Hey guys! Today we’re on cream puffs, and if you’ve never made them, today is the day! I think with all pastry, I always get pretty nervous, but really it’s not as difficult as you might think.
And cream puffs are a great place to start if you’ve never made any kind of pastry before. I’d have to say this is probably the easiest option. That being said, if you’re more into the classic, click on over to my original cream puff recipe for a fantastic vanilla version!
There’s two main points to focus on when it comes to getting these right. The first is the dough. I pretty much always find that 3 eggs is right for this recipe, but you want to pay close attention to the FEEL of the dough. Once the eggs are mixed in, grab a little bit of dough between your thumb and first finger. Mush your fingers to together lightly, and pull them apart- you should have a stretchy dough here. If the dough breaks right away, go for another egg.
The next problem area is baking time. If you under-bake here, your puffs will collapse when they cool, and you won’t have those much needed pockets on the inside. On a classic dough, you’re looking for a deep golden brown, but on chocolate, things get tricky. Here’s my tip- wait until the dough looks completely dry. And if you aren’t sure, carefully pick up a puff. It should be very light!
So, onto the filling. If you’ve made my other cream puff recipe, you know I take a shortcut here. We don’t all always have time to make pastry cream do we? So, I actually use instant pudding mix and add in heavy cream with the milk. You get a fluffy, mousse-like filling that you’ll absolutely love!
We’re ready, okay guys? You got this, I got this, we can all eat cream puffs tonight and dazzle our friends, k?
Chocolate Cream Puffs
For the puffs:
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1 tbs. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
For the filling:
- 1 box instant chocolate pudding mix
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
For the ganache:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the puffs:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with a nonstick mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, and then add in the water and vanilla extract. Bring the mixture to a boil, and remove from heat. Immediately stir in the flour mixture, using a wooden spoon or spatula to fully incorporate. Cool for about 10 minutes.
Using a hand mixer, a stand mixer, or just a spatula, work in the eggs one at a time. This will take a few minutes, and you want to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next. The dough should be sticky and very stretchy.
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 3 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 25-30 minutes, or until the puffs are puffed and the dough looks completely dry. Cool completely before filling.
For the filling:
In a large bowl, beat together the pudding mix, milk, and heavy cream until the mixture is thick and slightly fluffy. This takes about 5 minutes for me with a hand mixer. Chill until ready to fill puffs.
Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip, and poke into cooled puffs to fill. Alternatively, slice the puffs in half and spoon the filling in. You will have leftover filling- it's great on it's own.
For the ganache:
Heat the heavy cream, vanilla, and salt in the microwave until boiling. Add in the chocolate chips, and whisk until smooth. Pour over the filled puffs, and allow to chill until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Hey guys! It’s been a while since we’ve gone to the savory side of things on here, so I think it’s about time.
I’ve been watching the newest season of The Great British Bake Show, and first of all, if you aren’t watching this, get on it. It’s like a breath of fresh air compared to American food competition shows. Everyone is super nice to each other and the whole thing feels way more wholesome.
And anyways, every time I watch a season of this show, when it comes to pastry week, those savory pies give me a craving. On Sunday morning a while back, I was watching the latest season, and the bakers where making savory pies that were KILLING ME. I had to have one.
Also, side note, why don’t Americans eat more savory pies? I don’t know why it’s not a thing here, outside of chicken pot pie that is, because savory pies are so flippin good. It’s like full on comfort food. Flakey pie crust, gravy, potatoes, meat? It’s the perfect meal.
So anyways, onto this pie. Because there’s a lot of steps here (and I have a baby to tend to), I’m using a couple of shortcuts here. The first is store-bought pie crust. I know, I know, I’m a baker, and listen, it’s not that I CAN’T make a pie crust. It’s that I don’t always have the time, and you probably don’t either. Anyways, I also bought pre-sliced mushrooms for this, huge help because honestly chopping takes time.
I baked mine in a braiser-style dutch oven. If you don’t have one of those, you can also bake it in a regular standard 6-7 quart dutch oven, or similar oven-safe pot. Or if you have a deep dish square-ish casserole dish, that would probably work as well.
