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Cream cheese, chunks of mashed banana, and a splash of gold rum lend a mellow bite to this lightly boozy Banana Rum Coffee Cake. For more twists on rum cake, pick up a copy of our May/June 2019 issue!

Banana Rum Coffee Cake
 
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¼ cups (275 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg (50 grams)
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) gold rum
  • 2½ cups (313 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ¾ cup (171 grams) mashed banana
  • Pecan Streusel (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 9-inch square cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until combined. Add brown sugar, and beat until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg, beating well. Beat in gold rum.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to cream cheese mixture alternately with mashed banana, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Spoon batter into prepared pan, smoothing top. Top with Pecan Streusel.
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 55 minutes, loosely covering with foil during last 15 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
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Pecan Streusel
 
Makes about 1¼ cups
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (63 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (55 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) gold rum
  • ½ cup (57 grams) chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt. Add butter and gold rum, and using your fingertips, mix until crumbly and desired consistency is reached. Mix in pecans. Refrigerate until ready to use.
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Don’t let your busy schedule stop you from baking. Plan ahead and make the most of your time in the kitchen with our new Baking Made Easy special issue. From zesty summer berry bars to a peach-filled coconut cake, our make-ahead-friendly recipes come with our best tips to simplify the baking process in the days leading up to when you’re ready to serve. Whether you want to get a head start on Memorial Day baking or have a buttery coffee cake ready for impromptu visits, this issue will make baking ahead smoother than ever before.

Find these Memorial Day-ready recipes and more in the issue!

  1. Coconut Peach Cake

Blending one traditional Southern classic, the cloud-like coconut cake, with blushing stone fruit, this triple-layer cake is an undeniable showstopper. A final coating of toasted coconut flakes brings a dash of color to the typically snowy-white appearance.

Photography by Matt Armendariz / Recipe Development and Food Styling by Marian Cooper Cairns

2. Oatmeal Cherry Walnut Cookies

Who needs raisins when you can have a much bigger, even sweeter flavor impact with plump dried cherries? If walnuts are not your jam, pecans or hazelnuts are great substitutes. Be sure to toast the nuts for optimal flavor. Baking at 350°F (180°C) until the nuts smell slightly fragrant, about 8 minutes, will do the trick.

3. Pain au Levain

Made with the dependable workhorse of the kitchen, the Dutch oven, this sourdough boule is a humble but mighty loaf with rustic charm.

Recipe Development by Kate Wood

4. Black Bottom Peanut Butter Pie

Kate Wood of the blog The Wood and Spoon has enjoyed her fair share of diner-style peanut butter pie, and this rich version pays homage to those early slices from her childhood. The brown sugar-pretzel crust really amps up the sweet and salty factor—always a plus in her book.

Photography by Matt Armendariz / Recipe Development and Food Styling by Marian Cooper Cairns

5. Summer Berry Crumb Bars

To brighten up these picnic-perfect bars even more, we added fresh lime zest to the batter for a citrusy sweet-tart kick. Customize with your own mix of available farmers’ market berries, or try pitted fresh cherries for equally delicious results.

The post Memorial Day Must-Bakes from our Baking Made Easy Special Issue appeared first on Bake from Scratch.

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Bits of juicy pineapple and toasty pecan coalesce with sweet banana and warm notes of cinnamon, all blanketed in swoops of Cream Cheese Frosting. This hefty cake is far less diminutive than the bird it’s named for. You don’t cream the butter and sugar. (No stand mixer needed for the cake layers!) This method, along with the myriad of batter ingredients, lends a dense, crumbly texture that verges on half-cake, half-quick bread. It tastes even better the next day. 

Find more make ahead-friendly recipes in our Baking Made Easy special issue!

Classic Hummingbird Cake
 
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
Ingredients
  • 3⅓ cups (417 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1⅓ cups (267 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon (3.75 grams) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup (57 grams) chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup (227 grams) mashed ripe banana
  • ¾ cup (168 grams) canola oil
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (200 grams) finely chopped fresh pineapple
  • Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper; butter and flour pans again.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg; stir in pecans. In a medium bowl, stir together banana, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Make a well in center of flour mixture; add banana mixture, stirring just until moistened. Fold in pineapple. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  3. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
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Cream Cheese Frosting
 
Makes about 5½ cups
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces (455 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 6½ cups (780 grams) confectioners’ sugar
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth. Use immediately.
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Prep Tip:
Toast pecans, and freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months ahead of time.

