Matcha Green Tea Latte Macarons

Green-Tea-Macarons-FFK

This blog is seriously lacking in desserts, isn’t it??

That is really, honestly, and truly, not a reflection on how often I bake and eat desserts though! This last week, I made a Caramel Toffee Crunch Cheesecake (Recipe from Yammie’s Noshery, one of my favorite food blogs) and a Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake (Recipe from The Shortlist) for the San Diego Chapter of the California Dietetic Association‘s Installation Dinner. For some reason, people always find it funny that desserts like these would be served to dietitians, but believe me when I say, that we dietitians like our dessert too! Rich and delicious and decadent, just like every one else. (Probably the only difference, is these two cakes fed about 35 people…It’s all about portion sizes!!!)

Installation Dinner Desserts

Left-Right: Dark Chocolate Gnache Cake, Caramel Toffee Cheesecake and Mint Chocolate Chip Macarons

I also made my first attempt at making French Macarons. I have read a lot of scary stuff about making them: Do you age your egg whites? Use cream of tartar? Get cornstarch-less powdered sugar? Do you have to turn your mixer off and gradually add your granulated sugar?? Do they have to sit overnight??

It seemed a little ridiculous! …and super intimidating.

Until I came across a no-fuss Mint Chocolate Chip Macaron recipe, (again, from Yammie’s Noshery) that seemed easy enough for me to make. And although mine were nowhere nearly as pretty as the pictures on her blog, they tasted delicious. I tried making a few adjustments to my technique, tried swapping out extracts and food coloring to create a little variety. Then watched this amazing youtube tutorial:

I felt like after I watched that video, I could take on the world! So, if you plan on making this recipe, or even a different macaron recipe, I would start with the above video. It gives you a really good visual of what “stiff peaks” looks like, how to fold in ingredients gently, and what the final consistency should be like.

Last shout out on my macaron journey: This super helpful troubleshooting guide to making macarons. I stumbled upon this when I was trying to figure out why my egg whites wouldn’t get to the stiff peak stage, no matter how much I whipped them. The answer was that I had a little bit of egg yolk in with my whites. I was being lazy and in the end, caused way too much more work for myself.

So, going back to the method I have adopted…

Start with either grinding your almonds to make almond meal, which I really know nothing about, OR you could purchase almond meal from Trader Joe’s. This is a versatile product you can use as a gluten free breading, or cut with flour to make lighter and fluffier desserts (perfect for making cake flour out of regular flour). I use 2/3 cup almond flour, but start with probably about 1 cup, (or two heaping scoops with my 1/3 cup measuring cup) and sift it a few times to get the grainy, husk part out of my mix. Then once I am happy with the consistency, I will sift in my powdered sugar and matcha green tea powder. Just keep in mind, you really can’t over sift these ingredients when making macarons.

In the mean time, you want to have pre-heated your oven to somewhere between 280-300. If it is too high, they won’t turn out. The original recipe I followed said 280, but that seemed a little too low for my baking sheet. I have one air bake pan, that needs a higher temperature, and a regular aluminum pan, that 280 is perfect. So, moral of the story, you might need to experiment with your oven temp based on your altitude and baking sheets. If you watch the video above, she really stresses the importance of oven temperature, so listen to her (not me, I am not the expert!)

Stiff Peaks - The Fearless Flying Kitchen

Stiff Peaks Forming

Now, a lot of recipes call for aging your egg whites. If you want to, I am sure you would end up with a better product. But I really don’t have time for that, otherwise, I probably would never make macarons… So I just whip my egg whites straight out of the fridge. Make sure to not get any shell or yolk in there, or you’ll run into problems. Once the egg whites reach the “foamy” stage, you can go ahead and add your sugar. Again, I have encountered many different techniques with adding sugar (some turn off the mixer in-between adding each tablespoon and mixing a little at a time), but I choose the lazy method of just adding all my sugar at once. It works out just fine for me. Continue to mix your egg whites until you get to the stiff peaks stage. This will look a lot like the meringue you see on top of lemon pies. You know you have reached it because when you pull the mixer blade away, a peak will form, and won’t flop back over (which is what would happen if you were still in the “soft peak stage”).

Matcha Green Tea Macarons - Folding ingredients

Folding in ingredients

At this point, you want to add any additional wet ingredients, like food coloring or extracts. I added just a few drops of green food coloring, but you could add more to have a more robust color. Gently fold in these ingredients. The thing with using whipped egg whites as a leavening agent, is you can’t stir it too much, or you will let all the air get out (that you just trapped by whipping them), so less is really more with stirring and folding ingredients into egg whites. Once your additional wet ingredients are incorporated, you can fold in half of your dry ingredients and then once fully mixed, add the rest of the dry ingredients. This is another crucial step, because under-mixed macarons will crack easily, and over-mixed batter will spread out too thin. As I mentioned before, go up and watch the video (specifically, at 4:44), that will give you a great visual of what to look for. I started with undermixing my macarons, and they did have a lot of cracks and broke apart really easily.

