Earl gray macarons

My boyfriend turned 24 on October 7th! For his birthday celebration I baked an earl gray cake accompanied by earl gray macarons. It was definitely a wild card but it turned out wonderful and everybody loved it!
Macarons can be tricky to get just-right, and it will take practice, but I find that this recipe is the absolute best! Although I do not recommend baking macarons without a kitchen scale since just 10g more will make a huge difference.
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EARL GRAY MACARONS
120g egg whites, divided
35g sugar
150g finely ground almonds or almond meal
150g powdered sugar
150g sugar for the syrup
50g water for the syrup
4 T  ground up Earl gray tea leaves

Set the oven to 160 degrees C (320 degrees F)     If you are using whole almonds, blanch them and let them de-hydrate,  Then ground them finely in a mixer into a nut meal. Sift the ground almonds so no big pieces remains, Weigh out 150 grams on a kitchen scale (not neccessary if using already ground up almond meal) Mix together almond flour and sifted powder sugar. Whip 60 grams of egg whites to soft peaks, add 35 grams of sugar while whipping. If you are using a standing mixer you can do this step while making the sugar syrup.

Mix sugar and water for the sugar syrup in a small pan. On high heat, boil until temperature reaches 118 C on a candy thermometer (230 F) While whipping the egg whites on low speed, add the sugar syrup in a thin stream.
Whip the meringue on medium/high speed until it’s completely cool and the meringue is shiny. It takes about 10  minutes.

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1. Mix the remaining 60 grams of egg whites with the almond and sugar mixture. Add color if desired. (I used a tiny bit of blue)

2. Fold the meringue into the almond mixture and mix carefully with a spatula

3. Add the earl gray loose tea leaves.

4. Gently combine the ingredients until ingredients are mixed together. Be careful not to over mix the batter.

Fill a piping bag with a round tip and pipe small macarons on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Peaks in the batter should disappear after a while. If they don’t, tap the baking sheet to the table a couple of times. Bake for about 10-15 minutes (the baking time varies depending on the oven)  Let the macaroons cool completely and fill them with you favorite filling.   Mine are filled with the signature Creamy vanilla buttercream

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Creamy vanilla buttercream
2 sticks butter, tempered
1 T whippig cream, tempered
3 cups powdered sugar
1 vanilla bean
pinch of salt

To make the butter cream: cream the butter until creamy together with the scrapings of the vanilla bean and a pinch of salt.  Slowly add the powdered sugar. When it becomes too stiff, add the cream, and beat the frosting into a creamy soft deliciousness.

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October 5

Good morning everyone! How are you all?  It is Saturday and I love it, I could sleep as long as waned this morning, No, who am I kidding? My dog woke me up at 8 AM  by jumping on up my stomach, thank you Junior! But I am still very relaxed and I have just finished my English homework, uhh, I hate answering 1-6: A-C questions that are all basically the same questions. Well, at least I have done it now.  Today will be a slow day on the coach, watching my boyfriend play GTA online and maybe do some reading for school. Tomorrow we will go to some open houses in search for our dream apartment and, celebrate Henriks 24th birthday! His birthday is originally on Monday, but since he works and I end at 5 PM, I won’t  really feel like cooking and baking when I come home , so I will do it today and tomorrow instead. And yes; there will be a cake!    Since I will bake it this afternoon, I will share that recipe with you the following week,  *hopefully*, so Instead, I will share the cake I had on my 18th birthday. A salted burned caramel vanilla bean meringue cake.  The cake layers are chewy and delicious!

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SALTED BURNED CARAMEL CAKE
Burned Caramel Sauce:
1 cup heavy cream (the fatter the better!)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 T sea salt
75g salted butter

Sponge:
4 large egg yolks, tempered
2 T  heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2  cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp  salt
2 large egg whites at room temperature 30 minutes
1/2 cup salted burned caramel sauce   +   5 T extra flour

Creamy vanilla frosting – with a twist:
2 sticks salted butter, tempered
1 T whippig cream, tempered
3 cups powdered sugar
1 vanilla bean
pinch of salt

METHOD
Start off by making the caramel sauce* by tipping the sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and without stirring, until it liquifies. In the meantime in another saucepan, bring the havy cream to a boil. When the sugar is liquified,   watch it like a hawk while it’s turning from clear until  a dark amber color (make sure it doesn’t smoke!)  and add the boiling cream while stirring constantly. I recommend wearing think clothing and gloves! Let simmer for 5-10 minutes until quite thick or reached a temperature of 120C/248F. Add the butter and salt.    Let it cool slightly and put the sauce in a jar.  The sauce can be stored for up to 1 1/2 week in a sealed jar.

Set the oven to 170C/340F
To make the sponge, separate the yolks from the egg whites(only two!) and put the yolks in a large bowl with half of the sugar, do the same with the egg whites.
Beat the yolks with the sugar and add cream until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla, salt and flour and set aside.   Beat the egg whites until a meringue forms. Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture and divide it into three bowls.  Adding almost 2/3 of the caramel sauce + 3T of flour into the first bowl and the rest, except a teaspoon, of the sauce + 2T flour into the second one and only one teaspoon of caramel sauce in the third one.
Bake the layers separately, for 10-13 minutes.    Let cool completely.

To make the butter cream: cream the butter until creamy together with the scrapings of the vanilla bean and a pinch of salt.  Slowly add the powdered sugar. When it becomes too stiff, add the cream, and beat the frosting into a creamy soft deliciousness.

To assable the cake, Start with the darkest sponge and line it with buttercream, fill the circle with caramel sauce.
For the second layer, take the medium sponge and layer it with buttercream mixed with 1T caramel sauce.
Coat the cake with buttercream.

notes
*The caramel sauce is a mixture of a dry and wet caramel which can be a bit tricky to get right, luckily, it’s made out of cheap ingredients so if you feel like you’re not really comfortable, pile up on a double batch or, just make a wet caramel by not burning the sugar before. Also, you can make the sauce a couple of days before to decrease the stress.

SONY DSCThe cake, sliced. I had four layers instead of three since my pan was a bit small.

BURNT SUGAR DECORATIONS
1 cup sugar

METHOD
Melt the sugar in a saucepan, and watch it become a dark amber color.  On a non-stick baking sheet, pour thin stripes of caramel. Let cool slightly but NOT harden. I used a chop stick, rolling  the sugar onto a chopstick forming a spiral.   For the bird’s nest, Use a fork and wiggle it back and forth.

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I wish you a nice weekend.
Love,
Cecilia