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Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Macarons: A Photo Essay

MeltedChocolatePB

Melted chocolate and peanut butter.

MeltedChocolatePB_chips

Mixed with potato chips.
MeltedChocolatePB_solid

Spread in a thin layer and chilled until set.

PunchingCircles
Circles are cut.

Shells

Macaron shells are made, some are sprinkled with potato chips.

PB_Glue

Peanut butter glue,

Shell_Circle

holds the chocolate circle.

PB_buttercream

Peanut butter ganache is piped.

PBCrunchMacaron

Et voilà !

Verdict: These were SO frickin’ fun to make. The flavor was good, but I was expecting a salty BLAST from the potato chips and unfortunately I felt like I couldn’t taste them at all. Next time I will use a saltier chip, like a Ruffle instead of the fancy kettle chips I used, and I’ll use a milk chocolate instead of a dark chocolate for the punched circles. Dark chocolate is good, but it totally overpowered everything else.

Next flavor will be something with rhubarb, since it’s Spring and rhubarb is in season. What else? Any other spring flavors you guys can think of that I should try?

Back on the Horse

Holy Cow, I’ve been busy lately! What have I been up to? I recently came across a learning community called Skillshare and I got sucked in completely.

Have you heard of SkillShare? This is their tagline:

“Skillshare is a global community centered around creativity, collaboration and learning by doing.”

I am officially in love. You can find an amazing variety of classes and they are really affordable, like anywhere from 15 to 25 bucks!

I’ve taken classes on Making Macarons, Drawing Maps, Designing My Dream Garden, and a Digital Illustration class just to name a few. These classes have been a large part of the reason I’ve been so busy.

The Digital Illustration class was taught by the very talented Brad Woodward. I loved seeing the process of the other artists and especially Brad’s…You can learn so much by watching someone else work. I picked up some fantastic tips that I wouldn’t have known otherwise, and…most importantly…I think this was the first time I have illustrated anything for about a year, maybe more. I just hadn’t felt any desire or inspiration, which was really kind of sad. It made me remember why I liked doing this in the first place, and that was more than worth the price of the class. Like a million times more.

The assignment was to illustrate the words “Quiet” or “Loud.” This is the concept I came up with:

I got great feedback, which made the finished illustration all the more better. The next step was to lay down some color:

And then I added pattern and texture:

It was such a fun little project that was purely for my own enjoyment. Brad was gracious enough to showcase some of his student’s final projects on his blog, (mine included.)  You can see some of the other fantastic illustrations the other students came up with. People never cease to amaze me with their ideas and creativity.

I’ve got a few more classes on my watch list, (hello pattern making) but I might take a break for a while. That little hit of fun learning was just what I needed, I think.

Speaking of fun learning…next time I want to tell you all about my awesomely fabulous Birthday weekend in Portland attending The Blogcademy. My head was exploded and I’m having a hard time putting back together IT WAS THAT GOOD.

Citrus Curds! Macarons!

lemoncurd_macarons

A side effect of all my macaron making is that I end up with a bunch of egg yolks.  I’ve been freezing them because I hate to waste perfectly good food and after a while I end up with a giant bag of yolks. What do you do with egg yolks? Make lemon curd!  I decided to experiment a little tried a variety of citrus fruits like key lime, grapefruit and blood orange. They all worked beautifully, with the blood orange being my favorite. I had a batch of (successful!) macaron shells just waiting to be filled with something so this seemed like a perfect fit.

I’ve made lemon curd before, from an Ina Garten recipe and while the flavor was delicious, I wasn’t too keen on the texture. It seemed like it was too loose, (for macarons at least) and her recipe calls for a whole egg, which defeats the purpose of the whole yolk-using thing I had going. I finally found a yolk only recipe from CHOW which I used and it worked great.

citrus_curds

Aside from experimenting with the different citrus juices, I also added a little more butter to some of them to make a thicker spread for toast, which was crazy delicious. I substituted honey for the sugar with the grapefruit curd and…let’s just say that I won’t be doing that again. Honey can be a very strong flavor and it was too overpowering in this application, for my taste at least.

I was in the store the other day and saw some beautiful pomelos, which look like giant grapefruits and immediately wondered what they would taste like in a curd. I’ve got some more egg yolks in the freezer…so…guess what I’ll be doing this weekend?