Vanilla Latte Macarons

Gabe and I just returned from celebrating Passover in L.A. Last year was my first time ever hosting a Passover seder, and this year it was really great to learn from the pros. My contribution to the feast was three dozen French macarons. Sure, the Israelites didn’t have time to make finicky little cookies while fleeing Egypt, but perhaps they had more time while wandering in the desert for 40 years…?

Anyway, macarons are flourless and much loved by Gabe’s family, so I carefully packed my precious cargo and carried it on a seven-hour trip. Little did I know that the most dangerous part of the journey would be a waiting period in the Ulman family freezer, where half of the macarons mysteriously disappeared in the days before the Seder. I blame Pharaoh. Or some dessert plague.

Vanilla Latte Macarons | Lingonberry Jam

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Vanilla Latte Macarons

MACARONS

  • 110 grams almond meal
  • 200 grams powdered sugar
  • 100 grams egg whites (about 3)
  • 50 grams granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

FROSTING

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1 tsp. ground coffee
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbs. milk

Using a whisk or pastry blender, combine almond meal and powdered sugar in medium bowl. (Try to remove as many chunks as possible.) Using a stand mixer or hand blender, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until they are foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar and whip until a smooth, shiny meringue with stiff peaks forms. Stir in vanilla extract.

Add the almond mixture to the meringue and quickly but gently fold together using a wide rubber spatula until no streaks remain.  The batter should be thick and should form “ribbons” when drizzled from the spatula.

Pipe the batter into round shapes (1- 1 1/2 inches in diameter) on baking sheets lined with silicone mats or parchment paper. Let sit at room temperature for one hour.

Bake at 300° F for 10-16 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to a wire rack and don’t disturb the shells until they’re completely cool.

Meanwhile, make frosting: Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy. Combine coffee and vanilla extract to form a paste, and then mix the coffee paste into the butter. Slowly add powdered sugar and a pinch of salt and beat until frosting comes together. Add milk and beat until frosting is fluffy.

Assemble macarons by sandwiching two shells around a smidgen of frosting.

Source: Macarons slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats. Frosting slightly adapted from Heaps of Henri.

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Clementine Gin Fizz

Happy spring! After a long and rather hectic winter, Gabe and I are so looking forward to a warm, relaxed summer. I’m going to kill grow fresh veggies and herbs, spend as much time as possible walking around the lakes, and wear skirts and dresses everyday.

But what I’m most looking forward to with the changing season is the fact that our apartment has a balcony again. I don’t care that it overlooks the dumpster on trash pick-up day; our little corner of the outdoors is south-facing and three stories up. Plenty of fresh breezes and sunshine.

I’m anticipating many warm evenings out on the balcony, sipping a fizzy drink and watching my plants die… er, grow tall and strong. At the very least, I’ll be growing my hair and letting freckles sprout! Happy spring, indeed.

Clementine Gin Fizz | Lingonberry Jam Clementine Gin Fizz | Lingonberry Jam

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Clementine Gin Fizz

  • 6 clementines
  • 4 oz. gin
  • dash of seltzer water

Slice each clementine in half and squeeze the juice into two glasses, three clementines per glass. Add 2 oz. gin to each glass and a dash of seltzer water, to taste. Stir and add ice. Serves two.

Source: Adapted from Skruzel via Group Recipes.

Vanilla Frozen Greek Yogurt

Yesterday I looked up at the huge, colorful array of cookbooks sitting on the shelf above the kitchen sink and had a quick thought: do glass shelves have a weight limit?

Gabe replied that it looked like the glass was bowing in the middle, so I quickly removed the books before the shelf could come crashing down along with all our glassware and a 19th-century Hanukkiah. Yikes. Crisis averted.

Moving my cookbooks to a lower (and sturdier) shelf means they’re less likely to cause massive destruction and more likely to be perused on a daily basis. Win-win. I spend a lot of time looking at recipes online (and blogging about them, obviously), but nothing beats curling up with a book full of pretty pictures and elegant writing. So today I’m sharing a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks: The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz.

