Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts


I have a bit of a sweet tooth but I rarely crave cookies or cupcakes. If I could only eat two desserts for the rest of my life, I'd go with Talenti sea salt caramel gelato (there are no words) and vanilla macarons. I'd been told that macarons are difficult to make but stubbornly I wanted to see for myself so Will and I signed up for a macaron workshop at Mille-Feuille through Vimbly, a booking site for activities and classes in New York. 

The class was taught by a fabulous French baker named Olivier (I mean, really, what more could you ask for?) and had only six students so it was easy to keep up. But it's true what they say: macarons are not a walk in the park! It's a very involved process and it would definitely take a lot of practice for me to be able to make them at home... I might even have to take the workshop again just to get more comfortable with what everything should look like before progressing to the next step. For those who requested the recipe when I posted on Instagram, here goes! Good luck :)

SHELLS: (~75 macarons)

In a large bowl, sift together:

385 grams confectionary sugar
385 grams almond powder

Then add the following:

155 grams raw egg whites

Add coloring according to your desired color. (We were in charge of vanilla so these are just white!)

In a KitchenAid bowl, whip the following gently until firm:

155 grams egg whites
(Optional ingredients: 3 grams dried egg whites, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, or 1 pinch cream of tartar)

In a sauce pan, cook at 245°F the following then pour it on the whipped egg whites:

475 grams regular sugar
160 grams water

Add the meringue little by little to the first batter.

Pipe the macarons on a tray then leave them for 20-25 minutes minimum at room temperature.

Bake at 320° F for 13-14 minutes.

Vanilla Ganache (~25 macarons)

Bring to a boil:

95 grams cream (36% or 40% fat)
2 vanilla beans (Amadeus Trading Company), should be moist and soft

Pour on the following:

190 grams Ivoire Valrhona (Valrhona 35% white chocolate or Soie from Guittard)

Blend, spread in a tray, and put in the fridge.

Chocolate Ganache (~25 macarons)
Bring to a boil:
95 grams cream (36% or 40% fat)

Pour on the following:

85 grams Caraibes Valrhona (66% chocolate)
35 grams European style butter (>82% fat, cut in pieces)
15 grams honey

Blend, spread in a tray, put in the fridge.

Pistachio Ganache (~25 macarons)

Bring to a boil:

95 grams cream (36% or 40% fat)

Pour on the following:

210 grams Ivoire Valrhona (Valrhona 35% white chocolate or Soie from Guittard)
20 grams of Pistachio paste

Blend, spread in a tray, put in the fridge.

Once the shells are baked and the ganache is chilled, you can match up shells of a similar size and sandwich them together with a drop of ganache. They actually tasted delicious — I just don't trust myself to recreate them properly when left to my own devices! Still it was a really fun workshop, went by super quickly, and we each got to take home a box of macarons. A great way to spend a Saturday morning in New York!

If you're interested in taking the same workshop, you can sign up through Vimbly here. (They're also in Boston, Chicago, D.C., Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Maui, Orlando, and Seattle!) Here's a list of other Vimbly experiences that I can't wait to take advantage of!


Popcorn is one of my favorite simple snacks but I knew there had to be more ways to eat it than buttered and salted. I started perusing Pinterest for recipe ideas and found more than I could possibly make in a year, let alone condense into one blog post. One afternoon, my interns Mary Claire, Taryn, and I set out to try three recipes (tweaking them to our tastebuds as necessary). To cut down on prep time, we used Skinny Pop popcorn but you could pop your own or use the microwave variety as well. Here's what we made and how you too can add a little sweet or savory flavor to your popcorn fix:

Old-Fashioned Pink Popcorn (original recipe here)
A super sweet treat that looks like cotton candy with a popcorn crunch. This was my personal favorite — I continued snacking on it long after Mary Claire and Taryn left for the day.

8 cups popped popcorn
2 cups sugar (I would probably use a little less next time!)
2/3 cup half & half, cream, or whole milk
1 tablespoon white corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 drops red food coloring

1. Place sugar, half & half, corn syrup, and salt in a saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. 
2. When the mixture reaches a boil, remove from heat and add vanilla and food coloring.
3. Drizzle the mixture over popped popcorn, evenly coating the whole batch. The coating will begin to dry. 
4. Pour the coated popcorn onto wax paper and let dry for 20 minutes.
5. Enjoy!

Spicy Adobo Popcorn (original recipe here)
Give your favorite snack a little kick with adobo flavor and red pepper flakes. This would be a perfect bar snack... So addicting and tastes extra yummy with a squeeze of lime. Tequila, anyone?

8 cups popped popcorn
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons adobo seasoning
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Squeeze of lime (optional)

1. Coat popcorn in melted butter, adobo seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Close bag / put lid back on and shake until popcorn is well coated.
2. Enjoy! Easy as that.

Party Popcorn (original recipe here)
An easy treat to whip up for birthday parties in your office or at your neighbors'. The perfect snack for anyone who's never ordered ice cream sans sprinkles!

8 cups popped popcorn
6 ounces white candy melts (use CandiQuik or wafer style, not chocolate chips)
Rainbow sprinkles!

1. Melt your white chocolate in the microwave. 
2. On a large baking sheet, mix the melted chocolate into your popcorn. 
3. Sprinkle and enjoy!

