Monday, October 24, 2011

LADUREE Macaroons

I stumbled upon LADUREE today in the city.
I had planned to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art because it was my day off and I have never been. I have lived a stones through away from the city for a year and a half and have hardly explored. So yes! Today was my day to hit up some culture in NYC.

I trudged through multiple subways. which I am just now becoming comfortable with, all the way up to 82nd and 5th. I am silently congratulating myself for making it there without any issues when I look up at the steps to find... its closed on Mondays. And so is the Whitney.

So I quickly readjusted my plans to wandering around the area. 

Had some lunch in the park. 

Wandered south on Madison Avenue, until this cheery image popped into view. 
Now, a few months ago, I decided to try my hand at french macaroons. These pretty little sandwiches caught my attention, and so with much research, I learned that I had chosen the most difficult little cookies in the world of baking. Several attempts and bags of almond flour later, I came up with these. 

They were a tad dry but not bad. However, while researching, I learned that LADUREE in Paris is the gold standard for macaroons. AND I learned that a LADUREE was opening in NYC! 

And then I forgot about the whole macaroon obsession until today. 
So of course, I bought a box of eight amazing, gold standard, french macaroons. 
Such a pretty little green box. 

They were definitely the BEST I have had. Perfectly moist insides with crisp, light outer shells and a delectable assortment of mouth watering flavors. 
Chocolate ganache, sea salt caramel, coconut, cinnamon, pistachios, grapefruit, coffee, and raspberry. 

Yes, I ate them on the couch, with my boyfriend. All of them. 
They were FANTASTIC and all I had hoped for. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chunk Cookie turned Strawberry Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

These were delicious, decadent and melty! 
So I made the cookies - sort of made up the chocolate chunk fleur de sel part because I happen to have the fleur de sel. 
1 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fleur de sel  and extra to sprinkle on top later
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
⅓ cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (8 ounces) Ghirardelli's bittersweet chocolate chunks ( I hand chopped from the big bar)

Heat oven to 350 F. 
Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. 
Cream together butter and sugars. Then add egg and vanilla. 
Slowly mix in dry mixture on low speed.  
When its nicely combined, fold in chocolate. 

I put the dough in the fridge for about a 1/2 hour while I did some dishes and general kitchen clean up. I have read that keeping the dough in the fridge for 24 hours is a good idea for cookie texture and appearance. I will not be testing this out this time around. When you have an anxious for ice cream cookie sandwiches boyfriend, there is no time for aging dough. 

So I spooned the dough onto my parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Then sprinkle the fleur de sel onto the tops of each cookie. 
Bake for about 2 minutes per tray until bottoms are golden brown. 
These cookies ended up super chocolate chunky and thick. The hint of salt was a nice touch, keeps the taste buds interested. 

Once the cookies are done, it is IMPORTANT to wait for them to cool. Resist the temptation to rush. The results of combining warm cookies with ice cream may seem obvious...
Finally, once the cookies are cool, just sandwich in some Häagen-Dazs Strawberry ice cream. I sort of smooshed it around like they do at Coldstone Creamery so it was nicely spreadable. 
And there you have a decadent treat!  Eat with a fork, they're messy. 

My Jersey City view of downtown Manhattan.

Early morning out in the neighborhood! I live in the Paulus Hook neighborhood and love it. There are some really great restaurants, little gourmet grocery stores, and plenty of parks and views of the water. It is quiet here in comparison to a place like Hoboken but there is still plenty to do and definitely more parking!
I am from the eastern shore of Maryland and am used to living close to the water and having lots of boats around. Moving up to New Jersey, I had not planned to end up so close to marinas, as well as being just a hop skip and a jump from the city.  But here I am.