As for the steak, I used short ribs. They were at a good price at my store. Now, I’m gonna be honest, I’m not great at cooking red meat, so I don’t have a ton to go on here, but the short ribs worked really well for me. I hear that any type of stew meat would work well here.
So anyways, I hope you guys enjoy this one, it’s one of my favs lately!
Steak & Ale Pie
- 1 large yellow onion, cut into half-moon slices
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 pounds steak meat of your choice, I used short ribs
- 2 pie crusts, prepared and rolled out
- 8 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms (or white mushrooms)
- 1/2 can light beer, I used a pilsner
- 1 tbs. tomato paste
- 32 oz beef stock
- 2 large yellow potatoes, cut into small cubes
- 2 tsp. ground rosemary
- 1 tsp. ground thyme
- 3 tbs. cornstarch
- 2 tbs. water
- 1 egg
- Salt & pepper to taste for the top of the pie
- Salt, pepper, & garlic powder as needed, see recipe instructions
In a large saucepan, cook the sliced onions, olive oil, sugar, 1 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. of pepper over medium-high heat until the onions are caramelized. This should take about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, mince the garlic cloves, and place them into a medium bowl. After the onions are caramelized, scoop them into the bowl with the garlic. Set aside.
Place your saucepan back on the stove, and return to medium-high heat. Cut the steak into bite-size cubes, and toss with the 2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, and 2 tsp. garlic powder. Brown in your saucepan until the edges have reached a deep brown, and the meat is cooked through. Remove the steak from the pan, and place into a small bowl, set aside.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line your baking dish with the bottom pie crust, and prick with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes, until it's reached a light golden brown. Set aside.
Back on medium-high heat, add the sliced mushrooms, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, and beer into your pot. Cook until the beer has reduced significantly, and then add the onions and garlic back into the pan. Stir in the tomato paste, and then the beef stock.
Add the cubed potatoes, 1 tbs. salt, 2 tsp. pepper, rosemary, thyme, and 1 tbs. garlic powder, and boil for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes have cooked through. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water until combined. Pour into the boiling stew, and stir constantly until it becomes very thick. Stir in the cooked steak.
Pour the mixture into your prepared bottom crust in your baking dish. Place the top crust over the top, and slice vent holes. Beat the egg, and brush over the top of the crust. Sprinkle with salt and pepper lightly. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top crust is golden brown. Serve hot.
We’re all having a super pleasant Wednesday today, right? Let’s make it even better.
Today I’m sharing another simple, classic recipe with you guys- this time we’re on scones. This is a really easy base recipe for scones, and I’m throwing in vanilla for flavor.
As per usual, you can do a lot with this recipe. I’ve made it in several variations, and you can find some of those recipes here! You can flavor it with anything you’d like- one version I’ve yet to try is espresso with a maple glaze, I mean can you imagine?
So, we’re starting with your dry ingredients for this one- the process is really similar to biscuit making. You stir up flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a large bowl, and then you cut in some very cold butter until the mixture is crumbly. Then, you’re adding in your wet ingredients- in this case it’s sour cream, cream, a dash of vinegar, an egg, and vanilla extract. Here’s about what it will look like:
Then, turn it out onto a floured surface, and knead in a little more flour as needed to make things less sticky, but don’t over-work it! Pat it into a circle that is about 1/2 inch-3/4 inch thick, and slice it up!
I like to brush the tops with a little extra cream and then sprinkle coarse sugar over the top for that perfect little crunch in the end. The sour cream makes these moist and tender, and really the perfect pastry to go with your morning coffee.
The best part? You don’t need any special tools, and you can make the whole batch in just a few minutes. In fact, I suggest you DO make it in just a couple minutes so you can keep things cold before they hit the oven.
Seriously though, basic scones are a delight. Now, I’ve never been to the UK, and I hear that their scones are incredible compared to those here in America, but these are pretty good if you ask me. Hope you enjoy and experiment with these!