Plan Ahead:
2 Days Ahead: Make Cream Cheese Frosting. Refrigerate in an airtight container.

1 Day Ahead: Bake cake layers. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Day of: Let Cream Cheese Frosting come to room temperature and rewhip if necessary. Frost and assemble cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

The post Prep Now, Bake This Classic Hummingbird Cake Later appeared first on Bake from Scratch.

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The classic Southern pairing of bourbon and pecans stars in this blondie batch. The batter is as versatile as they come, so you can sub out the bourbon and pecan for any other type of liquor or nuts. Président® butter, the official butter of Bake from Scratch, is behind these blondies’s extra fudge texture, as well as their sweet butterscotch notes.

Bourbon Pecan Blondies
 
Makes 12 blondies
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (440 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter*, melted and cooled slightly
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups (170 grams) chopped pecans, divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add melted butter, stirring just until combined. Stir in bourbon and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Stir in flour and 1 cup (113 grams) pecans just until combined. Spread batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup (57 grams) pecans.
  3. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on wire rack. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan, and cut into 12 blondies. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Notes
*We used Président.
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Learn how to properly freeze your dough and baked goods for quick, anytime treats that’ll satisfy every craving and occasion!

How to freeze unfrosted, baked cake layers:

  1. Prep: Make sure baked cake layers, Bundts, and other unfrosted cakes are completely cool. For optimal freshness, keep Bundt cakes, pound cakes, and other one-layer cakes whole.

2. Package: For cake layers, wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and then place into resealable bags. For Bundt cakes, tube cakes, and other one-layer cakes, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and seal in a resealable bag.   

3. Freeze: Baked cakes can keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

4. Defrost: To frost, remove cake layers from wrapping and frost while still frozen. Let frosted and unfrosted cakes come to room temperature, about 3 hours or let thaw in refrigerator overnight.

The post 4 Easy Steps to Freeze Unfrosted Cakes appeared first on Bake from Scratch.

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Simple and elegant, this berry-studded layer cake is an ode to spring’s fresh produce. Generous swoops of cream cheese-laced whipped cream bring a note of tanginess to balance out the sweet berries. Find more showstopping layer cakes in our Cake 2019 special issue!

Berries and Cream Layer Cake
 
Makes 1 (8-inch) cake
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs (200 grams), room temperature
  • 3 cups (375 grams) self-rising flour
  • 1 cup (240 grams) whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • Whipped Cream-Cream Cheese Frosting
  • (recipe follows)
  • 1 pound (454 grams) fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 cups (340 grams) fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups (340 grams) fresh raspberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour 2 (8-inch) round tall-sided cake pans; line pans with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour, beating just until combined after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
  5. Spread half of Whipped Cream-Cream Cheese Frosting onto one cake layer. Place 8 strawberry halves around outside edge of cake. Fill center with half of blueberries and half of raspberries. Repeat layers once. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
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Whipped Cream-Cream Cheese Frosting
 
Makes about 5 cups
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups (480 grams) heavy whipping cream, room temperature
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth. Add sugar, vanilla, and salt, beating until combined. With mixer on high speed, add cream, beating until stiff peaks form. Use immediately.
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Win Mother’s Day brunch with this French-inspired pastry. Pillowy, buttery, and packed with brandy-soaked raisins, our Pain au Raisin Sweet Rolls make the perfect pièce de résistance. These rolls are inspired by the pain aux raisins, a swirl of puff pastry filled with raisins and pastry cream. Adapted into a home baker-friendly recipe—we used brioche instead of laminated dough and a quick frangipane instead of pastry cream—these rolls are Mother’s Day brunch made easy.

