This post is sponsored by OXO, however all opinions are mine.
The marriage of crisp almonds and chewy cake bring these Swedish Visiting Cake Bars to life making them a classically delicious dessert!
I’m thrilled to be participating in Cookies for Kid’s Cancer again this year!
Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was founded by two OXOnians (OXO employees) who were inspired by their son Liam’s battle with pediatric cancer, a disease which claims the lives of more children in the US than any other disease.
Cookies for Kids’ Cancer provides inspiration and support to allow anyone to easily get involved in fundraising to find a cure for pediatric cancer.
OXOnians regard each other as family. The news of Liam’s diagnosis hit them hard and they have been personally involved with this worthy organization from the beginning.
As part of Cookies for Kid’s Cancer this year, OXO selected group exclusive group of bloggers to to receive an exclusive recipe and a set of coordinating baking products and tools to make that recipe.
For each blog post and recipe shared, OXO will donate $100 to Cookies for Kid’s Cancer (up to their $100,000 commitment).
How incredibly awesome is that!
The recipe I was given to recreate is Dorie Greenspan’s Swedish Visiting Cake Bars.
Dorie shared her thoughts on particiapting in Cookies for Kid’s Cancer saying,
I have been a supporter of Cookies For Kids Cancer from before Day 1 and with good reason: It’s a targeted source of funding for research into pediatric cancer treatments. That pediatric cancer is so prevalent and so poorly funded is a terrible paradox. Cookies for Kids Cancer is changing this and I love helping them reach their goals.
These are a mash-up of two recipes I love: almond-meringue topping, which I usually use on fruit tarts and (a variation of the) Swedish Visiting Cake, which is usually unadorned. I can no longer remember when or why I married these two, but once I did, the knot was tied for life — the crisp almonds and chewy cake make a perfect couple.
The cake is supremely satisfying and the topping is unusual in that it bakes to a meringue finish, but there’s no whipping involved. You just mix egg whites and confectioners’ sugar together — I do it with my fingers — swish sliced almonds around in the mix and spread it over the batter. The oven does all the work.
Since 2011, JavaCupcake has participated in raising awareness and money for Cookies for Kid’s Cancer.
We started with the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and now we’re working with OXO!
Thanks to OXO for providing me the following products:
It’s a fantastic way to give back to the community with my fellow bloggers.
OXO and it’s chef-supporters of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer hope this inspires people to host their own Cookies for Kids’ Cancer bake sales!
Join in the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer challenge by registering your event online. If you mark that you were inspired by OXO when you register, we’ll match proceeds from your bake sale up to our annual commitment.
Check out these cookie recipes from past Cookies for Kid’s Cancer fundraisers!
I have a bit of an obsession when it comes to baking books… I love to collect them! I have a big stack of my favorites displayed on the sideboard in my dining room so I can see and enjoy them every day!
I am so incredibly grateful to know so many bakers and bloggers who have written or are writing a cookbook so I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you! Enjoy this collection of 11 Baker & Blogger Cookbooks I Love!
Today’s post is a special one… there’s no recipe. Instead, I’m sharing my friends.
There are hundreds of food bloggers in the world. And realistically, that number is probably closer to thousands of food bloggers. I have the privilege of knowing several them in person and online and am honored to call them my friends.
Today, I am going to share with you 5 of my favorite food bloggers. These bloggers come from all corners of the world and produce such amazing content for their blogs that they inspire me daily with their creativity, and practical tips such as when to post on instagram – it may seem small, but it makes all the difference.
I hope you take a few minutes to check out each of their blogs… I’m certain you’ll love them as much as I do!
Toni Miller is the owner of the baking blog, Make. Bake. Celebrate. where she shares her recipes for desserts that are creative, easy to make and geared towards serving at parties or events. Her blog is bright, colorful and so incredibly fun to read!
One of the things I love most about MBC is that Toni has styled each and every photograph of her recipes in the same style, creating a consistency across her blog unlike any other food blog I’ve seen. Her photos are simple, yet stunning and are just fun to look at!
Most recently, Toni joined forces with Better Homes & Gardens to create two fun cupcakes! First, were these Garden-theme Cupcakes… which are so perfect for Spring! And second were these fun Banana Split Cupcakes!
Kimmie Schiffel is the creative genius behind the blog, bake. love. give. When I first met Kimmie online more than 4 years ago, we were both new bloggers. To be honest, I’m not sure when the first time was that we interacted in the food blogger world, but I do remember how she stepped up to make hundreds of cookies for the Cucpakes Take the Cake 6th Birthday Bash I threw in December of 2010. I knew then that she was simply amazing.
