Meringues Kisses and more
Yes, I have a difficult relationship with bite size desserts, also known as mignardises or petits fours. I love them and I dislike them. I did not want to use the verb "hate" because I can’t truly hate anything sweet that passes through my lips.
I love them because one or two bites and hop! you can get on to the next one. They fit in one hand, you can carry your drink in the other and still be able to dance around at a party, not that I have ever tried . I love making them: playing with the bases, the fillings, the decorations. I love working assembly lines for a while. I love eating them.
And there you have it, the base of my dislike for them: I know no restrain when it comes to petits fours, bite sizes desserts and their numerous cousins! I always end up eating more than my share and feeling a wee bit of guilt. Thankfully, this feeling never lasted long enough to prevent me from eating them again!
When Jeanne from Cook Sister posted the theme for Sugar High Friday #24, "Little Bites of Delight", I got nervous. So many ideas popped in my head, the excitement of the task at hand, mixed with that fear of eating them all before others have the chance to try them.
I divised a plan: I would tell the neighbors precisely what I would be doing that Friday and invite them all for a little dessert party as soon as I’d be done with taking pictures. Guess what? The plan worked and we all had a great time, and I think I have finally mended my tough relationship with the morsels.
For the occasion I decided to go with 3 bite size desserts: Meringues Kisses, Caramel Vol Au Vents and Macarons filled with Honey Buttercream. They did not require me to purchase anything too fancy as it was pouring rain all day long and I did not feel like driving around. All the components can be made ahead of time and assembled last minute.
Meringues Kisses, adapted from Flo Braker.
For the dough:
4 oz. butter, room temperature
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup + 2 Tb. flour
Cream butter and sugar, add flour and salt. Divide the dough in half in between sheets of plastic wrap and pat to 1/4 inch thick. Refrigerate until firm.
Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove one package of dough form fridge and peel one sheet of plastic. Using the wide end of a pastry tip, cut out circles in the dough. Bake the cookies 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. Let cool completely and lower oven to 225 degrees.
For the meringue kisses:
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tb. cocoa
Whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and continue to whip until firm white peaks. Fold in the cocoa. Fill a pastry bag with a wide tipe wih the meringue and pipe on top of the cookie bases. Bake at 225 for 1 hour.
Since it was rainy and damp I turned the oven off but kept them in with the pilot light after the hour was up so they could get firm and dry.
Caramel Vol Au Vents, adapted from Flo Braker (for a definition of "vol au vents", click here)
For the cases:
1 sheet puff pastry
Using a 1 3/4 inch scalloped cookie cutter, cut shapes from the dough. With a 3/4 inch round cutter, stamp each pastry center wihout cutting all the way through the dough. Space the circles 1 inch apart on a baking sheet and bake at 375 until golden brown, 15-18 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and with a pairing knife remove the pastry circles marked in the center.
For the filling:
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup granulaed sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream, room temp
Bring the sugar and corn syrup to a boil, and continue boiling until light caramel colored. Remove from heat and add the heavy cream at once. Do not worry if it foams loke crazy, it will settle down. Stir with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Let cool completely.
When the filling is cool, spoon into the pastry shell and let stand until ready to eat.
Last bite size dessert today: Macarons with Honey Buttercream.
For the Macarons:
120 gr. egg whites, divided
35 gr. sugar
150 gr. finely ground almonds
150 gr. powdered sugar
For the boiling syrup:
150 gr. sugar and 50 gr. water
Sift the ground almonds and powdered sugar.
In a stand mixer, whip 60 gr. egg whites to soft peaks, add 35 gr. sugar.
In the meantime, in a saucepan on high heat bring the water and sugar for the syrup to 230 F. on a candy thermometer.
Slowly add the boiling syrup to the egg whites and continue to whip on medium – high speed until they are completely cooled and you have a shiny meringue (10-15 minutes).
Mix the remaining 60 gr. of egg whites and the sifted almond/sugar and carefully fold into the meringue.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the mixture and pipe macarons about 3 inches in diameter on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
You can let them sit at room temperature for 20 minutes if desired. This is often done to assure those little feet at the bottom but I found that I can skip this step with this recipe and still end up with the same result.
Bake at 320 for 15 minutes. Let cool.
For the Honey Buttercream:
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz. butter (2 sticks) room temp.
2 Tb. honey
Whip the egg yolks until light and fluffy with a stand mixer. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and bring the syrup to 238 on a cansy thermometer.
Pour over the yolks and quickly stir to combine. Return the bowl to stand mixer and whip at high speed until completely cold. Add the butter and mix in on medium speed. Add the honey and mix. Fill a pastry bag with the buttercream and layer your macarons with it. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
And here is a picture of the 3 assembled on a tray. It is one of the only shots of the whole thing as they were quick to disappear. Sweet Happy Hour!