Pain aux Raisins Sweet Rolls
 
Makes 6 rolls
Ingredients
  • 3½ tablespoons (52.5 grams) warm whole milk (105°F/41°C to 110°F/43°C)
  • 3½ tablespoons (42 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1¼ teaspoons (3.75 grams) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams), room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • 9 tablespoons (126 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup (114 grams) raisins
  • ⅓ cup (60 grams) golden raisins
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) warm brandy
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • Frangipane (recipe follows)
  • 1 large egg white (30 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) water, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons (6 grams) Swedish pearl sugar
  • ⅓ cup (107 grams) apricot preserves
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine warm milk, 1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar, and yeast. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup (125 grams) flour and eggs; beat at medium-low speed until mostly smooth, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. (Some small lumps remaining are OK.) Cover and let stand in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until slightly puffed with small bubbles forming over top and at edges, 30 to 45 minutes.
  2. Using the dough hook attachment, add salt, remaining 1 cup (125 grams) flour, and remaining 2½ tablespoons (30 grams) granulated sugar; beat at low speed just until combined. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until dough is elastic and quite smooth, 7 to 10 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add softened butter, 1 tablespoon (14 grams) at a time, letting each piece incorporate before adding the next. (Dough should pass the windowpane test; see PRO TIP.) Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 40 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, turn out dough; fold dough 4 to 6 times to knock out air. Return dough to bowl; cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or up to 8 hours. (You can also do an overnight proof for a maximum of 12 hours. Make sure to place the dough in a large bowl, giving it room to grow.)
  4. In a medium bowl, combine raisins and warm brandy; let soak for 20 minutes.
  5. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a pastry brush, coat 6 (3-inch) copper soufflé molds* with melted butter, using vertical strokes up sides. Flour molds, shaking out excess. Place molds on prepared pan.
  6. Turn out dough onto a heavily floured surface; lightly sprinkle top of dough with flour. Roll dough into a 16x10-inch rectangle. Using a small offset spatula, dot Frangipane onto dough; spread into an even layer, leaving a ½-inch border on one long side. Sprinkle soaked raisins over Frangipane. Starting with borderless long side, roll dough into a 16-inch log. Gently shape log with hands to right length and more even thickness, if necessary. Using a serrated knife dipped in flour, cut log into 6 (2½-inch-thick) slices, trimming ends if necessary. Place rolls, cut side down, in prepared molds. Loosely cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until dough springs back when touched, 20 to 35 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash onto top of rolls; sprinkle with pearl sugar.
  9. Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool in molds for 5 minutes. Carefully remove from molds, and place on a wire rack.
  10. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine preserves and remaining 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water. Microwave on high in 10-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve; discard solids. Using a pastry brush, glaze top of rolls with apricot mixture. Serve warm.
Notes
*We used Mauviel M’Passion Mini Copper Souffllé Molds. This recipe also works in tall (2 inch-high) 8-ounce ramekins or jumbo muffin cups.
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Pro Tip

Test the dough for proper gluten development. Pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull dough out from center. If dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent. If dough tears, it’s not quite ready.

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Piled high with a pillowy Peanut Butter Frosting and topped with fresh strawberries and strawberry preserves, this cake is an ode to the satisfying combination of strawberries and peanut butter. It’s like the PB & J sandwiches of your childhood, now in cake form.

Strawberry Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
 
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ¾ cup (180 grams) whole milk, room temperature
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature
  • ¾ cup (240 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (40 grams) strawberry preserves,* divided
  • Peanut Butter Frosting (recipe follows)
  • 2 cups (340 grams) fresh strawberries, halved
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C). Butter and flour a 9x2-inch round cake pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; butter and flour again.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt by hand; make a well in center of flour mixture. With mixer on low speed, add milk, melted butter, and vanilla, beating until almost smooth, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in ¾ cup (240 grams) preserves. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Tap pan on counter twice to release air bubbles.
  3. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a wire rack, and let cool completely. Spread Peanut Butter Frosting over top of cake.
  4. Wash bowl, and dry well. Add strawberries and remaining 2 tablespoons (40 grams) preserves, and toss together. Spoon over frosting.
Notes
*We used Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves.
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Peanut Butter Frosting
 
Makes about 1¼ cups
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (128 grams) creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (120 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons (15 to 20 grams) whole milk, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat peanut butter and butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, milk, and salt, beating until smooth.
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Packed with vanilla in every layer, these Vanilla Bean Macarons spotlight the richness of Heilala Vanilla. Heilala’s premium vanilla beans and vanilla extract lend warmth and a wealth of vanilla speckles to our chewy shells. We make these macarons even richer by filling them with a velvety Caramelized White Chocolate Buttercream, heightened by Heilala’s exceptional extract. A final roll in Heilala Vanilla Sugar takes this French classic to a whole new level of élégance.

Get 20% off your Heilala Vanilla purchase on Amazon by applying the code BAKEFS07 at checkout! Code valid until July 31, 2019.