Over the past 4-5 years, I’ve been able to watch Kimmie’s blog grow into the amazing collection of recipes and inspiration that it is today. Recently, Kimmie completely overhauled her blog design and launched a new visual recipe index (which I am completely jealous of!). Her blog is clean, classic and features the photos of her food so that they are the star of her blog!
Recently, she posted these super adorable Spring Circus Animal Cookies. Seriously some of the cutest cookies I’ve ever seen! Kimmie’s creativity inspires me with each new recipe she posts!
Make sure to visit her blog and check out Kimmie on social media!
Amanda not only has a passion for baking, but she has a passion for her family. I watch as she has worked hard over the last year to create and launch her book and I am in awe of how she was able to keep it all together. Juggling her family, faith, book and blog all at once is no small task, but Amanda has done it with grace, sophistication and has earned my respect in the process. I strive to be a better person by witnessing her road to success. I love scrolling through her Instagram, I can only say that I’m surprised that not many more people do the same. She really does deserve all the followers in the world! I guess she could always buy Instagram followers @ Buzzoid.com.
Not only does Amanda post about cakes and cupcakes, but she has an entire section of her blog dedicated to pancakes. I especially love her Rainbow Pancakes… because really, who doesn’t love rainbows… and for breakfast? Yes, please!
So please, support my friend Amanda, buy her book (if you haven’t already) and make sure to visit her blog!
Carrie Fields is the heart and soul of the blog, Fields of Cake & Other Good Stuff. And Carrie isn’t kidding when she says ‘other good stuff’ either! I met Carrie online a few years ago when I ordered a care package of home-baked desserts (which included this Red Hot Fudge) from her to send to my husband who was serving his first deployment to Iraq back in 2010.
Since then, she’s become not only become a great friend, but someone who I often go to as a guide for baking and blogging! For a while… we even lived in the same part of the world when she was living in Greece with her husband while he was stationed there. We “almost” got to meet! hehe
Carrie is back in the USA now where’s she’s working as a pastry chef and an ice cream maker in Montana as well as keeping up her blog! Doesn’t that Roasted Mango & Gin Sorbet look amazing? Man… I wish I lived in Montana!
Stop by Fields of Cake & Other Good Stuff and share the love with Carrie… or go eat some of deliciousness the next time you’re in Montana!
Erin Dee runs the healthy baking blog, Texanerin Baking. I love her blog because she creates desserts that are like fake-outs! They’re made with whole grains, low sugar and reduced fat… but you wouldn’t be able to tell by the taste!
I know first hand how amazing her creations taste! Earlier this year, I went to visit Erin in Berlin where we put ourselves to a little baking challenge. I made brownies with full fat and sugar and she made the healthier version. Her husband was the judge and he said both were amazingly delicious!
It’s been really great having another American food blogger here in Germany to get to know! Erin and I experience a lot of the same baking challenges living in Europe… including not being able to find the ingredients we need or not being included in advertising campaigns from American companies because we’re here in Germany. It’s been great to have someone local to bounce ideas off of and get to know! I am hoping that we’ll be able to bake together again this Spring when Erin comes down to Bavaria to visit me! If you’ve been inspirated to start your own blog because of these talented chiefs consider talking to hostiserver.com they have some useful web hosting solutions.
Delicious. If I had to describe 2013 in one word, that’s what it would be… delicious! I made so much delicious food this year, that I think I gained a few pounds! Seriously! Most of the time when I make something I like it, it’s yummy… but there were a handful of times out of the 120+ recipes this year that I made and I was like WOW! I need to either make this again or enjoy EVERY BITE because it was THAT good.
Not only were my favorites this year desserts, but a few dinners and side dishes made the list too! I don’t know if you noticed or not… but I started sharing dinner recipes, especially soups that my family loved.
As I share with you my favorites of the year, I’ll tell you a little bit about why I loved each one. Some because they were delicious, others because it was a goal to find the perfect recipe and others because it was just fun to make!
Enjoy this look back on the Best of 2013 – My Favorites!
The Half Baked Cake was one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever made. It had thick, chewy layers of fudge brownie cake with gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough baked inside are layered between a brown sugar cookie dough frosting. I mean seriously… is there anything more amazing than this cake? Probably not.
I wasn’t until I read Mindy Cone’s tutorials on how to make French Macarons that I felt confident enough to try these delicate confections. I had yet to even taste one before I made them, but I had seen plenty in bakeries across Europe. Because they turned out so well the first time, I put together a brief tutorial and scared many links to other tutorials in my post in hopes that you would feel confident enough to try them too!