Over Done Under Done

Examples of under-done and slightly over-done macarons

Once they are mixed, transfer to a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch-3/4 inch tip, and pipe about 1 inch circles, that are about 1/2 inch apart on the sheet. they won’t really spread like other types of cookies, but they will rise a little. Also, try to make them about the same shape and size, so they can fit together nicely. Once all piped out, hit the baking sheet (rather hard), a few times on the counter. I am told that this will help the cute little macaron feet develop, that are a signature for macarons. I feel like it is a little silly, but I do it any way. Then you just let your macarons rest for about 15-45 minutes, until they have hardened a little bit on the top. You want to be able to touch it with your finger and not have batter come off. Then just pop it in your preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until it easily slides off of your parchment paper, but has not started to brown. It is another step that you kind of have to be super careful about.

Chocolate Gnache

Cooled off and ready to get slapped with a big blog of gnache!

Once they are done in the oven, let them cool completely, I transfer them to a wire rack. They cool fairly quickly, so you can go ahead and start making your chocolate gnache filling…which is super easy. I was a little nervous that this wouldn’t turn out, because the chocolate was super super runny when assembling. But after it cooled back down to room temperature (or, fridge-temperature, rather), it was perfect. You just have to be a little careful with assembly, to not put too much on, and not let it spill over the sides (so, don’t squish the sandwiches together too much).

And the best part of this?? You can get all the ingredients you need to make this during your usual trip to TJ’s! No special stops for special ingredients. MAAAAYBE the food coloring, but that is really not necessary. The matcha powder is green and will give a little tint to the cookies, they just won’t be a super dark green.

So, have fun, and enjoy!!

Matcha Green Tea Macaron

Matcha Green Tea Latte Macarons

  • Servings: Approx 30
  • Difficulty: Hard
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Ingredients for Matcha Green Tea MacaronsIngredients:

  • 2/3 Cup Almond Flour (sifted)
  • 1 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar (Sifted)
  • 2 Tbsp Matcha Green Tea Latte Powder
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 5 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Few Drops Green Food Coloring

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 290 degrees. Line your baking sheets with a silpat or parchment paper.
  2. Sift almond flour, powdered sugar and Matcha green tea powder in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer (with a whisk attachment if available), beat egg whites until they get nice and foamy. Add granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time and then continue to beat until you reach the stiff peak stage.
  4. Gently fold in vanilla and green food coloring until just barely combined.
  5. Gently fold in half of the dry ingredients, then mix until fully incorporated, then add the rest of the dry ingredients and fold until completely incorporated and it reaches the “lava flow” phase (this just means that it will flow off of a spoon when you raise it up, and then once it falls back into the mixture, it retains its shape, up slowly envelopes back into the mix).
  6. Using a pastry bag with a 1/2-3/4 inch tip, pipe the mix on top your baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between cookies. Make them about 1 inch in diameter. Once all are piped out, hit the pan on the counter a few times. This helps to develop the signature feet. Then let them rest for 15-45 minutes, or until they develop a hard “shell.”
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until they can easily pop off of your baking sheet and have not yet browned.
  8. Let cool completely, then fill with chocolate gnache and sandwich it up!

Chocolate Gnache Filling 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Whipping Cream

Directions:

  1. Place Chocolate Chips, Butter and Whipping Cream in a microwave safe dish, and microwave at 50% power for ~ 1-2 minutes, or until completely melted (or if you have a double boiler, you can melt them all together over the stove).
  2. Stir until completely blended together.

Matcha Green Tea Macarons

Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom. Can I eat them? Can I eat them?

Tortilla Crusted Chicken Tenders

Tortilla-Crusted-Chicken-Tenders-Main

Chicken tenders seem to be a classic food item that appear on kids menus across america. Often these crispy crowd pleasers are battered or breaded and deep fried (or at least pan fried!) Not necessarily something I want my kid having on a daily basis. They also are on the “no-no” list for individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, due to the bread crumb coating.

But have no fear, the Fearless Flying Chef is here to rescue this disastrous meal!!

The first task at hand was to make it a meal that kids (and adults) with food allergies and sensitivities can enjoy. The second was to eliminate the deep fryer (because, let’s be honest, I don’t even own one and don’t plan on buying one). After a few tweaks to your standard chicken strips recipe, this one was definitely a keeper.

