It’s been a while

Hello. You probably have given up on this blog by now… Fair enough. I haven’t posted in a while as life has been a bit crazy. I have moved country in the past few months and am trying to find my feet back in my homeland of Holland.

I am continuing my journey for the perfect macaron and I will blog about this later.

The Bake Off is back, so yay! I will also jot down my thoughts on that in the next few weeks.

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The Great British Bake Off – week 8

Five bakers left, does this mean we only have three episodes to go?

I am multi-tasking on this post: watching the Bake Off, whilst blogging and getting some wedding photos ready to go on Facebook… So, crisp bakes. Yum! I’m liking the sound of Danny’s Moroccan crisp bakes. But oh dear, Kathryn doesn’t have a good start to the week, they look very dark.

Oooh, tea cakes, lovely. But in that heat, not great baking weather… That heat must be punishing! And I do wonder if Kathryn’s decision not to chill is going to be an issue… And it was…

Up next, gingerbread ‘structures’. DON’T make a house as Paul will smash it! Some of these structures look very impressive… on paper… Let’s see what happens when they need to be constructed!

Interesting to hear about the history of gingerbread. In Holland, you get speculaas, which is very similar. Actually, now it’s autumn I will just have to make some. I have little molds as well to make the biscuits.

Well, back to the structures, Brendan’s looked amazing! So neat! And well done James for star baker! Go James! I do like James.

Oh, poor Kathryn. I guess we saw this one coming.

No Bake Off post this week…

Sorry people, no Bake Off post this week. I have been busy finishing kilt socks for MrFoxyBakes that have been in the making for over four years… I promised him they’d be done for the wedding, and there’s nothing like a deadline…

I did watch the Bake Off, the pastry looked quite disastrous in most cases…

Next week’s Bake Off post will be later in the week as I will be in Paris then.

On the upside, expect a wedding cake post tomorrow…

In search of the perfect macaron – Part II

Chocolate macarons

Chocolate and salted caramels macarons

Not an easy journey really, the search for the perfect macaron. A tasty one? Most certainly, but filled with frustration at cracked domes, no feet, not holding the colour, not rising, too dry, undercooked, you name it!

So, last weekend I decided to have another go. I googled various chocolate macaron recipes and stumbled upon a little tutorial by Paris-based pastry chef David Lebovitz. I have been reading his website a lot as I’m planning a short trip to Paris next month and he has amazing knowledge on where to get the good stuff, i.e. patisseries.

So, I followed his instructions, although I let them sit for half an hour or before I put them in the oven. And ‘lo and behold, they came out looking beautiful!!!

I made a lovely salted caramel buttercream to fill them with and one of my friends stated they were ‘just like the ones from the posh shop’. She means Pierre Hermé. Well, probably not *that* good, but they were pretty tasty.

I will use this recipe again and see if I can adjust it for non-chocolate macarons. I just need to find a way to keep any colours looking vibrant as so far all my coloured macarons have gone all pale, despite them looking bordering on neon in the mixer…

So, I’m overall pretty pleased with the result and I found that piping the filling makes them look even prettier!

 

In search of the perfect macaron – Part I

Elderflower and dark chocolate macarons

After posting about visiting Pierre Hermé and having the most divine macarons there, I thought the time had come to try my hand yet again at these devilishly difficult biscuits. So, I used yet another recipe, this time BraveTart’s macaron recipe. Last time I used Marian Keyes’ recipe and they turned out ok…

I think BraveTart’s step-by-step recipe is really good and I think my meringue was as stiff as she suggested. I added some bitter lemon/lime Sugarflair colour paste and a bit of elderflower extract. The consistency looked great! I put it all in the piping bag (note to self, buy bigger piping bags, these 30cms ones are just too small for *anything*) and away I went. Still not sure about the best way to pipe them as again my ended out like piped buttercream on a cupcake… I rapped them on the worktop, 4 times for each tray. Popped them in the oven, but when they came out, the foot hadn’t developed enough and they had cracked. Meh. They’re also huge, must get a smaller cookie cutter to make the circles with (I use a cookie cutter and pen to make circles on the baking sheet, so they’re roughly the same size). They’re a bit underdone, and I am not happy with them.

Last time I let them stand for half an hour before popping them in the oven and that seemed to have a better effect. I will try this again next time and I must make them smaller, maybe that makes them easier to pipe as well.

Never mind, they taste great! I filled them with a dark chocolate buttercream and the elderflower in the meringue really comes through and the dark chocolate balances it out very nicely indeed. I’m sure we will scoff eat them all over the coming days, but the search is far from done.

Welcome to Foxy Bakes

Hello, I am Femke and I bake. Lots. For a while now I have been toying with the idea of sharing my tasty treats, and now is the time. It’s a dreary Bank Holiday here in the UK this weekend, and it’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I’m not British, although I do live here, and I don’t really care. Although some extra days off is a bonus!

I am planning on doing some baking, and am going to attempt to make macarons. I have made them a few times, and so far no dice. They have tasted lovely, but oh my word they’re a bugger to make. I recently paid a visit to the Pierre Hermé boutique in London and bought some simply out-of-this world macarons. I mean, seriously orgasmic. Rose and jasmine anyone? Or three different types of vanilla? Just… just… just… I was nice though and shared them with my fiancé, but the temptation to just eat them all myself was high!

I am planning on making elderflower macaroons with a chocolate ganache. I was given some elderflower essence a few months ago and haven’t used it, so it will be interesting to see if it works.

I will also blog about some previous bakes in the coming days.