For years my biscuits have come out like hockey pucks and a complete failure… until, one of my fabulous readers sent me her family recipe for buttermilk biscuits. I am happy to report now that I’ve finally perfected the biscuit with this recipe and they are light, fluffy, flaky and are never hockey pucks!
My husband and I love to cook dinner together and one of our favorite things to make is a hearty stew. This time we used his favorite beer from his home state of Pennsylvania to create one of the most amazing stews we’ve ever eaten. This recipe is definitely going into our family cookbook!
These oatmeal & pumpkin cookies were a new way of making cookies for me. I had never rolled, cut and filled a cookie before, but I am completely in love with how they turned out. They weren’t very popular on the blog, but in person they were just so cute and delicious that they became an instant favorite!
The PSL (pumpkin spice latte) at Starbucks is my favorite drink of the Fall season and this was the first year that Starbucks sold it in Germany! I was so excited about that fact that I made this cake dedicated to the PSL! I brought it to a potluck for 100 people and it was the most popular dessert of the evening. Everyone ranted and raved about how delicious it was. And seriously… it was that delicious… and a favorite of mine for 2013.
If you don’t know what Karamelgebäck Creme is, don’t worry… it’s just the German for Biscoff, Speculoos or Cookie Butter. These cupcakes were really fun to make because I used Biscoff straight from Belgium! One of the perks of living in Europe is that I have easy access to so much YUM!
This year I finally found the best recipe to make my version of the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Crisp edges, chewy center, and loaded with chocolate. I don’t like a flat cookie and these bake up tall. So much yum going on with these cookies.
Molasses cookies have been made in my house before, but this was the first year I topped them with white chocolate. WOW! What a huge difference it made… the white chocolate brought these cookies to a whole new level! I sent them to Dave in Afghanistan and they were his favorite of all I’d sent him!
I had seen some recipes for cupcake shaped dinner foods before, but when I came across these pot pie cupcakes I knew I had to make them. So simple and so good… these pot pie cupcakes have become a favorite & staple dinner in my house!
Make sure to check out these other Best Of posts from this year and years past!
Yesterday, I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something new… traditional French Macarons. I know what you’re thinking, macarons are crazy difficult and are a huge undertaking. They intimidate almost everyone who tries them.
ARE YOU CRAZY?!?
I know that’s what you’re thinking.
The answer is no. I’m not crazy. I needed a new challenge. I was getting bored in the kitchen and I needed to test my skills with something new, creative and outside the box.
Mindy Cone recently published a new cookbook, Gourmet French Macarons: Over 75 Unique Flavors and Festive Shapes, that everyone in the bloggersphere is talking about. So, I knew this was the perfect challenge for me. Mindy generously offered to send me a copy of her book so I can try out her recipes. I seriously can not wait to get it!
But, until Mindy’s book arrived, I wanted to see if I could at least get the basic recipe and technique down for French Macarons before I tried new flavors and shapes.
Yesterday was that adventure.
I began my research with Mindy’s blog, Creative Juice. She’s got several links to videos, tutorials and recipes that I spent an entire day watching and reading. LOTS of information to take in.
Next, I read the blog of my friend Jen who is a UK baker and a macaron expert! She’s got a great tutorial on her blog Jen’s Just Desserts with lots of tips on how to make French Macarons. I love how Jen’s tutorial goes into great detail on exactly how many folds, minutes, etc it took to make the macarons. VERY helpful.
During the process of research and in actually making the macarons, I found a few things stood out as being very important. I’ve listed below what I found the be the most helpful.
JavaCupcake’s Top 5 Things to Know Before Making Macarons
Prep everything before you begin making the batter. Gather all your tools then weigh and measure all ingredients. This will ensure a smooth baking process. Wash, clean and dry all your tools. Make sure no grease is on anything that will touch the egg whites.
Use older, room temperature egg whites. If you have time, crack and separate your eggs. Cover and leave them out overnight to age.
Use a food scale to weigh ingredients. I know a lot of recipes list ingredients in cups, but it’s best to have a more accurate measurement by weight. This will ensure you have the proper texture and flavor.
Use a template to create consistency in the size of your macarons.
BE PATIENT – do not try to rush the process. Fold the batter slowly & count the number of folds/strokes. Set a timer for at least 20 minutes & walk away from the macarons while they are resting. Patience is what will make your macarons successful!
Now, this was just my first attempt. I’m not claiming to be an expert by any means. My goal here is to share this process with you so that you can feel confident to try making macarons yourself! It’s much simpler than you think!