I like making fro-yo with Greek yogurt because it’s creamier and tangier. You can certainly substitute fat-free yogurt, but beware that the texture may be a little bit icy. I say go for the full-fat and just have a smaller bowl. :)

Vanilla Frozen Greek Yogurt | Lingonberry Jam

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Vanilla Frozen Greek Yogurt

  • 3 cups whole-milk plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt and sugar until completely dissolved. (The sugar will no longer feel grainy.) Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes about 1 quart.

Source: The Perfect Scoop

Nutrition facts (per 1/2 cup): 170 calories, 7.5 g fat, 21.0 g carbs, 5.3 g protein, 0 g fiber.

(Note: If using non-fat yogurt, a 1/2 cup serving contains about 60 fewer calories.)

Cherry-Maple Granola

For about a year in Boston, I ate the exact same thing for breakfast every day. Grandma’s granola, a touch of greek yogurt, and fresh strawberries. It was easy, nutritious, and scrumptious. And then one day, I woke up and was tired of it.

I retried some old standbys, but found that frosted mini-wheats were suddenly too sweet and oatmeal squares too bland. And so, this week, I went back to granola. But I still wanted to try something new.

Luckily I bought Deb Perelman‘s cookbook back at the end of November, when I attended her book tour and even (gasp!) asked her a question. It was awesome. So far, every recipe I’ve tried has been a hit. And now I can thank her for adding another granola recipe to my rotation. It feels good to have a rotation. :)

I switched out the walnuts for almonds and stirred the granola to break it up more (her original recipe called for ginormous clusters), but otherwise not much was changed. The maple syrup– all the way from Canada!– adds a hint of sweetness balanced out by kosher salt. It’s the perfect start to my morning.

Cherry-Maple Granola | Lingonberry Jam

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Cherry-Maple Granola

  • 3 cups uncooked oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 2 Tbs. grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher flake salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 300° F. In a large bowl, stir together everything but the egg white and dried cherries. Whip the egg white in a small bowl until foamy. Stir egg white into the oat mixture. Evenly spread granola onto a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through. The granola is done when it’s lightly browned and dry to the touch.

Stir in cherries and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Makes about 7 cups.

Nutrition facts (per 1/2 cup): 210 calories, 8.7 g fat, 29.9 g carbs, 3.8 g fiber, 4.7 g protein.

Source: Slightly adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

Garlicky Quinoa

Growing up in a busy household, I ate a fair amount of Uncle Ben’s. And I freaking loved the stuff. I always snuck one last bite of chicken and wild rice pilaf while putting away the leftovers, and I often reheated it for breakfast the next day. Hearty, flavorful rice is totally my jam.

But now that I’ve transitioned away from most pre-packaged foods, I haven’t bought Uncle Ben’s in ages. And unless it’s wrapped around a piece of tuna, I try not to eat white rice. Introducing healthier grains like brown rice, barley, and quinoa has been a fun kitchen challenge. But I was still missing something.

Where was that chickeny, herby, garlicky flavor?

Well folks, here it is. And it’s just as easy as opening a box. If you’re a goofus like me, you can always toss some parsley on the finished quinoa to achieve the gently speckled look of Uncle Ben’s. Just like home.

Garlicky Quinoa | Lingonberry Jam

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Garlicky Quinoa

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Thoroughly rinse and strain quinoa. In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Stir in quinoa and sauté for 1 minute. Add garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes. Stir in broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until quinoa is tender but still chewy, with white, spiral-like threads. Fluff quinoa, stir in salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Makes about 4 cups.

Source: Inspired by Annie’s Eats.

Nutrition facts (per 1/2 cup): 115 calories, 4.4 g fat, 16.2 g carbs, 1.5 g fiber, 3.4 g protein.