Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Classic Coconut Macaroons

So here's the scoop. I ate an amazing coconut macaroon last week when I went to The Crusty Bun. Now I can't stop thinking about it!
Long story short, this weekend I tried out a new recipe! Did it come out like the macaroon I had at the bakery? No. Did it taste really good? Absolutely! : )
I found the recipe at Joy of Baking and decided to make a half batch, just in case the recipe wasn't what I was looking for. If you go to the website by clicking the link below, there is an instructional video on how to make these macaroons.

Classic Coconut Macaroons [source]
-2 egg whites (at room temperature)
-1/2 cup of white sugar
-1/8 tsp of salt
-1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
-1/4 cup sifted cake flour
-1+1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut.

Put the egg whites and white sugar into a heat proof bowl and place it on top of a pot of steaming water. Use a whisk to stir the two together over the heat until the eggs and sugar turn white and are warm to the touch. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Then sift in the cake flour and stir again. Finally, add you coconut and stir it into the mixture, then cover the bowl and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or for up to 24 hours.
After 2 hours, or when the batter is firm, scoop the mixture onto a parchment lined cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 325 degrees. When they are done, let them cool on a cooling rack for ten minutes before eating them.

The ingredients. 
Here is the egg whites and sugar. It will only take a minute or two for the mixture to turn white and become warm to the touch (don't be afraid to touch the mixture with your finger). Then take the bowl off the heat and begin to add your other ingredients.
After the batter has chilled and become firm, scoop the batter onto a cookie sheet and bake them for 15-20 minutes at 325 degrees.
The bottoms should be a nice golden brown.
For some reason, my macaroons flattened out a lot in the oven, but this still tasted really good. they had a crunchy outside similar to meringue because of the egg whites, and a soft and chewy inside because of the cake flour.
Well, I'm still on the lookout for the perfect coconut macaroon. If you have any suggestions or have seen any recipes, please let me know and I will give it a try.
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

How to Make Fancy Rose Chocolates

So after the success of creating home made hazelnut seashells after buying a chocolate seashell mold, I decided to make another trip to Bulk Barn to pick up a few more molds.  
This one looked pretty simple and struck me as a perfect mold to create chocolates I can give away to my fiends on Valentines day.
So I melted some white chocolate and did my best to paint the chocolate into half of the roses (harder than it sounds!) and then the other half I just filled with a small spoonful of white chocolate. Then I put the tray into the freezer for 10 minutes.
*Always remember to whack the tray on the table a few times to get rid of any air bubbles.
When the white chocolate had hardened, I poured some melted dark chocolate on top. Then I gave the tray a few whacks and popped it into the freezer for about 20 minutes to make sure everything was perfectly hard.
Well, all in all I think these chocolates turned out pretty well. They certainly didn't take as long as the chocolate seashells I made last week, and they also had a lot less steps. I'm not too sure which I prefer, the white chocolate roses, or the half white/half dark chocolates.
Anyways, these trays have been so much fun to play with and have really helped to take my mind off of all the homework I have to do. If you have a chance to buy some chocolate molds, I'd say go for it because they're cheap ($3.00) and fairly easy compared to other DIY (Do It Yourself) projects.
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Friday, January 27, 2012

The Crusty Bun, Sweet Tooth Heaven

So last week my mother and I found ourselves in the St.Vital area doing some errands. On our way home we decided to stop by The Crusty Bun to pick up something for later. We really didn't know what we would get, we had only heard about it from others, but we knew that they had sandwiches, coffee, and also some baked goods.
Boy, were we in for a surprise. : )
There aren't a lot of places I know in Winnipeg where you can find freshly baked desserts. I know they're out there, but aside from Baked Expectations, I feel as though I'm completely out of the loop on where to find such amazing baked goodies as these.
So it seems as though The Crusty Bun has everything a person could want in a cafe/bakery. Desserts, sandwiches, coffee and other beverages, soup, freshly baked loaves of bread and soft pretzels, really, what more could a person ask for. 
Here's the bakery located at the back of the store, and all the hard working people baking bread.
And look, freshly made bread! I wonder what kind this is.
In the end, we didn't get a sandwich like we though we might, or a drink for that matter. We just got desserts. Lots and lots of desserts.
A Hazelnut Twirl for $2.50.
 A raspberry Jam Buster for $1.60.
 A Nut Corner for $2.50. While I thought this would be my favourite, surprisingly it wasn't.
This was! A Coconut Macaroon for $1.40. I had no idea that I would love this dessert so much, but it totally blew my socks off. Crunchy on the outside, flakey and sweet on the inside, with an amazing taste of coconut all throughout and a thin layer of chocolate on the bottom, this was just too good. 
Oh, and then we bought a bun to eat with leftover slow cooker minestrone. Needless to say it was really good with a bunch of seeds all throughout.
Man, I can not wait for the next time I can go to this place. Everything there tasted so good and wasn't all that expensive. I hope everyone has a chance to go to this place and try one or two of their desserts (I recommend the macaroon!) because it has lots of sitting space and very friendly staff.
If you know of another really great place here in Winnipeg that makes delicious food and treats, be sure to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at vimwac@hotmail.com.
The Crusty Bun is located on St. Mary's Road. For their hours, please look at the photo above near the top of the post.
 
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Vegetable Tom Yum from Thai Express

You may remember that back in November I posted about my first experience eating the Tofu Tom Yum from Thai Express and really loving it. Well, I had a chance to try the Vegetable Tom Yum when I went shopping with my friends over the weekend and boy was it good!

Just a quick tip, this is probably one of the best times to go shopping because there will be no one else around. I guess people are all shopped out after Christmas.
Look at how huge that bowl is. I can just imagine how great this would be if you had a cold.
And like pretty much all the other dishes on the menu, this soup is gluten free because it uses rice noodles instead of noodles with flour in them. I'm pretty sure that aside from their egg rolls, all the dishes are gluten free and have either rice noodles or plain rice.
The way they make the soup is pretty simple. They put some noodles on the bottom, stack a bunch of raw vegetables on top, and then pour in the piping hot broth. So good, especially with a squeeze or two of lime to brighten all the flavours. I think in the end I preferred this soup to the tofu version because of the huge pieces of vegetables floating on top and just how many there were of them. I think this soup is made with chicken broth, which is fine for me who is a vegetarian for the health benefits, but for folks out there who don't want any animal products, be sure to ask first.
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