Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dessert Wars: Are Macaroons the New Cupcake?!


We've spotted a new dessert trend on the party horizon...and it's waging a war on cupcakes!

Macaroons are the new rage!  It seems you can't find a dessert table without them!!!

But, just what are they...you may ask?

Originating from the French word Macaron, macaroons are meringue cookies filled with a buttercream filling.  They can best be described as a cookie that is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.






Mmmmm!!! I haven't personally tried one yet, but they look delish, don't they?!

Pop quiz time!!! (Well, not exactly...but play along, ok?!)

Now that you've got the low-down on the new party craze, I figured you might want to whip up a batch for your next party (or for yourself...hey, we're not here to judge)!

I found this recipe here.  There's also a sweet tutorial on Bakerella that shows you how to make the Macaroon pops (pictured above)

Ready...set...get to baking!!!

Ingredients
Makes about 16 filled macaroons
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) finely ground sliced, blanched almonds
  • 6 tablespoons fresh egg whites (from about 3 extra-large eggs)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions

  1. To make the macaroons: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and ground almonds. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites with salt on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip until stiff glossy peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the confectioners’ sugar mixture until completely incorporated.
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch #4 round tip, and fill with batter. Pipe 1-inch disks onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. The batter will spread a little. Let stand at room temperature until dry, and a soft skin forms on the tops of the macaroons and the shiny surface turns dull, about 15 minutes.
  3. Bake, with the door of the oven slightly ajar, until the surface of the macaroons is completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet to a wire rack and let the macaroons cool completely on the baking sheet. Gently peel off the parchment. Their tops are easily crushed, so take care when removing the macaroons from the parchment. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
  4. To fill the macaroons: Fill a pastry bag with the filling. Turn macaroons so their flat bottoms face up. On half of them, pipe about 1 teaspoon filling. Sandwich these with the remaining macaroons, flat-side down, pressing slightly to spread the filling to the edges. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Macaroon Filling:

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg wites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces

Directions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk egg whites and sugar. Set mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and heat mixture, whisking often, until it feels warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until mixture is stiff and shiny, 3 to 5 minutes. Add butter, one piece at a time, and continue mixing until butter is thoroughly incorporated. The filling can be kept, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before stirring.
Have you ever baked/tasted macaroons?  Do you think they are the "new" cupcake?




Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Dessert Ideas

I don't know about you, but I am happy that today marks the official first day of Fall!  I love this time of year because it means my three favorite holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) are fast approaching.  I love to entertain, and this is when I feel I can get most creative.

Now that i've fallen in love with baking, I'm always on the search for new recipes to add to my collection.  This year, I would like to add a new, yummy dessert to our holiday dinner menu...something other than the usual Sweet Potato Pie and Banana Pudding.

Thanks to Better Homes and Gardens magazine's 31 Fall-Spiced Desserts, I think I have quite a few contenders:

Toffee-Pear Sticky Pudding

Honey Nut Crunch Pie

Apple Upside-Down Cake

Gingersnap Crumble Pumpkin Parfaits

Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes

Sticky Pecan Upside-Down Baby Cakes

Glazed Gingerbread Cake

These look absolutely delish!  Now comes the hard part: deciding which one to make!  The recipes for these desserts, along with 24 others, can be found on the Better Homes and Gardens website.

Do you have a go-to dessert for your holiday get-togethers?  Any new recipe's you'd like to try this year? 

All photos via Better Homes and Garden

Monday, September 19, 2011

Platinum Touch Events V-Log #1

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

I've been entertaining the idea of doing a V-Log (video blog) for quite awhile now, but I never got around to it...mainly because (gasp!) I'm a little bit camera shy!  But, I have so many things that I've been wanting to share and a regular ol' blog post just won't do sometimes, lol!

Please excuse the fact that the video is a little off center (hey, cut me some slack...it's my first time for goodness sakes lol...but I promise, it's going to get better :).  I just wanted to take a moment to personally introduce myself to my readers...you know, so you can put a face/voice to the name.

So, without further ado...check out my very first V-Log post...


video


In future V-log entries, I will be answering all of your burning wedding/event planning questions and even providing a few how-to/DIY videos.  I'm very excited about this new aspect of the blog, and I hope you enjoy the content that I am working hard to bring you. 

To make this a truly helpful experience, I'd love to hear your feedback on my first V-Log post.  Please include any topics that you would like for me to cover in future posts.

Thanks for following along with me on this journey, and I'll see you on the next video!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Well, Isn't That PINTERESTING!!!

So I finally did it.   I really put up a good fight, but in the end I lost the battle.  Believe me when I say I tried oh so very hard, but I broke down.  I became a part of the masses and (wait for it!!!) signed up for PINTEREST!!!

You see, I am addicted to all things pretty and creative.  For this reason, I subscribe to several different blogs to get my daily "fix".  It is also the reason I started this blog...to share all of the creative things I come across in the wedding and party planning world.

So, why am I making a big deal out of the fact that I joined PINTEREST?!?! Well, because I now have a new obsession.  After browsing around for the very first time, I knew instantly that this would be a place that I could spend countless hours ooohhhhing and ahhhhing over all of the stunning imagery that has been pinned.

Now, this could be a totally GOOD thing (it is definitely the new go-to place for creative inspiration), or it can be a bad, bad thing (I have a tendency to get sidetracked when it comes to looking at the creations of such talented party professionals).

Sigh.

In all seriousness, I know I joined the party kinda late, but I officially LOVE PINTEREST.  Here are just a few of the images that caught my eye during my first log-in on the site:

How creative is this?!  What a perfect shot to remember beachside nuptials.


This HAS to be the SWEETEST (engagement???) photo I have ever seen.  Very unique.


I love how photographers find creative ways to capture ring shots.


I love, love, love these chair covers.  Absolutely beautiful. 


Great way to display a collage of photos! 


Can you imagine the ringbearers walking down the aisle with this stylish ring pillow?! Yes, please!!!


This cake is simple yet stunning.  It has that timeless, elegance.  Love!


This is too cool!  Not sure if the sparklers are real, but it's an awesome photo!


*All photos via Pinterest

Have you signed up for PINTEREST yet?  What has been your experience with the site?