You can tell I am digging those blog events, as seen in Grand Marnier Brulee in Egg Shells or Snow White’s Apple.
Sam October 28, 2006 um 4:00 am
All your petit fours look absolutely wonderful. The great thing about petit fours is that you can sample one or two or three of each. Great Job!
Bonnie October 28, 2006 um 9:08 am
Oh these are all so cute and beautiful! What an amazing amount of work that have gone into these!
Brilynn October 28, 2006 um 1:43 pm
Wow- you’ve gone above and beyond! I’m still impressed with anyone who can make such nice macaroons.
Lis October 28, 2006 um 4:33 pm
Those are adorable! I love how you made all of them with ingredients you already had on hand. I’m very happy when I find recipes that don’t involve me driving to the store for one ingredient.
Beautiful job – as always! 😀
La Cuisine d'Helene October 28, 2006 um 4:55 pm
Belles photos et merci pour les recettes. J’aime bien ton blog.
Anonymous October 28, 2006 um 5:52 pm
You have truly outdone yourself! If only every Friday could be this sweet!!!
Anonymous October 28, 2006 um 9:30 pm
Okay, overachiever! Dang, you went all out…..I threw something together last minute 🙂
All of it looks wonderful!
Alpineberry Mary October 29, 2006 um 12:34 am
I couldn’t even get my act together for one petit four and you made three! Yum yum yum!
Abby October 29, 2006 um 3:53 am
You, my dear, are an overachiever, and you’re an incredibly successful one at that! WOW.
I’ll have three of each, please.
Jeanne October 29, 2006 um 10:00 am
Oh *wow*! You are my hero… Three kinds of petit fours and such beautiful ones at that! I love the caramel vol au vent idea, and both your macaroons and meringue kisses look absolutely adorable. Thanks so much for a great contribution!
Unknown October 29, 2006 um 10:06 am
Are you going to sell these? I live four hours away. Would you ship them?
Helene October 29, 2006 um 2:58 pm
Sam: thank you! I can’t ever stop at 2 and it will catch up with me one day!
Bonnie: really they were not that time consuming, especially if you have a stand mixer.
Brilynn: well, I jus can' have people over for a party and just one kind..that gave me a good excuse!
Lis: sometimes, sticking to the basics is a better way to go, plus i adore meringue in any forms.
Helene: merci de ta visite. J’aime beaucoup ton blog aussi!
Yvonne: the neighbors want me to do this every friday now…I have created a monster!
Peabody: I’m not! Really! I just cracked an egg and kept going!
Mary: I hear you, I only found my groove that morning, I had the entire day free so I just went for it.
Abby: really I’m not! I just had the luxury of time and space that day!
Renee: I wish I could but we already ate them all!
Bron October 29, 2006 um 6:32 pm
I’d love to try one of each!
Lauren October 30, 2006 um 1:33 am
So wonderful! I am very envious of your macaroons; I’ll get to that eventually. It’s just how they are just the perfect size for munching or maybe that’s not such a good thing…
Anonymous October 30, 2006 um 1:45 am
They all look so delicious! That is the problem with petit fours – you can’t keep from wanting more, especially when they’re as yummy as these!
veronica October 30, 2006 um 2:58 pm
quel travail tout est beau
Jen October 30, 2006 um 11:19 pm
wow you went above and beyond Helene! Gorgeous as always!
Anonymous October 31, 2006 um 7:54 pm
Superbes tes petits-fours Helen. Tes macarons et les meringues ont l’air si parfaits!
Anonymous July 5, 2007 um 1:57 am
I made your honey macarons – my first ever attempt at macarons, and I was sure after reading the egullet topic that I was doomed to failure, all the fuss about the frilly feet etc … BUT … with your trusty recipe and instructions, they came out perfectly the first time!!!
I do have to admit – the best bit was having hot macaron with the honey butter melting out the sides …. WOW!!!!!! Cold they were very good, but warm they nearly topped your salted chocolate caramels!!
Anonymous June 30, 2008 um 11:35 am
Hi! i made the macarons which turned out really pretty! however, i find the buttercream a tad too buttery/greasy or it could be due to my personal preference. do you know how to make the buttercream less greasy?
Anonymous March 13, 2012 um 6:44 pm
I desperately want to make these but I don't know how to convert grams to cups or whatever I need. Can you help with this somehow (by converting it or showing me how or pointing me in the direction of someone who has or a website that does it)? I can't figure it out :'( My name is Tiffany and my email is [email protected]
Helene March 13, 2012 um 6:48 pm
you can convert back and forth between grams and cups.