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How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, I wanted to do something special for my mom, as we all do.  My parents moved to Ottawa when I was in university and have since retired and have spent most of their time traveling the world.  While I’m super happy that they’re healthy and able to do so, they aren’t around for most holidays and I only see them a few times a year. I miss them a lot and Mother’s Day is no exception.  But this year my parents were going to be in town, so I want to go all out!  Except…I’m in between contracts at the moment and am on a tight budget.  All the fancy high tea spots are ch-ching!  So, I decided to do my own tea party at home.  Time to bust open my go-to baking book: Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.  I decided to tackle her Petits Fours recipe: mini almond cakes covered in a white chocolate glaze.  I’ll show you how to make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours…or at least, how I tried to make them…

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

The first problem I faced was that I couldn’t find almond paste anywhere.  I guess it’s more of a specialty baking ingredient?  But none of the major supermarkets in Toronto had this paste.  So, I made some myself and it was quick and easy.  I found this recipe on the Taste of Home site – now I need to find more desserts that use almond paste ’cause I have a whole block of the stuff!

Making the almond cake went smoothly.  I made sure my butter was at room temperature, and carefully added the ingredients one at a time.  I timed the butter exactly for two minutes and the mixture became nice and fluffy.  I used a big spatula when adding the yolks and vanilla and added the flour in three parts.  Things were going well!

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

For the next step, I started to feel intimidated…egg whites!  Peaks and foam!  But I had faith in my trusted Kitchen Aid mixer and soon I saw some foamy whites start to form.  I carefully added the sugar and low and behold – peaks!  Ever so gently I folded a third of this fluffy mixture into the egg yolk mixture and then spread it evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet. I made sure to rotate the pan halfway, and out came a heavenly almond cake!

Man, I love the smell of almond.  Everything smells so lovely, like a sweet, nutty dream.  I could just close my eyes, and take a wonderful cozy, nap…

But there is still more work to do!

The next step is the chocolate part.  As in, the most expensive ingredient that I CANNOT BURN part. The glaze was actually the easy step, because the cream is poured over the chocolate to melt it. Make sure the cakes are completely cooled by this point or they will melt the chocolate!  I found glazing the cakes to be a bit tricky.  Even though I worked quickly, my glaze was pretty thick.  It tasted delish, but I don’t know how to get the glaze thin and evenly spooned over the cakes.  In the photos her glaze looks almost transparent.  I almost feel as though it would be easier to dip them?  But in any case, my cakes are glazed.

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

The final step was to make the white chocolate cut outs.  I found this stage to be the most difficult, and gosh darn it I did end up burning some chocolate!  Luckily there was a lot leftover but initially I had wanted to make blue and pink Petits Fours.  The blue unfortunately turned a little, urm darker then I would have liked.  Do not let your eyes off the chocolate people!  Work quickly and stir, stir, stir!  

This part is tricky because you need to keep the chocolate warm enough to work with, and not burn it.  I would advise to stick to one colour and try to avoid fiddling around with the tint.  Just melt the chocolate until the texture is smooth and runny, tint and pour.  My shapes turned out a bit too thick because I was trying to get the “perfect shade of pink” so by the time I poured into the pan the chocolate had cooled quite a bit.

However, the other issue is that if the chocolate is two thin, the shapes will crack.  The shapes that worked out best for me were the thicker ones.  Whenever I tried to cut out thinner areas the chocolate would break.  I think the problem was that I might have chilled the sheet of chocolate for too long. I would recommend chilling for no longer then 10 minutes, so hopefully this way you can have thin cut outs that will hold.

For the finishing touch you can use some Royal Icing to design pretty patterns on top.  I thought the cakes were sweet enough and I liked the cool textured patterns that the chocolate created.

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

Ta-Da!  There you have it – some delightful Petits Fours for your Mother’s Day tea party.  No problem right?  Phew!  That was actually quite a lot of work.  Martha likes to keep you on your toes!  And how do they taste?  Well I absolutely LOVE the almond cake.  Yum, yum, yum, I had to restrain myself from eating all the cut out remains!  The white chocolate glaze in addition to the cut outs does make this a very sweet dessert.  Personally, I would be happy with just the glaze, but then again, I also have to perfect my glazing and cutout skills.

 

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours
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Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

These delectable little almond cakes are topped with white chocolate and are a pretty addition to any tea party.

Course Dessert, Tea Party
Cuisine French
Prep Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings 36 cakes
Author Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 1.5 sticks unsalted butter (3/4 cup) room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond paste (not marzipan)
  • 6 large eggs separated
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds white chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • White Chocolate Cutouts
  • Royal Icing, for decorating

For the White Chocolate Cutouts

  • 2 1/4 pounds best-quality white chocolate finely chopped
  • liquid or gel-paste food colouring

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Butter a 17x 12" baking sheet and line with parchment paper.  Butter parchment and dust with flour, tapping off the excess.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1 1/4 cups sugar and the almond paste on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add butter, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the egg yolks and vanilla; mix to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside.