Classic Vanilla Scones
- 2 1/4 cups flour (plus more as needed for shaping)
- 1 tbs. baking powder
- 1/8 tsp. baking soda
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 6 tbs. cold butter
- 3 tbs. sour cream
- 2/3 cup heavy cream (plus more to brush the tops)
- 2 tsp. white vinegar
- 1 egg, cold
- 1 tbs. vanilla extract
- 1 tbs. coarse sugar
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender or clean hands, cut the cold butter into your flour mixture until it has coarse crumbs of butter running throughout.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, heavy cream, vinegar, egg, and vanilla extract until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and use a spatula to mix until a dough comes together. Turn your dough out onto a floured surface, and gently knead it until it just comes together, adding more flour if needed until the dough is not sticky, but still holds together. Pat the dough into a disc about 1/2-3/4 inch thick. Use a sharp knife to cut it like a pizza into 8 even scones.
Place your scones onto your prepared baking sheet spaced evenly. Brush the tops generously with cream, and sprinkle with the coarse sugar. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the scones are golden on top. Cool and enjoy!
Today we’re gonna talk about pastry, a world of baking to which I rarely venture. Pastry can be truly intimidating. I get it.
Specifically today I’m sharing a recipe for morning buns. Morning buns are kind of like a combination of cinnamon rolls and puff pastry. I’d say the filling is less gooey, and they are not typically iced. Or I should say, that’s at least my interpretation of these buns.
There’s a ton of variations online, and some don’t actually use puff pastry at all, but instead more of a brioche. But I’ve found that the puff pastry route, whatever you want to call it, is more what I’m into right now.
However, that also means making puff pastry from scratch. Eek.
Puff pastry, at least whenever I think of it, sounds like far too much. It makes think of spending hours of time trying to roll out dough with a huge block of cold butter folded inside, with many, MANY rounds of chilling in the fridge. BUT, I found a recipe from The Flavor Bender, and it totally changes everything.
This recipe for puff pastry only takes me about 30 minutes to put together, as long as you can work quickly to avoid letting the butter warm too much. After it’s done, you can keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it, and guys, it’s so good. It tastes awesome, it’s got ALL THE FLAKES, and it’s homemade pastry- you’re gonna feel like a flippin rockstar.
So here’s the deal- I’ve adapted the recipe below from the one found on this fantastic blog. I prefer not to weigh ingredients, and I’ve also added a few little items to fit the recipe for morning buns better. I’ve done my best to recreate the instructions below (don’t worry, I promise it’s not that complicated) but I highly recommend you take a peak over at the original recipe for more image-heavy instructions- they were a huge help to me!
So next we’re wrapping this amazing dough around some cinnamon and sugar, baking it up, and dipping it in more sugar. These pretty rolls are everything you guys- impressive, light, flaky, sweet, and perfect with coffee.
To clarify, there’s still a lot of steps involved here, and definitely some chilling when you get to the actual rolls to make sure we keep that butter completely cold throughout. So I’d call this a weekend project, but a super fun and rewarding one at that!
I hope you give ’em a shot- I’m telling you it’s totally doable and totally worth it!
For the puff pastry dough
- 1 1/4 cups grated butter, frozen, 1/4 cup separated
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tbs. sugar
- 3/4 cup very cold water
For the filling
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbs. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
For the puff pastry dough
Keep your butter frozen until you use it throughout the process.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, cinnamon, and sugar. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the 1/4 cup separated frozen grated butter until evenly distributed.
Slowly add in the cold water, stirring, until a dough begins to form, and the flour is completely incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead once or twice to finish incorporating all the ingredients. The dough should be fairly soft and easy to work with.
Working quickly, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 8 inches by 15 inches. Note that the size does not need to be perfect here. Sprinkle half of the remaining frozen butter onto two thirds of the rolled out dough.
Fold the dough into thirds, starting by folding in the side without any butter on it. Gently pinch the edges to lightly seal the dough.
Roll out the dough again, re-flouring your surface if needed, to the same size, and repeat the butter and folding process with the second half of the frozen butter.
Once again, roll out the dough into a large rectangle, and fold into thirds, without any more butter (you should have used it all). Repeat the process two more times, so a total of 5 times.
