d do a round-up of some of the Yoga By Candace recipes I’ve developed over the past few months. I’ve created a lot of deliciousness – and have enjoying utilizing chicken, as you might notice – but these recipes are all excellent, especially if you’re in a meal preppin’ mood. Nothing like saving some proteins and vegetables, or some hearty soup, ready to go at a moment’s notice!


Yogurt-Marinated Sheet Pan Chicken with Chickpeas, Fennel, & Onions

Pear, Persimmon, & Pepita Baked Oatmeal

Happiest February to you all! Be sure to keep following my most up – to – date foodie adventures at my Instagram account @seeksatiation!

Peeeeeace. ✌️✌️✌️✌️

Seek Satiation – 2018 Recap!

Happy New Year, y’all!

Things have been busy for Seek Satiation in 2018, despite the relative quietness over on this site.

Lemme break it DOWN.

Seek Satiation Flip Sigi
Enjoying a 3-person helping of food at Flip Sigi all by myself.

1.) I’ll say this much: This Seek Satiation website is getting a bit of a revamp! I’m working with a talented group of people – I may be biased, haha – towards a sleeker version, as this current version, well, was never the intended final version. Ha! Be on the lookout for that sooner than later!

2.) I’ll admit: My recipe development for this site has gone down a tad. Could you tell? Haaa. Conversely, I’ve been making more recipes for other sites, such as Yoga By Candace. Check out my Pear, Persimmon, & Pepita Baked Oatmeal HERE. I’ll continue to do fewer recipes here while I create for other sites, and I am, frankly, very content in doing that! I know I’ve said this before – broken record, right here – but when I first started this site, I wanted to post at least three recipes a week like other food bloggers, but a full-time job and limited natural light really put the kibosh on that. I’ve learned that I am happy making fewer recipes that are excellent quality than pumping out mediocre ones to try and keep up with the imaginary blogger race in my head. More recipes will be coming in 2019, but only when I know they are good enough to share.

STATS! I’m actually fairly impressed: Despite only posting 18 times in 2018 vs. 44 in 2017, my views and visitors were still higher than 2016 when I posted 65 times! In 2018, I gathered 12,056 unique visitors and 16,521 views. In 2017, for comparison, I had 17,410 unique visitors and 22,392 views. My dear single-serve shakshuka recipe got 8,011 views. (Skip down to #5, which definitely gave the ol’ gal a boost.) I guess that goes to show that I have many recipes that still drive a fair amount of traffic to my site…and I might have pulled in numbers equal or higher to 2017 if I had posted even more! *shrug* I’m rather pleased with my 2018 stats, when all is said and done.

3.) Instagram has really been in the driver’s seat this year, something I am not upset about, either. Everything evolves, and despite the damn algorithm, my Instagram feed for Seek Satiation is where I get the most engagement! I look forward to continuing to produce quality and thoughtful content for that feed. I’ve certainly made a lot of connections and friends via Instagram, and for that I am thankful!

4.) I’ve made my first sponsored posts this year! Cide Road Switchel and I ended up falling in love with each other, and I could not be happier to promote a small brand of delicious switchel that I truly enjoy. Check out one of my Instagram posts HERE! True Story: I’ve been offered sponsorships with larger nationally-known brands for a few hundred bucks a pop. I’ve turned them down. Most people would think I’m nuts, but why would I promote a well-known beer company on my website or social media if I litearlly can not drink beer due to my brewer’s yeast allergy? YAHHHH NOOOO.

5.) I finally had a recipe appear in a Buzzfeed article! Good ol’ single-serve shakshuka, is there anything you CAN’T do?

My cash cow. HA!

I’m feeling good about Seek Satiation in 2019. Honestly, the pressure is off. Now that I’ve embraced a “I’ll do what makes me happy!” attitude about it, it’s made running it much more enjoyable. I’m excited to see what I’ll end up eating, crafting, and photographing as we move along!

Peace!

– Allison

Apple Grape Crisp

Apple Grape Crisp: A new spin on an old classic.

A few years back, when making some pork chops, I came across a recipe on Google – goodness knows I can’t remember where it was from! – that had roasted red grapes along with the pork chops. Relatively high grape prices be damned, I got myself a bunch. I followed said recipe. I took a few bites and was impressed by the flavor profile! A roasted grape has very similar notes to a roasted or cooked apple.

A few weeks back, I wanted to make an apple pie – ’tis the season for Millennial women to do something with apples and / or pumpkins – but was too lazy to go out and get more apples. I thought adding some red grapes would be a great addition! Well…we didn’t have grapes in the fridge either – my mistake – so I made Adam go out and buy me some.

