I have been meaning to do a round up post with some of my favorite macaron flavors & design, and it’s finally here. I love the flexibility of combining flavors in a macaron, something small and simple that can pack a flavor punch. The first macaron pictured is a caramel popcorn macaron. The macaron shell is made out of ground up popcorn & almond flour. Sandwiched in the middle is a smooth and decadent caramel buttercream, one of my favorites. Together they are combined to something resembling one of my favorite late-night snacks, caramel popcorn. The next macarons are actually just a simple vanilla filling, but I had so much fun experimenting with “painting” on the macaron shell. Turns out, macarons are the perfect blank canvas for colors, not only flavors. The next macarons are pink peppermint, made with crushed candy canes sprinkled on the shell, and a chocolate & peppermint filling. I adore chocolate and mint as a combination, as together they remind me of the festive and indulgent nature of the holidays. The bee macarons are lemon flavored, and I had so much fun drawing little bees buzzing about it. Again, the perfect canvas. The last macarons featured are black and white truffle macarons. The macaron shells are made with hazelnut flour. The black truffle filling is made with dark chocolate and a black truffle infusion, along with some truffle oil. The white truffle filling is made with white chocolate and a white truffle infusion. Indulgent, sweet, and just a little bit savory.
Most of my desserts contain dairy, eggs, and gluten. I love using top quality heavy cream, organic eggs, and a variety of flours to produce the best flavors. What I normally don't do are raw and vegan desserts. With an increase in diners who have allergies and special diets, it's time to jump on the bandwagon so that every guest can have dessert that are just as delicious as their dairy, eggs, and gluten counterparts. Eliminating pastry mainstays such as eggs, butter, cream, and flour and producing just as delicious bites is an exciting challenge. I have always enjoyed raw, vegan, and gluten-free desserts when done well, but always lamented how a large portion could leave me feeling rather heavy. There are a lot of nuts and oils in these desserts, and by making them bite-sized, makes them the perfect portion size. Shown are a cranberry chocolate fudge, peppermint patty, and an almond nut buttercup. The peppermint patty filling uses cashews that have been soaked in water and blended to mimic a creamy filling. To make the perfect crunchy chocolate shell, coconut oil and chocolate. Honestly, so delicious without missing all the butter and cream. The fudge is made with almond butter and coconut oil. It is lighter than a traditional fudge, and especially delicious when frozen. Cranberries are added for a tart contrast. The almond nut butter cup has a base of almond butter and oats. It's topped with a chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Petit fours can make or break a person's restaurant experience. When VIP's, friends, and guests come to eat, the last impression is dessert. I like to leave a big impression with a small bite, and I do that with petit fours. After a large meal and many courses, people tend to want a small bite to satiate their sweet tooth. Usually guests can look forward to chocolates, macarons, or pate de fruit as an ending, but I thought it would be nice to try something different. Why not mini tarts and cream puffs? While not exactly ground breaking, I like playing with familiar flavors and making them bite-sized. First is a smores tart with a graham cracker crust, chocolate ganache, and toasted meringue. After is a lemon meringue tart with a vanilla crust, lemon curd, toasted meringue, and citrus tuile. Next is all chocolate with a chocolate crust, chocolate ganache, cocoa nib streusel, and Valrhona crunchy pearls. Last but not least is a salted caramel cream puff topped with a generous pour of chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of caramelized hazelnuts. Small bites with a bang.