Vanilla Bean Macarons
 
Makes about 20 sandwich cookies
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ cups (128 grams) blanched almond flour
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (127 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large egg whites (90 grams), room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean*, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) vanilla extract*
  • Caramelized White Chocolate Buttercream (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: vanilla sugar
Instructions
  1. Using a permanent marker, draw 1½-inch circles 1 inch apart on 2 sheets of parchment paper. Place parchment on 2 rimmed baking sheets; top with nonstick baking mats.
  2. In the work bowl of a food processor, place flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt; process until well combined. Sift flour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar, and beat at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in flour mixture in thirds until a loose batter forms. Fold in vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract.
  4. Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip (Ateco #804). Pipe batter onto drawn circles underneath mats, holding piping tip perpendicular to pans. Apply pressure, leaving tip stationary, until batter reaches drawn circle. Move and lift tip in a quick circular motion as you finish piping each macaron to prevent points from forming on top of the macaron. Slam pans vigorously on counter 5 to 7 times to release air bubbles. Let stand at room temperature until a skin forms on top of cookies, about 1 hour. (The batter should feel dry to the touch and should not stick to the finger.)
  5. Preheat oven to 275°F (140°C).
  6. Bake, one pan at a time, until firm to the touch, about 15 minutes, rotating pan every 5 minutes. Let cool completely on pans. (If you have trouble removing macarons from baking sheets, place pans in freezer for about 15 minutes.)
  7. Place Caramelized White Chocolate Buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a small round tip (Ateco #802). Pipe buttercream onto flat side of half of cookies. Place remaining cookies, flat side down, on top of buttercream. Roll edges in vanilla sugar, if desired.
Notes
*We used Heilala Vanilla Beans and Heilala Pure Vanilla Extract.
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Make Ahead

Bake macarons the day before assembling. Once the cookies cool, wrap top of baking sheet in plastic wrap, and leave overnight.

Caramelized White Chocolate Buttercream
 
Makes about 1½ cups
Ingredients
  • 6 ounces (175 grams) high-quality white chocolate baking chips*
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (120 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250°F (130°C).
  2. In a completely dry 9-inch round cake pan, combine chocolate and salt.
  3. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. (At times, the chocolate will look very dry and chalky, but keep stirring until smooth.) Pour chocolate into a medium bowl; let stand, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until cool.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add cooled white chocolate, beating well. Reduce mixer to low speed. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla bean seeds, and vanilla extract, beating until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Use immediately.
Notes
White chocolate needs to be over 30% cocoa butter. We used Valrhona Ivoire 35% White Chocolate.
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Make Ahead

Caramelize your white chocolate (steps 2 and 3) up to 4 four months before making your buttercream. After step 3, pour cooled chocolate onto a parchment paper-lined sheet tray, and let cool for at least 7 hours or overnight. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container for up to 4 months. When ready to make the buttercream, melt caramelized white chocolate in the top of a double boiler, and let cool before continuing with step 4.

The post Vanilla Bean Macarons appeared first on Bake from Scratch.

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In the market for vanilla? Learn how to choose wisely with our buyer’s guide below!

Vanilla Beans: Look for plump, shiny vanilla beans, and stay away from those that look dry. To test the quality of the beans, shake the bottle when you’re at the store. If the beans clink inside, it means they’re dry.

Vanilla Extract: Check the label of the vanilla extract you’re buying. Avoid extracts marked “imitation vanilla.” These are chemically produced from synthetic vanillin and can leave a bitter taste in your recipes. Pure vanilla extract, while more expensive, is always best. Look for dark extracts over clear or caramel-colored ones to make sure you’re buying pure vanilla.

Vanilla Paste: Vanilla paste is a blend of vanilla extract and vanilla bean powder. To ensure you’re getting the maximum amount of flavor, look for a paste that uses ground vanilla bean powder instead of powder collected from the extraction process. The label will specify that it contains vanilla bean seeds or vanilla beans instead of vanilla powder.

Vanilla Sugar: Vanilla sugar is sugar that’s been infused with vanilla beans and sometimes contains vanilla bean powder. Vanilla sugar is available in most specialty foods stores and is carried in select grocery stores in the baking aisle. Once you’ve used vanilla beans and dried them thoroughly, you can place them in a container with granulated sugar to make your own vanilla sugar. (You can do the same with salt.)

Vanilla Syrup: Made of simple syrup imbued with vanilla bean seeds, vanilla syrup is delicious as a soak for a cake, added to frosting, or simply splashed in your coffee. While it may be found in some specialty stores, it is widely available online through producers like Heilala Vanilla.

The post Vanilla 101: A Baker’s Guide To Buying Vanilla appeared first on Bake from Scratch.

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