July 11, 2017

Dig In: Crowd-Pleasing Baked Goods Best Eaten With Your Hands

Couples planning their wedding cakes are leaning toward a new trend: dessert tables, rather than a gargantuan cake for the whole gathering.

These bountiful buffets are for more than just wedding celebrations. People are laying out sweet spreads at family reunions, baby showers and more.

Here are two tiny treats Austin culinary students will love to dress up their dessert tables:

Lemon tassies

“Tassie” is the Scottish word for a tiny cup, and that’s just what these miniature confections are, according to Martha Stewart.

First, start with the cups.

Combine flour and cold butter in a food processor until the mixture looks crumbly. Add lemon zest, vanilla extract, an egg yolk, sugar and salt. Process until smooth, but don’t go overboard. Once combined, shape into cups using a greased mini muffin pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes.

Then, mix the filling.

Beat together cream cheese, egg, vanilla extract, lemon zest and juice, and sugar. Scoop the filling into the cooled cups and slide back into the oven. Bake until the filling has set and is starting to brown around the edges.

Top lemon tassies off with candied lemon zest.Candied lemon zest adds a bright touch to these tiny treats.

Finally, candy the lemon zest.

Keep lemon zest pieces long by using a vegetable peeler, then a sharp knife to julienne the strips. Soak in boiling water for a half hour. Make a simple syrup and add the soaked zest. Boil for 10 minutes. Roll the zest in sugar and let dry. Sprinkle on top of the cooled tassies.

Chocolate mint macarons

These fluffy French cookies are always a crowd pleaser, and this chocolate mint take on the classic dessert from Bake Love Give will not disappoint.

First, make the shells.

Begin with the dry ingredients: the all-important almond flour, confectioner’s sugar and salt. Sift to ensure a smooth shell.

In another bowl, whisk granulated sugar, four egg whites and cream of tartar. Begin whisking by hand, but feel free to switch to a stand mixer once combined. The meringue is done when stiff peaks form.

Fold the dry ingredients into the meringue. For a colorful touch, add green food coloring when the two mixtures are mostly combined. The batter is done with it’s thick and firm, and drips slowly from your paddle.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag with a ½-inch round tip. Pipe 1-inch cookies onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Tap the paper to ensure no air bubbles remain beneath the rounds. After a half hour, check for a crust. If the dough doesn’t stick to your finger, bake at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, rotating the pan after seven. Then, increase the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another nine minutes.

Now, move onto the ganache filling.

Boil corn syrup, cream and mint extract over medium heat. Pour over microwave-melted chocolate. Pause a minute, then mix together. Finally, add butter. Let cool until it can be transferred into a piping bag.

Pipe the chocolate filling onto the flat side of half of your shells. Sandwich with the other half.

For added effect, sprinkle some chocolate powder over all your macarons. Enjoy!