Folks, I haven’t felt this excited since I heard that these brand spankin’ new episodes of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon would be hitting the screen after nearly a decade of muffled silence. I told Zainab I’ve been crazy busy lately doing Grown-Up World things–like maniacally hurling homemade spiky shells at my fellow street-sharers on a FIVE-hour commute–but really I’d rather just lock myself in my dust-infested closet with my laptop and gorge on unhealthy amounts of Sailor Moon.
And maybe try like the moron I am to eat the pixels right off these gorgeous macaron photos Zainab sent me.
Have you met the stunning Zainab from Blahnik Baker? She’s the grad student baker blogger who knows what’s up.
As a crazy Legilimency expert As a crazy someone who read Zainab’s post before posting it (duh), I know what she’s going to say about me and would like to add that I say the same about her, except times about a bazillion and forty. I admire her work, her dedication, and most of all her ability to excel as a fellow grad student while somehow managing to keep her marbles all where they belong: in her brilliant noggin of Nogginness.
So before I get carried away by my effusive praises (which are, by the way, super deserved), I’m turning over the floor to the lovely lady herself!
Hello everyone!! My name is Zainab and I am so excited to be here today. I am a HUGE fan of Wallflour Girl and she is one of my favorite blogs to read. I’m sure she is one of yours too because you are here 🙂 I blog over at Blahnik Baker where I love sharing easy but creative desserts.
I just recently met this wonderful lady through a guest post she did over on Nancy’s blog. That post resonated so much with me that I spent all morning checking out her blog, writing and recipes!! Only to discover she is a PhD student like me and a passionate, honest and intelligent lady!! On her guest post, she wrote about her “Wall of Smiles” and I’m in love with her idea. I struggle very much with finding the happy moments in my daily life being a graduate student (it’s really hard) but ever since I read her post, I’ve been trying hard every day to pause and notice the little things. And at the end of every night, I think of one thing, event or person that made me smile and write it down in a notebook (or make a mental note if I am really tired and in bed already. I really need to move that notepad to my nightstand).
Thank you Ala! You inspire me daily 🙂
Anyway enough small talk, on to the sweets now. Macarons!!! I love making macarons and have fallen madly in love with these French delicacies. I make them just for fun most times and I experiment a lot with flavors, texture and fillings.
Funny thing, when the husband walks in and I am making macarons, he can almost assume I had a long hard day at work and just need some peaceful baking time. And macarons do that for me. I know people think they are temperamental and hard to make, but to be honest they are actually very easy cookies to make.
These hazelnut macarons were an attempt to make macarons with hazelnut flour instead of the traditional almond flour. The macaron shells are pillow-y soft and are filled with a sweet chocolate ganache spiked with Chambord.
I hope you enjoy these macarons! And thank you for having me today. Let’s all take a page from Ala’s book and enjoy the small things and moments in life. (Including these cookies!!)
- 125g hazelnut flour
- 175g powdered sugar
- 105g egg whites
- 75g sugar
- pinch of salt
For Chocolate Chambord Ganache
- 1⁄2 cup bittersweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream (plus more if needed)
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons Chambord (raspberry liqueur)
For the Macarons:
- Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. I used a 11⁄2-inch round cookie cutter to draw circles on the parchment paper and flip over the paper (drawing side down). Prepare a pastry bag with a round tip. I used Wilton 2A.
- Using a food processor, pulse the powdered sugar and hazelnut flour into fine powder. Sift several times until there is less than 2 tablespoons of hazelnut bits left. Add these to the mixture.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and sugar. Whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the dry ingredients to the meringue and fold with a rubber spatula. Gently fold to deflate the meringue by pressing against the side of bowl and scooping from bottom until batter is smooth and shiny; about 20-25 folds. To check consistency, drop a spoonful of batter and it should have a peak that quickly relaxes back into the batter. Start checking the batter after 20 folds.
- Transfer batter into pastry bag and pipe the batter into the pre-traced circles on the baking sheet. Tap baking sheet hard on counter to release any air bubbles trapped in the batter. Let shells sit on counter for 20-30 minutes to dry, until a slight skin forms.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until shells hard, rotating cookie sheets halfway through baking time. You should be able to peel off the macaron from the parchment. Cool completely on cookie sheets before peeling from the parchment.
For the Ganache:
- Combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30-45 seconds and stir until chocolate melts. Remove from microwave and stir in butter until melted and chocolate is smooth. Whisk in Chambord with butter. Match same size cookies; pipe a little mound of buttercream onto flat side of one cookie and top with another. Store refrigerated for at least 24 hours before serving.
I’ve never made a macaron in my life–commitment issues are the least of my problems–but you can bet your holy eggbeaters that I’m going to make this recipe ASAP. Thank you, you wonderful lady!
As if we needed more proof that Zainab is Wonder Woman in civilian disguise, I’ve taken a leaf out of her book by recruiting quite a few lovely guest posters for July and some of August. With life spinning out of control faster than a Mario Kart hit by ten red shells in succession, I’m up to my nose in sleepless work and am incredibly grateful for this wonderful crew that will be helping me survive. Look forward to meeting them all over the next few weeks–you’re going to love them all!
Oh, and for the record: Zainab, you totally made my Wall of Smiles today. Just FYI. 😉
Loving what you read today? Connect with Zainab!