Candy Butterscotch Tart with Vanilla Buttercream

Honesty time: I have had a bag of Snickers sitting in my fridge since August.  My parents brought them as a road trip snack when I moved into my apartment and left them here.  I have only worked my way a little way half through the bag.  The existence of said snickers is due in part to the fact that I like to bake my own sweets and in part to the fact that they got buried under a bunch of stuff in my fridge for a while.

Now, I am a notorious candy hoarder.  In fact, I have already started buying Easter peeps to stock up in order to be able to enjoy sugar coated marshmallows until the next holiday season.  I’m basically like a bear or squirrel preparing for hibernation but with candy.  Snickers are all well and good, but frankly, they need to make room for important, limited edition holiday candy.  And soda.  I promise I do eat some vegetables too.

Since I also had some butterscotch chips sitting in my cabinets, I combined these two together in a wonderful chewy blondie.  And then for good measure, I topped it with a vanilla buttercream.  Now I am happy to have a bag of Snickers in my fridge as an excuse to make these blondies again.

Blondie Slightly Adapted from Becky Bakes
Buttercream Slightly Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
For the Butterscotch Tart:
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup chopped Snickers (or any candy bar)
For the Vanilla Buttercream:
1 cup & 2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 vanilla beans
For the Butterscotch Tart:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9 inch pie plate or 6-7 4 inch individual tart pans.Place butterscotch chips in a heat-proof bowl.  Bring a pot of water to a gentle simmer.  Place bowl on top and cook until buttersctoch chips have melted, stirring occassionally.  Whisk in granulated sugar, egg, and vanilla extract.  Stir in flour and salt until just combined.  Fold in chopped candy bars.  Pour into prepared pie pans.  Bake for 12-17 minutes, until just cooked through.  Cool completely.

For the Vanilla Buttercream:

In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to mix butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract together.  Scrape the inside of the vanilla beans and fold into buttercream.  Top blondies with a generous dollop of buttercream.

Hazelnut Macarons with Nutella Buttercream

Ah, the elusive macaron.  I decided to take them on again a second time.  I was worried that my first batch was a fluke success, so I set out to take my time and be careful.  I was very fancy and had my mise en place.  At first everything was going very smoothly.  Then I tried to scrape down the bowl of my food processor using a rubber spatula.  Well, I have a little PSA for all of your: the blades of a food processor are very sharp.  I removed my spatula and found a little piece of rubber missing in the abyss of my nut flour.  After a few slight expletives, I called on my mother to help me sift me nut flour.  And of course at the very end of the mixture, there was the pesky little piece of rubber.

Shaking off my little mishap, I began beating my egg whites and combining.  I had my home-made pastry bag (a plastic ziploc bag) all set up to pipe out the filling.  I was feeling very confident having everthing all ready to go.  I filled my bag and then realized that when piping a mixture, it is helpful to have your frosting tip already in the bag before.  A few expletives and a panic snip of the scissors, and I had a huge hole in my pastry bag and macaron mixture all over my hands.  With a messy fix of some scotch tape, I got the frosting tip on, quickly piped out my macarons, and then wondered what I was doing in the kitchen.

In the end, batch number two of macarons was a success (because we didn’t end up eating any plastic spatula, it could have been like a king cake gone wrong).  My macarons developed their signature feet at the bottom and the nutella buttercream came together extremely easily.  So please take a moment to chuckle and learn from my mishaps, then go make some macarons.  They are one of the most rewarding desserts to make, you will get a moment of pure glee when they come out.

If you want some tips and some reassurance that you too can make macarons, visit Brave Tart’s post about macaron myths. She helped give me the final confidence boost that I could make macaroons, and you can too!  These can be a great edition to any cookie swap or holiday party.  Wow your friends with these sandwich cookies!

Barely Adapted from Annie’s Eats

For the Macarons:*
5 1/2 ounces almonds
2 ounces hazelnuts
10 ounces powdered sugar
100 grams egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

For the Nutella Buttercream:
12 tablespoons butter, softened
6 tablespoons nutella
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar


For the Macarons:

In a food processor, combine almonds and hazelnuts.  Process for 2-3 minutes until well ground and paste-like.  Add powdered sugar and process until combined, scraping down the bowl if needed.  Set aside.

In a large bowl combine egg whites and cream of tartar.  With a hand mixer beat until stiff and glossy, 3-4 minutes.  Fold nut mixture into egg whites in three batches.  Transfer to a pastry bag with a large round frosting tip.

Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Pipe macaron mixture in 1 1/2 inch circles, about 1/2 thick.  Leave space in between as they will spread slightly.  Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Place baking sheets on lower two wracks in oven.  Bake macarons for 6 minutes.  Switch the baking sheets (so the one on the lowest rack is now on the upper and vice versa).  Bake for 7-8 minutes.  Let macaron shells cool completely on wire rack.

For the Nutella Buttercream:

In a medium bowl, combine softened butter and nutella.  With a hand mixer, beat until combined and whipped, 1-2 minutes.  Add salt and powdered sugar.  Beat until combined and fluffy.

Pair up your cooled macaron shells so that they match in size.  Spread nutella buttercream on half of the pairs and place the other half on top to form a sandwich.  Place in airtight container and chill for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.’ Let sit at room temperature about 15-20 minutes before eating.

Makes about 20-22 macarons.

*All ingredients for macarons must be at room temperature