Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Macaron Tips - Using Previously Frozen Egg Whites

I made an important discovery today!
(I feel like I need a drum roll)


Okay, maybe this isn't as important as I made it out to be. However, this is something that I had wondered about, and it wasn't all that clear to me when looking for answers online. I did so many searches asking "Can you make macarons or meringues from frozen egg whites?" There weren't many answers to my question, and any that I found were ambiguous.

I made a batch of lemon curd last month (it was so delicious), and ended up with a lot of extra egg whites. I knew I wouldn't have time to make macarons right at that moment, and I didn't want to throw them away. I knew I would be making macarons soon, and wouldn't be using the separated egg yolks. I decided right there that I was going to test out macarons with frozen egg whites, to see what happened.

Note: You CANNOT make macarons with egg whites from a carton - whether they have been frozen or refrigerated - it simply will not work.

I ended up with ~150 grams of leftover egg whites. Before I decided to freeze them, I stuck them in the refrigerator for 2 days. I labeled the top of the container so I knew how much I started with and when they were frozen, and stuck them in the freezer. Three weeks later, I moved them back to the fridge so they could slowly thaw. I left them there for 3 days, then the morning I was going to make macarons I pulled them out to warm up to room temperature. The normal 'aging' of egg whites for macarons had already taken place in both the fridge and the freezer, so I didn't leave them out at room temperature for an extended period of time.

At this point, I weighed the egg whites again. They were still roughly the same weight. I was making several small batches, so I divided them into separate bowls. Once all of my ingredients had come to room temperature and I had (triple) sifted the almond meal, I was ready to test it out! I honestly had so much on my mind with the three different batches I was making, I kind of forgot about the frozen egg whites, and that it was possible this wouldn't work. Lo and behold, they whipped up perfectly. Seriously, there was zero difference from any other time I have whipped egg whites. They formed stiff peaks without any issue, the macaron batter was perfect, and they baked up really nicely. I had some ruffling with the feet in the blue macarons, but I think that was a combination of over-mixing and an oven temperature that was a bit too high, rather than anything due to the egg whites. The red macarons were perfection. (I will be posting soon how to make these adorable Sesame Street macarons.)

So, conclusion - If you have leftover egg whites, just stick them in the freezer! Make sure that you have no trace of yolk in your whites, and that they are in an airtight container. You don't want them to pick up any weird smells from the freezer. A few days before you plan to use them, move them to the fridge to thaw. Several hours before you make macarons, pull them out and let them warm up to room temperature. After that, continue on with your recipe just like normal!

Ingredients for my 3 batches
The egg whites are in the lidded round tupperware containers
Fluffy egg whites!

Shiny and smooth, right after being piped

The sugar on top was for the particular kind of macarons I was testing out today
After the decorations have been piped on and the batter has rested - see how it is no longer shiny?
After baking - smooth tops, nice feet - Perfection!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Spartacus-Style Exercise Circuit, Version 3

Based on my procrastination from last week and a busy schedule this week, I ended up doing similar workouts only a few days apart. After doing my last workout on Sunday, I had wondered if I was getting stronger, or if my workout was easier. I can definitively say that Sunday's workout was just a bit easier, since I had a rough time getting through today's!

I took the first version of the spartacus-style workout and modified it slightly - I added a 7th exercise and reduced the total rounds from 4 to 3. Adding just one more exercise to the circuit makes it surprisingly more difficult! I'm still doing the 'easier' version, with 45 seconds of exercise.

For anyone new here, I explained this style of workout here.
Choose weights that you can comfortable work with, something you could do 15-20 reps with.
For me (and the selected exercises), light = 5 lbs, medium = 10 lbs, heavy (kbs) = 25 lbs.
Use whatever works best for you, and feel free to change up the weight if it felt too light or too heavy in the first round.

I want to point out that keeping an eye on the clock during your rest between rounds is very important. You will be tired after the end of each round, and you get a lot more out of this workout if you don't give yourself enough time to 100% recover. Keeping your rest time low will also make this workout a lot more efficient!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Spartacus-Style Exercise Circuit, Version 2

I was supposed to do this workout on Thursday, but I was tired when I came home and decided to do yoga instead. Not that my yoga class was an easy one - I just didn't have the energy to do anything that was cardio-based.

Friday and Saturday I came up with excuses as well, but on Sunday, I finally did it! I don't know if it was a slightly easier workout than my last one, or if I'm in slightly better shape, but it wasn't as strenuous. I still felt like I got a great workout, so I'm happy with it. (Note - I did the 'easy' version of 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off.)

For anyone new here, I explained this style workout in my last workout post here. Choose weights that you can comfortably work with, something you could do 15-20 reps with. For me, light = 5 lbs, medium = 10 lbs, heavy (kbs) = 25 lbs. As I get back some of my strength, this might increase. Use whatever works best for you.