Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Nutella Whip, Cream Puffs

It was my good friend’s girlfriend’s birthday.  You know, the one who got me THE baking book that I’ve been baking from like this and this and this and this! So obviously I wanted to make her something for her birthday.  I remembered her mentioning that she likes Nutella, so I knew I wanted to make her something that incorporated it. I have this theory that people who like Nutella like it for the ganache-like consistency (i.e., if you gave them a jar of ganache, they would like it just as much and the hazelnut portion of the spread would not be missed).  So, I knew that I wanted to keep the creamy consistency of Nutella (i.e., not mix it into a cake batter or make cookies from it as it would take on the consistency of that baked good).  I decided on cream puffs with a Nutella-based filling.  I’m not huge on cream puffs, but I knew the day would come when I would make them.   I just had a feeling.  Let’s see how they turn out…

Check out the verdict at the end of the post!

Pate a Choux
Original recipe from here.
Makes 12.

¼ cup butter
½ cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
½ cup flour
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Line baking pan with parchment or silicone mat.
3. In a medium saucepan, boil water, butter, salt, and sugar.
4. Once boiling, add four, take off heat and stir with a wooden spoon into a paste.
5. Put the pan back on the medium heat and continuously stir the dough until there is a thin film of the flour on the bottom of the pan.  At that point, set the timer for 3 minutes and continuously stir.
6. After 3 minutes, transfer dough to a bowl and stir in eggs one at a time until you’ve got a smooth batter.
7. Fill pastry bag with whatever (larger) tip you like, or no tip.
8. Pipe rounds on sheet.
9. Lightly spray with water.
10. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.  Turn down to 375 degrees and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden.
11. Take them out of the oven and cut holes in the sides of the puffs to release the steam.
12. Put tray back in turned off oven with door ajar for 10 minutes.  Close door and let them dry out for 2 hours.
Step 3: Boiling water, butter, sugar, and salt.

Step 4: Add flour and mix.

Step 5: Cook until film on bottom of pan. 3 minutes more.

Step 6: Add one egg at a time.

All eggs added.

Spay with water.

After baking.

Releasing steam.

Nutella Whip
Adapted from here.

7 oz Nutella
2.5 Tablespoons butter
6 Tablespoons whipping cream

1.  Combine all ingredients and beat for 4 minutes until fluffy.
2.  Fill piping bag with a tip small enough to be inserted into the puff, but large enough to deliver the filling.
3.  Insert in previously made hole and fill. The puff will get heavy, which is how you’ll know when to stop.
4.  I drizzled melted chocolate and added sprinkles, but this is optional.

Verdict: OMG! These were the easiest things ever to make!  So few ingredients and you basically combine and mix! Plus, they were super delicious.  The birthday girl really enjoyed them! And even my friend – the Nutella hater – liked them! Will definitely make these again because they are so easy and such a crowd pleaser/wower = lots of bang for your effort!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Easter Cookies

I bought a bunch of Easter treats and I wanted to bake something with them.  What to make with speckled coconut M&M’s, pastel coloured M&Ms, and bunny shaped marshmallows? I decided to go with cookies, 2 ways.

Check out the verdict at the end of the post!

Toffee and M&M Cookies
Adapted from here.

1 cup + 2 Tablespoon flour
¼ teaspoon bakng soda
½ cup salted butter
¼ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
¾ cup pastel coloured M&M’s
¼ cup toffee bits
Bunny marshmallows

1.  Whisk flour and baking soda in a bowl. Set aside.
2.  In another bowl, whip butter and both sugars until fluffy.
3.  Add vanilla and eggs and beat until well mixed.
4.  Add flour mixture and mix just until combined.
5.  Add M&M’s and toffee bits, and mix until combined.
6.  Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight.
To Bake:
7.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
8.  Drop tablespoons of batter on baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes.
9.  Gently press marshmallow into the center of each cookie right after taking them out of the oven.
10. Cool on baking sheet before moving to rack.

Chocolate Coconut Cookies
Adapted from here.

½ cup flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 Tablespoons salted butter
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon instant coffee powder
1 cup coconut M&M’s

1.  In a bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.
2.  In a double boiler, melt chopped chocolate and butter.  Let cool slightly.
3.  In a large bowl, mix melted chocolate, sugar, egg, vanilla, and instant coffee.
4.  Add flour mixture and mix just until combined.
5.  Mix in coconut M&M’s.
6.  Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight.
To Bake:
7. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
8.  Drop by tablespoons on baking sheet with lots of space between cookies (batter will spread).
9.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Gently press bunny marshmallows on cookies after taking them out of the oven. 
10. Cool on sheet before moving to rack.

Verdict:  These cookies are not super fancy or fussy, but are pretty tasty. These came out just the way I like cookies: flat, chewy, and caramelized along the edge.  I brought them to work and they were well received! The bunny marshmallow definitely says Easter!