Valentine’s Day Edition: Ladurée French Macarons

Ladurée French Macarons
A few years ago, I posted a recipe for Ladurée macarons that seemed to be a big hit with readers. I thought making a special Valentine’s Day edition would be fun. Same recipe with a cute Valentine’s Day Twist. Just grab some edible markets from Amazon and turn these classic treats into a special Valentine’s Day dessert.

This is a macaron shell recipe from Ladurée — the crème de la crème of macarons in the world! And I whipped up the filling recipe myself…

Makes approximately 50 macarons
Bake at 300F
Macaron Shell Ingredients
2 ¾ cups + 1 tbsp (275 g) fine almond flour
2 cups + 1 tbsp (250 g) confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered sugar)
6 +1/2 egg whites (room temp)
1 cup + 1 tbsp (210g) granulated white sugar
3 drops of whatever food coloring you desire
Directions for Macaron Shells:
1. Combine the ground almond flour and the confectioners sugar in a food processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles a fine powder {do not over mix or you will end up with paste! Nooo!}. Sift through a sieve to remove any lumps.
2. In a large bowl {I use my KitchenAid}, whisk 6 egg whites until foamy. Once they are frothy, add a third of the granulated sugar {precisely 83.3 oz}. Whip until the sugar has dissolved. Add another third of the sugar. Whip for 1 minute. Add the last third of the sugar and whip for one minute. Egg whites should be glossy and hold soft peaks. Using a spatula, delicately fold the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar into the whipped egg whites. In a separate bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 egg white until just frothy. Then add it to the final mixture, folding gently to slightly loosen the macaron batter.
3. If you only want to make one color of macarons, then add your desired food coloring to the batter bowl. If you want multiple colors, divide your batter into separate bowls and add coloring to each. Try not to over mix.
4. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag {you can also use zip lock bags with a cut corner}. Pipe small macaron rounds 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto a  lined baking sheet. I like to line mine with a silpat or this fancy macaron mat. Parchment paper will also do. Lightly tap the tray on the counter to release any air pockets. Allow the macarons to sit uncovered for 10 minutes, so a thin dry coat forms on the top {you should be able to gently touch them without the batter sticking to your finger}. Now they are ready for the oven. Only bake one tray at a time. Bake at 300F for approximately 15 minutes or until they form a smooth shell and little foot.
*You can prepare the next tray while you wait for the first batch to bake.
5. Ok here is where you’ll need to be extra patient. Wait until the macarons have completely cooled before peeling them off the mat. If they stick, they are not ready. * My method {because I’m impatient} to speed things up, try placing the hot baking sheet on top of cold damp dishtowels. This can cut your waiting time in half!
Macaroon Filling Ingredients
8 tbsp jam
4 tbsp soft butter
splash of whipping cream
Fills approximately 50 macarons
{If you want to make different flavors on a smaller scale just measure 2:1 ratio for jam and butter}
Macaron Filling Instructions
Easy part!
1. You can use any flavor you want. For these macarons, I made different flavors for each color — peach, strawberry, blueberry and chocolate. Mmmmm. My friend gave me some amazing homemade jams that I mixed with butter and a splash of whipping cream.  Your measurements will vary depending on how much filling you want for each flavor. Just mix jelly, butter and whipping cream until you reach a semi-solid consistency at room temp. This one is pretty hard to mess up.
*I used Nutella for the chocolate hazelnut filling.
Good luck my friends!
Ladurée French Macarons
Ladurée French Macarons

Blood Orange & Passion Fruit Panna Cotta

Blood Orange Passion Fruit Panna Cotta
Blood orange and passion fruit panna cotta with no refined sugars, a little less fat than the traditional method and more protein! Oh yeah! And it’s sexy enough to be the star of your Valentine’s Day dessert – guilt free! Happy almost Valentine’s Day friends. I hope you have some special plans with the one you love, whether is be a night out on the town or snuggled up at home watching your favorite shows…it’s all good.

Makes 6 4oz servings
Ingredients
1 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tbsp cold water
1 cup non fat greek yogurt
1 cup half & half
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
2 tbsp freshly squeezed blood orange juice

Directions
In a small dish, mix gelatin powder and water together. Set aside

In a small saucepan, combine half & half with honey and simmer until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat. Add gelatin and greek yogurt into the half & half – honey mixture. Whisk until smooth. Add vanilla and blood orange juice. Whisk again.

Pour into silicon molds or small jars. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Serve with passion fruit and blood oranges.
Blood Orange Passion Fruit Panna Cotta Blood Orange Passion Fruit Panna Cotta Blood Orange Passion Fruit Panna Cotta


Vanilla Bean Purple Sweet Potato Creamy Cashew Berry Cake

How about a slice of vanilla bean purple sweet potato creamy cashew berry cake? These cakes are vegan, gluten free, wheat free, refined (cane sugar) free, dairy free, soy free and yes they’re still delicious! Flavor packed little squares! Here is the easier-than-you-think recipe!