I win.

Though great in pie form, the mixture was a little too liquidy; I added cornstarch and cooked the mixture to allow it to thicken before adding to a pre-baked pie crust. Delicious, but still a wee bit too mushy at the bottom.

In comes the magical crisp! It gels a little thicker, and the crispy buttery top is to die for!

This dessert might be my new ace – in – the – hole.

FYI: Crisps are NOT easy to photograph or style, so I’m going “rustic”. HA!

Apple Grape Crisp

Ingredients:

Apple Grape Mix:
– 4 baking apples, peeled and sliced (I prefer Macintosh)
– 1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Crisp Topping:
– 1 cup rolled oats
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 2 teaspoons cinnamon
– 4 tablespoons butter

Before We Get Started…

– My favorite trick, which I got from my father, is freezing butter and then shredded it with a box grater. This gives you an even amount of butter to spread throughout your crisp topping mixture. See here for an example!

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400°F.

2.) Slice apples, halve grapes, and add to a large bowl. Add sugar and cinnamon and toss to combine evenly.

3.) In another bowl, combine oats, sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a fork or pastry cutter until butter is in fine even pieces; see Before We Get Started… for a tip on how to use grated frozen butter!

4.) Lightly grease a baking dish; I used a 12″ diameter ceramic dish. Add fruit filling. Cover evenly with crisp topping. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and try not to eat it all at once!

No-Churn Coffee Hazelnut Ice Cream

Coffee and I have a very interesting relationship. Its smell is intoxicating. Its flavor is bold. Its caffeine often gives me heart palpitations. HA!

My parents are the type of people that drink caffeinated coffee to wind down every evening after 8 p.m. I did not inherit those genes from them.

While I’m not one for a cup of black coffee in the morning and an iced coffee is not a beverage usually attached to my right hand all summer long – though I do crave one every now and then – I appreciate coffee as an ingredient. I loveloveLOVE coffee-flavored anything. This throws back to my childhood, when my Nana Peg would make chocolate sauce with a healthy splash of coffee in it for flavor; of course, the sauce was served over coffee ice cream.

Because giving chocolate and caffeine to a five year old is a GREAT idea! Haaaa.

I wanted to pay homage to one of my many awesome grandmothers and put my own spin on this dessert! While I currently do have access to an ice cream maker at my current apartment – oooh la la – I wanted to make an recipe that’s more accessible for the majority of people that surely do not have one. Plus, no-churn recipes are fun to make, in my humble lil’ opinion!

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Lucky Jack® Coffee Slow Brew Coffee Concentrate truly helped me achieve the flavors I was looking for! I honestly was having childhood nostalgia when that flavor hit my tongue! I also mixed it up in in a few ways: the hazelnuts add a nice texture, but adding in a few cacao nibs adds a greater depth of flavor. I think it tastes great either way, but the nibs are totally optional!

Plus, I know someone else that enjoyed using that cold brew concentrate as intended: in many glasses of iced lattes. 😆

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NOTE: Thanks to Lucky Jack® for providing me with various coffee treats for recipe testing purposes, as well as some occasionally-needed extra caffeine to keep me going as I recipe tested.

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No-Churn Coffee Hazelnut Ice Cream
(Makes ~3 cups)

Ingredients:
– 1 14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk, chilled
– 3 tablespoons Lucky Jack® Coffee Slow Brew Coffee Concentrate (or cold brew concentrate of choice)
– 1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped, sieved, and chilled
– 1 tablespoon cacao nibs, finely chopped (optional)
– 1 & 1/2 cups cups heavy whipping cream

Before We Get Started…

– Place a large bowl – preferably metal – in the fridge for 10 minutes before whipping your cream in it!

– Can the nuts be omitted? OF COURSE! I love the texture of them in the ice cream, but I also understand allergies and aversions. Haaa. 😉

Directions:

1.) In a large bowl, mix together sweetened condensed milk and coffee concentrate. Set aside.

2.) Chop hazelnuts and shake them in a fine sieve to make sure any excess “dust” left over from chopping remains; these finer particles may contribute to some grittiness in your ice cream! Place hazelnuts in a small bowl and place in fridge to chill.

3.) In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks.

4.) Gently fold whipped cream into coffee condensed milk mixture. When almost completely combined – a few streaks of darker brown color may remain – gently sprinkle top of ice cream mixture with the hazelnuts (and optional cacao nibs), and fold in. The color of the mixture should be a uniform lighter brown when completed.

5.) Pour ice cream into a container – a metal bread pan is perfect! – and cover with plastic wrap. Place in freezer and chill for 24 hours.