  3. Prep sugar.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites until foamy.  With the mixer running, gradually sprinkle in remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and beat until soft peaks form.  Add a third of the egg-white mixture to the egg-yolk mixture and fold with a whisk.  Gently fold in remaining whites.

  4. Spread batter evenly on prepared sheet, and bake, turning pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

  5. Invert the cake onto a large work surface, and peel off parchment paper.  Using assorted 2-inch cookie cutters, cut out cakes.  Place cakes on wire racks set over rimmed baking sheets; set aside.

  6. Place the white chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.  In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium-high heat; pour over white chocolate, and let sit for 1 minute.  Stir until mixture is smooth.  Spoon melted chocolate over cakes, letting some run down the sides; spread with a small offset spatula to coat completely.  Transfer glazed cakes to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.  Place a White Chocolate Cutouts on top of each cake; decorate with Royal Icing, if desired.  Cakes can be refiderated in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.

White Chocolate Cutouts

  1. Line three rimmed baking sheets with parchment; set aside.  In a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water, melt white chocolate, stirring constantly.  Divide melted chocolate evenly among three small bowls; tint each with food colouring to desired shade.  Pour a coloured chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it with an offset spatula into a layer about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to the refrigerator; chill until chocolate is firm, 10-15 minutes.  Repeat with remaining coloured chocolates.

  2. Working with one colour at a time, cut out shapes; leave shapes in place on the sheet.  (If chocolate is still soft in any area, return to the fridge to harden, 1-2 minutes).  Refrigerate until completely firm.  Separate the shapes from borders with a small offset spatula.  (Scraps can be discarded or remelted and used again.) Cutouts can be refrigerated, between sheets or parchment paper, in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all those amazing moms out there!  It’s a hard job and I greatly admire all my friends who have taken on the responsibility.  You deserve all the Petits Fours in the world!

 Have you made Petits Fours before?  Can you give me some tips?  How did you find glazing the cakes?  Did your cutouts crack?  

What did you make your mom for Mother’s Day, I want to know!

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

With the holidays season in full swing, these Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins are a healthy breakfast or dessert in between all the wine, cheese and other treats we indulge in this time of year.  After a weekend of stuffing my face, I crave fruit and fiber – an apology to my body for having no will power when I see a cheese platter.  I’ve fully accepted that as I get older, I can no longer eat with total reckless abondon, and need to be kind to my stomach even during the holidays.

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

This past fall, my girlfriends and I spent the day apple picking at Puddicombe Estate Farms, an annual tradition. With a bushel of fruit in my fridge the possibilities were endless! Over the past month I made lots of cider, apple crisp, apple butter and for my last five precious apples I decided to bake these muffins.  Easy to make and a quick, portable breakfast or snack, my boyfriend and I are big muffin fans and when we bake together, we like to throw in all kinds of different ingredients and try out new flavour combinations.

One of my staple dishes I like to make during the holidays is a cornmeal and apple stuffing, such a tasty pairing!  This inspired me to include some cornmeal to add some natural sweetness and density.  While I added a bit of brown sugar, they are mainly sweetened with honey and the apples.  To add to the heartiness, I also threw in some ground flax seeds for extra fiber. Packed full of apples with some cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for that holiday spice, these muffins are a healthy sweet treat.

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 12

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup stone ground cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon baking power
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups peeled, cored, cubed McIntosh apples
  • 1 apple peeled, cored, cubed, halved and thinly sliced for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line with muffin cups.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, flax seeds, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the banana, egg, sugar, honey, oil and vanilla.
  4. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine being careful not to overmix. Fold in the apples.
  5. Evenly spoon the batter among the muffin cups. Top with a slice of apple.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes on the middle rack, rotating the pan halfway until the muffins are golden and a toothpick comes out clean when tested.
  7. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  8. Best serve warm or at room temperature and will keep in a cookie tin for up to 5 days.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/10/24/apple-cornmeal-flax-muffins/

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

My Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins were inspired by my favourite holiday dish, what are your favourite flavours?

Quest For The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie: Martha Stewart’s Thin and Crisp Chocolate Chip Cookies

Martha Stewart's Thin & Crisp Chocolate Chip Cookies

Martha Stewart’s Thin & Crisp Chocolate Chip Cookies

During this quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, one must ask themselves a very important question: Chewy or Crispy?  I always thought without a doubt that chewy was the only way to go but after I tried Martha’s Thin and Crispy cookies I feel a little torn between the two options.  Her cookies are perfectly light and buttery, making them very addictive!  The cookies in this photo turned out a little square because I didn’t have time to bake a third batch.  But I actually quite like the shape, and the result was a larger cookie so whose to complain?

  • yield Makes about 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, 1/4 cup water, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake until cookies are golden brown 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

QUEST COOKIE RATING – 8.5 – [10 =  perfect — 1 = would not make again]