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I have made a version of this before with regular hummus and bread crumbs, and it was a hit. So I decided to give it a “South of the Boarder” twist with the Cilantro& Jalapeño Hummus as the binder and crushed White Corn Tortilla Chips as the breading. This makes for a slightly messy and little more involved process, but the end result is worth it!

Tortilla Crusted Chicken Tenders

Ingredients:

  • 8 Chicken Tenders (one package)
  • Half container of Cilantro & Jalapeño Hummus
  • 2-3 Cups Tortilla Chips, Crushed
  • Finely Shredded Mexican Cheese
  • Cooking Spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Prepare a 9X12 glass baking dish by spraying lightly with your favorite cooking spray. I used coconut oil spray (my first time using this product), but also stock my cabinet with a sprayable Olive Oil.
  2. Crush tortilla chips (in food processor or manually) and pour out into a dish.
  3. Stir hummus well, then smother each chicken tender with hummus until covered. I used about half of a container for this. Then drudge the chicken tenders into the tortilla chips until covered. Place on prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese (lightly).
  4. Once all of the chicken is smothered and drudged and placed in the baking dish, place in oven in a center rack for ~ 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165˚F. Turn once and sprinkle other side with cheese.
  5. Remove from oven and let rest ~5 minutes.

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I served this meal with Corn on the Cob, and honestly, had such high aspirations for making a delicious grilled corn. But instead, I went the lamest route possible and MICROWAVED it. Olive still loved it, and my husband and I ate it up just fine. But it probably would have been so much better if I grilled it for a few minutes too. I also heated up a can of Organic Black Beans and sautéed some zucchini and bell peppers in a little bit of Olive Oil as a side (with just some salt and pepper). Very simple and nutritious sides. We also had watermelon as an appetizer. It was intended to be served with dinner, but it never lasts long in our home. Definitely doesn’t last long enough for a picture!

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Quinoa Crust Quiche

Quinoa Quiche

My dietitian friend of mine, we’ll just call her Rachael,  has been having stomach issues for the past two years. After going to several doctors, her final diagnosis was IBS, which is usually the “we can’t find anything definitively wrong with you, so we’ll call it IBS so you stop showing up in our office.” Usually the treatment for IBS includes having a balanced diet, exercise and stress management. She did a bit of research on the Low FODMAP diet and after trying it for a few days, her symptoms finally went away and she felt “normal” again.

Since IBS is a very (very) common complaint and diagnosis, we gave the LowFODMAP diet a test run in my house a few months back. I found it very difficult to prepare meals for, because everything I use in almost all of my dishes were on the “no-no” list: ONIONS, GARLIC, WHEAT, LACTOSE, and many forms of FRUCTOSE (many fruits as well as high fructose corn syrup).  For those suffering from abdominal distress and pain, making a few slight dietary changes though doesn’t seem to be an issue.

One of my standard meals I make on an almost weekly basis is quiche. It is my “clean out the fridge” meal that is packed with veggies and I always have the standard ingredients. I also can whip up a crust in less than 5 minutes in my kitchen aid (Using this recipe from William’s Sonoma, but omitting the sugar). Quiche also happens to have an abundance of onions, garlic, wheat and lactose in it (well, mine does any way). I decided to attempt to make a pie crust out of quinoa, since wheat and wheat flour was not allowed.
And to my dismay, it actually turned out pretty good! I was surprised by how much I liked it.

Since I was doing things completely out of the box, I went all out and added some bacon, and used half hard boiled eggs and half raw eggs in the mix (normal quiche recipes don’t use hard boiled eggs)…and it turned out just fine!

So, here is what I did:

Quinoa Crust Quiche

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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QUINOA CRUST:

  • 1 heaping cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients well and mash along the bottom  and up the sides of a 9″ pie pan. Bake for about 10 minutes. Leave the oven on, you’ll be using it again real soon.

QUICHE:

  • 3 strips of bacon, crumbled and cooked
  • 2 slices of swiss cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 big ole’ zucchini, shredded with a grater
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tomatoes (enough to cover the top of the pie)
  • 1 oz goat cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (because of the FODMAPS diet, I used Lactaid)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions:

On top of the baked crust, add bacon and swiss cheese. Cook the zucchini, basil and baby spinach for a few minutes in a pan (I used the same pan that I cooked the bacon in, just drained some of the bacon fat). Add cooked zucchini, basil and spinach to the pie. Mix together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Pour over the bacon, swiss cheese, zucchini, basil and spinach. Top with tomatoes and goat cheese. Pop it in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the quiche has set.

Serve along side a simple salad of greens mixed with equal parts Balsamic Glaze and Meyer Lemon Olive Oil with freshly ground sea salt and pepper.