So, if you try my method, please let me know. I’d love see pictures and hear how they turned out for you!
Good luck and Enjoy!
Yield: 48 macaron shells or 24 macaron sandwiches
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Total Time: 54 minutes
Stand mixer with whisk attachment - both very clean and dry
Medium mixing bowl
Disposable piping bag
1/2in round piping tip (Wilton 1A)
Small round piping tip (Wilton 12)
3.5cm piping template
4.5oz powdered sugar (about 1 cup)
2.5oz almond flour (about 3/4 cup)
90g egg whites (about 2 large eggs)
1.5oz granulated sugar (about 1/4 cup)
Sky Blue Wilton Food Color Gel - just a pinch
Chocolate Ganache Filling
NOTE: These amounts make more than you need, just save the leftovers for another project!
120g semi-sweet chocolate - I used Lindt 50% zartbitter schokolade
120ml or 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 T flavoring - I used Mozart Chocolate Cream Liquor, but any flavoring can be used
Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Place the racks on the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 2 templates per baking sheet under parchment paper.
In the medium bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and almond flour. Sift three times. You may have a few lump of almond flour left in the sifter, discard it. Stir the whisk around 5-10 stokes to ensure everything is combined. Set aside.
In the bowl of the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites. Start the mixer on low and gradually bring it to high speed. Once the eggs have become foamy, add the granulated sugar 1 Tbsp at a time. Mix for 20 seconds after each addition. After all the sugar has been added, continue to mix on high until stiff peaks form. This entire process should take 6-10 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and tap off any extra meringue from the whisk into the bowl.
Gently pour half the almond/sugar mix into the meringue and fold with a rubber spatula until just incorporated. Take care to fold VERY gently, about 10-15 strokes, scraping the bottom and sides occasionally. Add the remaining almond/sugar mix and repeat another 10-15 strokes, again occasionally scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.
Add a drop of food coloring to the batter.
Continue to slowly fold the batter another 10-20 strokes or until the surface is smooth and shiny and the batter is thick. When you lift and drop the batter back on itself, after waiting for about 30 seconds, the ridges should slowly ooze back into the batter.
Attach a 1/2in wide, round piping tip to a disposable bag and fill it with batter. Holding the bag upright, slowly squeeze dollops of batter onto the prepared baking sheet lined with the template. Read this tutorial for more details on this process.
Tap the pan on the counter several times to release any air holes in the macarons.
Allow macarons to rest on the counter for 20-30 minutes or until a crust has formed and is stiff to the touch. Remove template before baking.
When ready to bake, place one baking sheet on each rack of the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Rotate pans 180 degrees and switch racks moving the pan on top to the bottom and the pan on the bottom to the top. Bake another 3-5 minutes or until firm with the slightest amount of give when gently touched.
Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes on the pans. The macarons should then gently pop off the pan when lifted. Set them on a wire rack to cool completely before filling. BE CAREFUL, they are FRAGILE!
Chop the chocolate and place in a medium glass bowl.
In a small sauce pan, bring the butter and heavy cream to a boil. Immediately pour of the chopped chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, gently and slowly stir the ganache until smooth.
Add the flavoring and mix until incorporated.
Allow the ganache to come to room temperature and be completely cool before piping onto the macarons.
Fit a piping bag with the Wilton 12 tip. Fill with chocolate ganache.
Match up macaron shells so that they are equal in size and shape. Lay them open face on your work surface.
Squeeze about a teaspoon of ganache onto one macaroon.
Holding the macaron by it's sides and NOT the tops, gently place the matching shell on top of the ganache and wiggle it down gently until the ganache reaches the sides.
Storage & Serving
French Macarons will last up to 5 days. If serving the day they are made, leave them out at room temperature.
If not serving the same day, store them in an air-tight container on the lowest shelf of your refrigerator.
Allow the macarons to come to room temperature before serving, about 30 minutes.
I highly recommend you watch the videos and read the tutorials I have linked in this post before making these macarons. They really are not too difficult, but they take patience and preparation! Good luck!
This weekend I spent some time updated the look of my blog. I’ve also been obsessed with downloading new fonts. I love fonts. So… armed with new fonts and new vectors, I set out to create a header that really relayed what I do here on JavaCupcake…. Share my inspired recipes!
I also created this cute graphic that I *had* to share with you! Please, feel free to download it and share it with your friends! It’s just so true!
You only live once… so lick the bowl!
To get the image for yourself… right click image below and select “Save as…”. For a HIRES image… click HERE then right click the image and select “Save as…”.