Pastry Pr0n – Cream Puffs and Eclairs

DSC_0699 (1600x1060)Not the prettiest you’ll ever see but I bet they eat OK.  LOL  Mrs J made the pastry per this recipe but she made me pipe out them onto a baking tray.  She figured I was best for the job because I watched Alton Brown do it on Youtube.  She filled them with instant vanilla pudding but made me dip them in the ganache “because I always burn my fingers”.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Valentine’s Sweets

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I am not anti-Valentine’s Day, just don’t like all the expectations around it. In my mind, the best thing you can do is spend time in the kitchen together, followed by a movie or favorite show marathon. I’ve been wooed with the whole restaurant (crowded, rushed staff), flowers (overpriced), and chocolates (oh, who am I kidding, chocolate is never bad) and it was never as much fun as staying home and cooking something delicious.

Now don’t get me wrong – take me out for a hot air balloon ride, helicopter over the beach, or an impromptu night away, and I’m not going to complain and say, hey, let’s stay home instead. But most of the time, I’m good with some chocolate covered strawberries and a good grilled steak.

With that in mind, I’ve picked out some favorite sweet treats you can make and share:

JeffreyW and Mrs. J made an awesome batch of Chocolate Éclairs (pictured above), complete with slideshow (here) and video (here).

I love a good Molten Chocolate Cake, recipe here.

Quick, easy and cute, Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies are always a hit, recipe here.

I have a complete Valentine’s Dinner here, if you need ideas.

What’s on your plate for the weekend? How about Valentine’s Day, it’s a week off, but got any plans?

Tonight’s featured recipe is a foolproof and yummy cake that’s quick and easy – the perfect way to end a nice Valentine’s dinner:

Mocha Cake

This is a pudding cake – which is basically an extra-large lava cake.  And to make it even tastier, I substitute coffee for the boiling water.   It doesn’t get any simpler than this.

  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

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  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup very hot coffee**
  • 8×8 inch baking dish, lightly oiled

Preheat oven to 350°

This is a pudding style cake, so you don’t want to over bake it. You’ll serve it warm and directly from the pan. When you cut into it, a thick, gooey chocolate center will be revealed.

From the top list: combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder & salt. Combine milk, oil, & vanilla, mix well and add to flour mixture. Stir well. Pour batter into baking dish.

From the bottom list: combine sugar & cocoa and sprinkle over batter. Pour hot coffee over batter – DO NOT stir. Bake for 30 minutes or until center springs back when touched, do not over bake.

** for a stronger coffee flavor, double the ground coffee to water ratio when brewing, or use espresso.

That’s it for this week. I won’t be around next weekend, so no recipe exchange, so have a Happy Valentine’s Day. I’ll try and get a Bixby update over the weekend, he’s a little pill, really coming into his own strong personality. Did I mention, strong?  – TaMara

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Éclairs Video

JeffreyW linked to this video in his post on the wonderful Éclairs he and Mrs. J made yesterday.  I figured I would go ahead and post it because it is great and I liked the woman doing the cooking, too.

I wouldn’t ever expect to make how-to videos for you.  Mostly because I am the messiest cook around. When I’m done it looks like I’ve been playing in the kitchen, not cooking.  It’s how I like it – in my mind cooking should be messy.  In order to get you guys photos, I always have to make sure I’ve left a spot that’s clean in order to have a decent place to photograph.

Chocolate Eclairs

We had fun making eclairs yesterday afternoon.  This recipe looked like it had been tested by plenty of folks and had good reviews.  I did a search for a Youtube recipe and found this one.  Love the woman in the video.  We ended up combining recipes and methods.  Jack the dog had the pleasure of licking the filling bowl, he is a real pudding hound, that boy.

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