Katrina & Sean’s Baby Shower

Spring truly is the season for babies. It seems like so many of my friends are pregnant and ready to pop their little ones out soon. I went to Katrina’s, my old coworker, baby shower in mid April. The theme was airplanes using traditional red, white, and blue for the colors. I wished I could have stayed longer at the baby shower but I had a friend’s baptism to attend right afterwards. Much thanks to Tinea and all the others who helped in setting up a lovely baby shower. The decorations were super pretty. I loved the minimalistic and sophisticed feel of the party. The food was catered by Wood Ranch BBQ with their savory biscuits and delicious chicken and slow cooked beef. There was also some sweet refreshers of strawberry and cucumber water for the warm day. Each of the tables had red and white colored table cloth with fresh baby’s breath in a mason jar. Simple yet cute.

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I had the pleasure of baking some macarons for the event. I was inspired by these adorable teddy bear shaped macarons I saw on Pinterest. Immediately, I had to show one of the girls hosting the event and she fell in love with them just as I did.

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Originally I wanted to do a trio of Earl Grey, coconut, and blueberry to match their invitation (grey, white, and baby blue). Due to time constraints I had to reorganize and only do the Earl Grey and coconut. This was my first time making the coconut flavor and I was wondering how to incorporate coconut into the shell other than adding coconut shavings on top. Since I had coconut flour on hand, thanks to my new Paleo diet, I thought I could just add a tablespoon full of it into the macaron shells. This was a HUGE FAIL. It smelled and tasted ok, but they came out super hard and cracked on top. I should have known that the coconut flour would totally dehydrate all the moisture from the shells. During the macaronage step of prepping, the mixture was odd and seemed thicker than usual; this led me to believe that the shells would come out odd too. I should have stuck with my instincts and only added shredded coconut or extract into the batter. I had to start over from scratch but at least I know for future reference not to use any sort of flour to the shells.

The second time I remade the batch of the coconut macarons, I decided to use coconut extract and toast some coconut shavings to throw on top. I made these the same time I made the teddy bear macarons, so I split the batter in half and added some brown coloring for the bear shaped ones. For more detailed instructions on creating these I used this website. When I was done making these I had to add in some cute faces and put them on a stick and BAM! Teddy Bear macaron pop. For the filling I used some white chocolate ganache, toasted coconut shavings and coconut milk. I loved the result of the filling. I could have used it to spread on a toasted piece of bread and called it day. I think next time I make these I am going to add even more coconut flavor into them so how.

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For the Earl greys, one of my favorite flavors, I used earl grey tea bags for the shells and a honey creamy SM buttercream for the filling. The pairing of the two flavors reminds me of a perfect snack for tea time. The only difference from my usual way of making these was the way I decorated it. I kept the shell plain and used some black gel coloring with a paint brush to keep it simple and modern.

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All in all, it was good too see some of my old coworkers again on such a lovely occasion. Best of luck to all of them and Katrina & Sean!

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James & Julie’s Baby Shower

Congratulations to my friends James & Julie and to their soon-to-be baby boy, Oliver. Last weekend they have a wonderful coed baby shower. Loved the decor and the amazing food and treats put together by their family and friends. They had fresh spring flowers in clear mason jars filled with some lemons for the center pieces on the tables out in their yard.

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They also had a photo booth with fun props courtesy of LA & OC Photobooth. For food there was meatball sliders, mini croissant sandwiches, and mimosas.Their delicious dessert bar had a centerpiece which was an adorable turtle themed layered cake composed of diapers.

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I was in charge of bringing 2 flavors of macarons and cupcakes for about 50 people. I threw out a few flavors ideas that I was familiar with and James picked out pineapple upside down & vanilla chai cupcakes. For the macarons, I personally love pistachio and for a fruity flavor I thought of doing raspberry. I’ve previously made 100 macarons for another friend’s birthday party so I was confident in completing these 100 mini macarons. However I’ve never made 100 cupcakes prior to this event, but it was a challenge I was willing to accept.

Weeks prior to the event, I went ahead and tested out some different recipes for the vanilla chai cupcakes and gravitated to this one recipe I found, added some of my personal tweaks, and created my own recipe for the frosting. The results turned out to be one of my new personal favorite cupcakes. They were soft and moist and had the perfect amount of spices and sweetness, giving them a nice balance. The smell of these cupcakes filled my apartment and reminded me of Autumn.

Vanilla Chai Cupcakes Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

As for the pineapple upside down cupcakes, I had made this flavor before, but wanted to make it better. I based it off of this recipe I found on the web but changed the amount of sugar, added pecans, and some caramel brulee topping. The final product was beautiful and tasted amazing. I love pineapples and the crunch that the caramel brulee added was just right. My boyfriend’s mom was at our apartment at the time and giving me the saddest puppy face until I handed her a couple of these bad boys. How could I leave her hanging?

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The macarons were no trouble this time around for me. I made 50 of each flavor, pistachio and raspberry. As far as the fillings were concerned, I love using a Swiss meringue buttercream due to the delicate flavor it brings to the macarons. The problem with using it is it tends to soften and melt over time in room temperature. Therefore I wanted to be on the safe side and make sure I used a chocolate ganache for at least one of the macarons. So I paired up the raspberry with some raspberry jam infused white chocolate ganache and the pistachio with a pistachio flavored buttercream. I just had to make sure to tell the hostess of the party that they should keep the macarons in the fridge/freezer prior to serving. I think these were the only dessert on the table that were completely devoured. No, macaron left behind.

Pistachio Macarons with Pistachio Buttercream Raspberry Macarons with Raspberry White Chocolate Ganache

The rest of the day was fun filled with such clever games inspired from The Price is Right, real life simulation of feeding a baby, diaper raffles, baby themed crossword puzzles, a turtle pinata for the kids, and so much more. Whew, what a great baby shower! After the event was over I received and email from one of the hostesses saying, “Your macarons were great. Can’t wait to order from you again! They were a hit and the most popular dessert!” That alone made my week. I’m so glad I could have been a part of such an ocassion and I can’t wait to meet little Oliver in person. Congrats again guys! =D

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