Et voilà! Any recipe that involves my favorite snack and takes 20 minutes or less is a win in my book. Let me know what you think!

*Dinner napkins from Katie Kime, World Market, and One Kings Lane; bowls from World Market
**Original recipes linked above; all photos were taken by me and original to Design Darling


After the blogger brunch I put together during fashion week in February, I was suddenly determined to do more entertaining. This isn't an easy task in most New York apartments (especially if you're not particularly domestic, cough cough) but I really wanted to make it happen. That's why I was so excited to hear from Kitchensurfing, a service that pairs you with a local chef who will prepare a seasonal meal for your guests using their ingredients and your kitchen. All you have to do is decide what kind of event you'd like to host, tidy your apartment, and let Kitchensurfing do the rest!

I worked with Alex, a.k.a. the Breakfast Bachelor, who whipped up a delicious menu featuring spring produce like rhubarb, ramps, asparagus, and baby greens. I was a little skeptical that he'd be able to whip up brunch for twelve guests in such a small space but he was a total trooper and the food was out of this world. We started with rhubarb mimosas (YUM and I finally learned how to open a bottle of champagne!), herbed buttermilk biscuits, strawberry fennel salad, a spring quiche, and apricot-glazed bacon for everyone else (I've been a vegetarian since college but I'm told it was delicious!). He made blackberry almond doughnuts from scratch for a sweet treat and I picked up macarons from François Payard (my favorites in New York... don't tell Ladurée!). 

Loved having an excuse to use my cobalt tumblers!

Oh hello, Rory. Today's lesson: if you give a dog a bite of quiche, he'll want a macaron to go with it. ;)

I didn't have enough table space or seating for everyone so we just made a big circle of chairs and everyone ate on their laps. Sure, it wasn't a formal dinner party but everyone was a great sport and it was so fun to invite a bigger group of friends over to my new apartment! It was seriously encouraging to see what Alex was able to pull off with limited counter space, serving pieces, etc. Now I have no excuse not to do it again! Maybe I'll even try my hand at the cooking ;)

Kitchensurfing paid for this brunch in exchange for spreading the word on Design Darling but I can't wait to work with them again on future get-togethers, especially if I were splitting the cost with friends. If you're hosting an event (birthday party, wedding shower, work gathering...) and don't want to worry about food prep, I can't recommend Kitchensurfing (and Alex in particular!) more highly. And as a special treat for Design Darling readers, they're offering $50 off your first booking through this link


Just when you never thought you'd see the day... A recipe post on Design Darling! My brothers bought me the cutest apron for Christmas (in the kids' size, ha!) as a cute little costume for our second ever video post. This recipe is a family favorite — it's great over asparagus or broccoli for vegetarians like me and it comes straight from my grandfather's cookbook (which we typed up, bound, and gave to my grandmother two Christmases ago — best reaction ever!). Without further ado, Hollandaise sauce à la the Horan family...

For six servings, you'll need:
1 stick of butter
7 egg yolks (1 yolk for each person plus 1 for the pot)
1/4 cup of heavy cream (or half-and-half if you're watching your waistline)
1/8 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 dashes of white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2-3 twists of white pepper from pepper mill


1. Melt the butter in a double boiler over low heat.

2. Mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk well.

3. Once butter is melted, add the other ingredients to the top of the double boiler.

4. Whisk ingredients together with butter until Hollandaise starts to thicken.

5. Remove the double boiler from the stove and continue beating with the whisk until desired consistency is reached.

6. Pour out hot water from double boiler and refill with cold water. Return double boiler to low heat and stir Hollandaise occasionally.

7. If you need the Hollandaise to wait while the rest of your meal is prepared, it will hold its consistency for up to an hour with occasional stirring and exchanging boiling water in double boiler base with cold water from the tap. Should you lose consistency, add a bit more cream, melted butter, and lemon to taste.

8. Serve while hot over steamed asparagus or as a topping for eggs Benedict (after a puppy taste test, of course!).

P.S. Subscribe to the Design Darling Youtube channel to be the first to know about future videos!


Thank goodness for cereal and roasted vegetables because I cannot cook to save my life. (What a lousy lifestyle blogger that makes me!) I'm a vegetarian which ought to make my life easier (how hard is it to whip up a bowl of whole wheat pasta?) but even working from home I rarely feel motivated to cook a homemade meal. There's the issue of my ancient oven taking forever to heat up, my dog kamikaze-ing toward the countertop while I chop veggies, not to mention the pile of dishes awaiting me after the fact... I give people who cook every day a lot of credit! Now that I'm living on my own, I'd like to make more of an effort to get comfortable in the kitchen (#wishfulthinking) so I'm turning it over to you:

1) Do you bring lunch or snacks to work during the week? What do you make?

2) What's your go-to dinner during the week?

3) What blogs and cookbooks do you recommend?

Keep up with Design Darling

On the subject of Pinterest...

I'm not entirely sure why I've devoted my day to convincing you to join Pinterest (oh wait, because I'm addicted) but nonetheless I'll give you another reason...
Pinning an image onto one of your boards automatically saves the link where you found the image. For anyone who knows how to cook (please note all my saved foods are salad) reads lots of foodie blogs, it would be a great way to save recipes you're dying to try! See? Brilliant, I tell you.

{all via my food board}