Immediately wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using.
For the filling
In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar, 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside the remaining sugar in a bowl to use later.
Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin. Set aside.
Remove the dough from the fridge, and roll it out on a floured surface to a large rectangle, about 10 by 16 inches.
Evenly sprinkle the filling mixture over the rectangle, and press down into the dough with your hands, or with your rolling pin.
Starting on the longer side of your rectangle, roll the dough into a tight spiral log. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze for 30 minutes.
Remove the dough from the freezer, and trim off the edges of the log. Then, cut the log into 12 equal slices by cutting the log in half, each of those halves in half, and then each remaining piece into thirds. Place each slice into your prepared muffin tin, and place the tray in the fridge for 20 minutes.
While your rolls are chilling, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Take the rolls out of the fridge and place directly into the preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown on top through to the center.
Right after you remove the rolls from the oven, run a knife along the edges of each roll to loosen, and remove from the pan while hot- they will stick to the pan if you do not remove them quickly enough.
Cool the rolls for about 5 minutes, and then dip the tops into the remaining sugar that we set aside earlier. Enjoy warm!
Hey guys! I’ve got about two more months before our little one comes into the world, and pregnancy is hitting me hard lately. I have to say, it’s all been pretty easy for me so far, we’ve been really really lucky, so I think a little struggle at this point is okay!
Do you ever sit down and just know you want to make something, but you just can’t figure out what that something should be? That’s me like, all the dang time. I have stacks of recipe ideas and areas I’d like to explore, but decision making just isn’t all that easy, amirite?
I sat down to figure out what to bake a few weeks ago, and my husband suggested biscuits. But I wanted to do more than just a classic biscuit- something with a bit of a deeper, sweeter flavor. And this is so it. I was thinking of having honey on top, but then I decided it’d be nice to have a bit of a sweeter base- sweetened with honey on the inside of the biscuit too!
Here’s how everything looks as we bring it all together. First, mix your dry ingredients, and throw in some shortening:
Next, cut that shortening in until it looks a little something like this:
Moving onto wet, we’re pouring in buttermilk and honey to pull everything together:
And once you’ve stirred and worked a little, it should look crumbly like this:
Then we’re turning out the dough to knead it slightly to bring it together. Work quickly here- we don’t want to melt that shortening! Then pat it into a rectangle and fold into thirds, like this:
The brown sugar extends through the entire biscuit, including on top, where it browns and becomes a crispy sweet crust that is too-flippin-good.
Biscuits from scratch are super easy you guys. You don’t need special equipment (though a pastry blender can help some) and they come together really quickly. Best of all, it’s one of those satisfying things that you’ll come back to over and over again.
This recipe is adjustable, you just want to keep your wet and dry ingredients at the same ratio. It’s my go-to. You can add in topping sweet or savory, and season these pretty things however you please!
Maybe this is just me, but I never had homemade biscuits growing up, which makes them feel really special even though they’re so easy to pull together. With a super simple recipe, you can really adjust and update it however you like, sweet or savory, and they become something everyone will be impressed by.
I’m hoping that you find this dessert-style biscuit as satisfying as I did. We topped ours with more honey (whoops) and apricot jam, although they are seriously fantastic all on their own, or just with a little bit of butter.
Brown Sugar Honey Biscuits
- 4 cups flour
- 3 tbs. brown sugar
- 2 tbs. baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup shortening, very cold
- 1 cup + 2 tbs. buttermilk, cold
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 tbs. brown sugar
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.
Using a pastry blender or just your hands, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.
Add in the buttermilk and honey, and stir together until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and pat into a long rectangle.
Fold the dough into thirds, and pat out to a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick. Using a 2.5 inch cutter, cut out your biscuits. You can re-use the dough scraps once.
Place the biscuits onto a lined baking sheet, and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
While the biscuits chill, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and mix the butter and remaining brown sugar together.
Brush the tops of the biscuits with the butter and brown sugar mixture, and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the biscuits are puffed and golden brown on top.
Serve warm, with honey and jam or butter!