Hey everyone! I hope your 2018 has gotten off to a wonderful start, and if not, I have just the thing.
Today we’re making cream puffs. I said we because honestly you guys, you have to make these. If you’re anything like me, cream puffs and eclairs and all that, it seems like some high-tech pastry stuff. But really, it’s so easy, and you’re gonna feel like a champ when it’s done.
I dipped mine in a thick, glossy chocolate ganache, which really blends well with this shortcut french vanilla filling.
So here’s the thing- this is actually a revamp of an old recipe of mine, and it deserved another look. The filling here is the real star, and it’s so flippin’ easy you won’t believe it. Sometimes I’m all for making everything from scratch and doing the whole pastry cream thing, and I promise I wouldn’t substitute if the results weren’t truly fantastic.
Turns out, if you whip up instant pudding mix with some milk AND some heavy cream, you end up with this mousse-like substance that will change your life. Use it to fill these babies, but also use it for pies and parfaits and anything else ever. Seriously.
Sidenote- I handwrite all recipes that I work on because I don’t want to dirty up my electronics in the kitchen, but it’s such a mess haha. Here’s what a recipe looks like while I’m working with it- all out of order, and used a drip catcher, and other nonsense included:
Anyways, back to the puffs themselves. The process for the dough is actually really simple and easy, and it just requires a few minutes on the stove, and another few in the stand mixer. On the other hand- you can totally do this by hand without a mixer, it’ll just take a little elbow grease. You got this.
Here’s what the dough looks like after you add the flour:
And here’s what it looks like after adding the eggs:
I do recommend that you use a piping bag and a wide tip to pipe out the dough, but you can also spoon it out. It’s just a bit easier to get the right shape if you pipe it. Regardless of your method here, you can wet your fingers with water to shape the dough or press down any pointy edges.
These are super pretty in the end, and I hope you make them and they knock the socks off of everyone you know (they will). Happy 2018 everyone!
3 eggs (I always use large, and size matters here!)
For the ganache topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the cream filling:
2 boxes of French Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
For the puffs:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
Add the water and vanilla into the melted butter, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Heat the mixture until boiling.
Remove from the heat, and immediately stir in the flour mixture. Continue to work in the flour until it is completely incorporated- the dough will be very thick (see image above).
Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer, or to a mixing bowl if you plan to do it by hand. Let the dough cool for 5-10 minutes.
Stir in the eggs, one at a time, mixing fully between each addition. The dough will become smooth and stretchy (see image above).
Transfer to a piping bag with a large tube tip on it (I use the Ateco 808 tip), and pipe the puffs onto your prepared baking sheet, about 2 tablespoons of dough per puff.
You'll end up with some pointy tops or edges no matter how you pipe them. Wet your fingers with water to press down any pointy edges and further shape the puffs if needed.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until they have puffed up, cracked, and are golden brown. Cool completely before filling.
For the ganache topping:
Heat the heavy cream in your microwave until boiling. Whisk in the chocolate chips, salt, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature while you prepare the filling and fill the puffs.
For the cream filling:
In a medium bowl, beat together the instant pudding, milk, and heavy cream until the mixture is thick and has soft peaks.
To fill the puffs, you can either cut them in half and spoon the filling in, or use a piping bag with a small tube tip to fill them from the bottom or sides.
Be generous with the filling, you'll have plenty!
Once the ganache has come to room temperature and is fairly thick, dip each puff into it.
Chill the puffs immediately, and serve and store cold.
Hey coffee lovers! I’ve got an easy crowd pleaser for you today.
If you’re anything like me, you love coffee, and you’ve always been intimidated by making your own tiramisu. But for reals, don’t be. It’s easy, you can definitely handle it. You only have to cook one component here. Also, mascarpone cheese is like, this super creamy and smooth cream cheese.
If you’ve never had tiramisu, it’s basically a layered creamy dessert. The base is lady fingers, which are a dry sponge cake, soaked in espresso, layered with a mascarpone cheese sweet cream, and dusted with cocoa powder. It’s served chilled, and if you like coffee, it’s pretty divine.
If you only kind of like coffee, you can use less of it while layering the dessert.
Here’s my tip that worked well at least for my lady fingers- I had trouble dipping these in espresso even for the shortest time, they kept just falling apart before I could place them. So instead I actually placed the dry lady fingers in the dish, and then brushed on espresso in two applications, waiting for it to soak in between each round. I found it much easier.
I also like a slightly sweeter version of this classic, so I added some additional sugar to the cream, as well as vanilla to boost the sweetness and flavor here. Feel free to omit the vanilla and the powdered sugar if you prefer a more bitter version!
I don’t know how it is where you live, but in Colorado, it looks like we’re about to swing right out of winter! Today it’s 70 degrees, sunny, and totally perfect.
That being said, I’m starting to crave those summery treats that I’ve been missing out on all winter, and you probably are too! Enter berry lemon crumb bars.
I used to work a coffee shop for several years through college, and we served a lemon bar with a a layer of tart berries, and a delicate crumb topping, which is where I got the inspiration for these! Now, I have no idea how those ones at my coffee shop were made- we had them shipped in frozen every week- but I do know how I’ve always made traditional lemon bars, so that’s where I’ve started.
These sweet and tart little gems start off with a super easy shortbread crust. BTW, this same crust recipe can make the most amazing shortbread cookies! Just chill the dough for 30 minutes after mixing it up, and then roll, cut, and bake them until just golden!
In the meantime, make a full batch of these lemon bars with sweet and tart berries, and a light crumb topping to hold you over until summer comes full on! The berries add a whole other dimension of flavor that traditional lemon bars have never known, and you’ll love this variation on the classic!
This weekend I made fish tacos for some friends, with a bunch of homemade sauces and toppings, and I was cooking for several hours during the day. So when it came to dessert, I wanted something simple.
This pie is about as easy as it gets, and you can actually make it in a bunch of flavors. It’s no-bake, but if you prefer a traditional pie crust you can definitely pre-bake one and use the same filling.
I’ve personally made a peanut butter version, but you could also do vanilla, or a citrus flavor, which would be awesome. Today though, it’s all about chocolate. Because guys, everyone likes it, and if you don’t want a big ol’ slice of chocolate pie after stuffing your face with fish tacos, I just don’t feel like I know you!
Basically, there’s only a few ingredients, and it only takes a few minutes to whip up. I threw it together just before serving dinner, and it was perfect. If you want to make another flavor variation, like peanut butter, replace the melted chocolate, or omit it and add fruit zest and extract.
Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you all had an awesome and spooky Halloween!
Is it healthy? No. Is it fantastic? Absolutely.
I’ve made cheesecake plenty of times, but this has been the most successful one yet, with no cracks! I’ve had no luck with water baths for cheesecakes- even when I wrap the pan in tons of layers of foil, somehow the water still boils over and gets into the cheesecake. It’s a huge bummer really, because cheesecakes take so many ingredients that once it’s ruined, who wants to do it again?
So this time I skipped the water bath, and I added a little flour to the mix to stabilize everything a bit more. It turned out beautifully, and it’s actually the only cheesecake I’ve ever made without a crack in it!
Plus, it’s pumpkin. If you aren’t craving pumpkin by now, I’d say it’s about time! We had a Halloween party with pumpkin carving, scary movies, and tons of comfort food, so this baby fit right in.
I really love cheesecake, so I’m super excited that this one turned out so beautifully! The truth is though, even with a giant crack down the center, it’s still cheesecake guys, and it still tastes awesome. Just cover it up with some whipped cream, and pretend it never happened!