Ingredients: 

Crust
6 soft dates (pitted)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp almond meal
1/2 nuts (almonds, peanuts whatever you have)
1/2 cup rolled oats

Bottom Layer
1 cup cashews (soaked in water for 3 hours and drained)
1/2 purple sweet potato (peeled and steamed)
2 tbsp coconut BUTTER (melted)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp rice flour
3 tbsp water

Top Layer
1 cup cashews (soaked in water for 3 hours and drained)
10 raspberries
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp maqui powder
1 tbsp pomegranate powder
2 tbsp beet (finely shredded)
2 tbsp coconut BUTTER (melted)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp rice flour
3 tbsp water

Directions
Make each layer separately in the food processor (wash the container between each layer). Starting with the crust – throw all ingredients into the processor and blend until a ball is formed. Crust should be pliable and easily to shape without falling apart. Line square glass dish with parchment paper and press the crust into the paper and the edges of the dish. Spread evenly.
Wash out the food processor and blend the first layer ingredients together until smooth and silk. Pour into the dish. Wash and repeat with the second layer.
Place the layered “cheezecake” in the freezer for 3 hours. Cut into squares and top with desired goodies (I used chocolate covered cacao nibs and blackberries). If you want to drizzle it with a magic chocolate sauce shell, mix 1 tbsp cocoa powder with 1 tsp of coconut oil and maple syrup. Serve when cakes are thawed, yet still cold. Like cheesecake.


Spiced Black Tea Poisoned Apples

Spiced Black Tea Poison Apples | A Bit of Bees Knees
I really dig Halloween, it’s the kickoff to all the fun holidays! The nights grow cooler and the leaves change colors. I don’t know why, but the air smells better to me when fall comes around. I’ll throw on my jacket and take a nightly walk around the neighborhood with D, just to smell the air and feel the electricity. Maybe it’s finally cool enough to cook at night and every home has something yummy in their oven. Who knows…but I love it. Cool air and sweet smells. It’s just perfect + I love all of those adorable kiddos in costumes running around with their families, carving pumpkins etc.
I made these for a couch-full of friends last night. We carved pumpkins, drank whiskey ciders and watched Children of the Corn for the first time. Does Isaac (the leader of the kids) remind anyone of Joffrey from Game of Thrones or is it just me? Same guy! And I’d punch both of them in the face if I had the chance. Gawww ;)!
I thought some sultry moody poisoned apples would be a fun treat to keep the Halloween vibes going . This was my first attempt at making candied apples. They’re fairly easy to make (just be patient when waiting for the 300F boil). I’d advise only dipping the apples once! You want to achieve an ultra thin crunchy cinnamony shell on top of the red delicious apples. I dipped mine a few times too many. Oops.

Ingredients
6 red delicious apples
6 branches from your yard (washed and dried)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brewed black tea
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup beet juice
5 drops cinnamon oil

Silpat mat
candy thermometer

Directions
-Insert the branches into the center of each apple. Set them aside.
-In a small saucepan with candy thermometer attached, bring sugar,  (filtered) black tea, corn syrup and beet juice to a boil over medium high heat. Do not stir until the thermometer reaches 300F.
-Carefully add 5 drops of cinnamon oil. Stir until combined.
-Remove from heat and dip each apple into hot syrup. You may need to turn your pot on an angle to dip the apples deeper. Let each apple drip for a few seconds over the hot syrup to create a thin shell. After each apple is coated, place it on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat mat (non-stick) and allow to cool until the shell is hard and slick.

Spiced Black Tea Poison Apples | A Bit of Bees Knees
Spiced Black Tea Poison Apples | A Bit of Bees Knees
Spiced Black Tea Poison Apples | A Bit of Bees Knees


Vanilla Bourbon Pumpkin Pie

Vanilla Bourbon Pumpkin Pie | A Bit of Bees KneesThe silkiest pumpkin pie you will ever eat. That bit of bourbon gives it a sultry edge – helping cut through the sweetness and highlight caramelly nutmeg flavors. This is not your Grandma’s pumpkin pie…

Ingredients
Store bought piecrust (or if you are feeling extra zealous –> pie crust recipe)
2  (15oz) cans of pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar + 1 tbsp extra for crust
¼ cup white sugar
½ tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter (melted)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup sour cream
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp Bourbon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
-Oven 350 degrees F.
-Bake piecrust first. Make a few slits in the middle of the pie dish, so the crust doesn’t bubble when baking. Follow making instructions for store bought pie crust.
-Sprinkle the bottom of the pie crust with 1 tbsp of brown sugar. This will turn into a sweet nougaty layer when is bakes with the pumpkin filling.
-In a food prossecor, blend all ingredients together until smooth.
-Pour the bourbon pumpkin pie mixture into the cooled pie crust. Bake until edges are firm but center still jiggles slightly, about 45 minutes. Don’t overbake or the pie will start to crack on top.
-Let pie cool before serving

For added excitement top with…

Bourbon Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
* Beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks formVanilla Bourbon Pumpkin Pie | A Bit of Bees KneesVanilla Bourbon Pumpkin Pie | A Bit of Bees Knees