Vanilla Bean Cream Puffs (Choux Pastry)

Who doesn’t love a good Cream Puff?! For years I have wanted to make these but again, I thought it was going to be wicked hard. Turns out it is actually really easy. The Choux Pastry was the part that seemed daunting, but I found a few great recipes, and just made a dough using parts of the recipes I found. Trial and error! The first batch fell, but the second and third turned out beautifully. I found that the key to these beautiful puffs was milk! I prefer the texture and taste of the puffs much better than other recipes that don’t call for milk. They also didn’t brown as quickly. Success!

For the cream filling I made a Vanilla Bean whipped cream. It added the perfect amount of flavor to this light and airy delight.These are fun, and easy and you probably deserve to have them right now. I think these are the new bonbons! I would much rather sit around in my unmentionables eating these cream puffs than a box of bonbons. Bonbons are so 1994, in a bad way. Cream puffs are a lovely marriage of light and air pastry perfection and sexy whipped cream, with a dash of ladylike elegance that only the ground vanilla bean can offer. Cream puffs are the new sexy. 😉

So, you will need…

*Makes 30-35 puffs

  • 1/2 C. Whole Milk
  • 1/2 C. Water
  • 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 C. All-Purpose Flour, always unbleached
  • 4 Eggs, room temperature

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

  • 1 C. Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Vanilla Bean

Here was my process…

  1. In a medium saucepan bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a boil.
  2. Once butter is completely melted, remove from heat.
  3. Add flour all at once and stir quickly using a beautiful wooden spoon until blended.
  4. Return the pan to heat and stir rapidly until the dough pulls away from the sides of the sauce pan and forms a ball.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool to 140 degrees, about 4-5 minutes.
  6. In a smaller bowl whisk 1 egg, and add it to the cooled dough. (the dough will separate and get shiny after you add each egg, but keep stirring and it turns back into a nice smooth batter). Stir until blended.
  7. Add the remaining eggs, whisking them one at a time, and adding them one at a time. Stirring each until well incorporated.
  8. Let the dough cool for another 10 minutes or so before putting it in your piping (pastry) bag.
  9. Once cooled, fill your piping bag, and for each puff pipe out 1Tbsp of dough (some will call it paste), about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.
  10. Bake puffs, one sheet at a time, at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown in color.
  11. Remove the puffs from the oven and immediately poke the sides with a toothpick to let the steam escape. Don’t worry, they will not collapse on you!
  12. Return the tray to the oven, turn the oven off ( leaving the door open) and allow the puffs to dry out for 10-15 minutes.
  13. Let cool completely before filling!

For the whipped cream simply combine the heavy cream, confectioners sugar, vanilla and ground vanilla bean in a bowl and beat on medium-high with hand mixer, or stand up mixer until medium peaks form.

Once the puffs are cool, fill your pastry bag with the whipped cream, and gently insert the tip of the bag into the puff and pipe it full of cream. You will feel the puffs get full, and when you see the cream start to show, you know the puff is full!

These are super fun to make and they are also great for any occasion. A wedding, baby shower, birthday, dessert party, pajama party… literally anytime is a good time for a cream puff!

Happy Baking!

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Sweet and Spicy Cornbread

It is just starting to get a little bit warm around here, and so I have been cooking with fresh ingredients and loving every minute of it. I wanted to make some spicy spring chili with cornbread, but it just felt to boring! I love Cornbread and all, but geeze… it is really just a dull, dull bread. That can get very dry and tasteless if done wrong! Of course I am just not one of those people 😉

For Easter, the Easter Bunny (aka my mom!!!, yes, still…) brought me a guacamole basket filled with avocados, limes, tomatillos, Habanero peppers, chili peppers and jalapenos! We could only put so much in the guac, and then I made chicken tacos with some of them… they are damn spicy! So, I figured, why not Pump Up the Volume ( yes, I just went there) and pull a Christian Slater on this cornbread!

Sweet with honey (and love) and spicy with chilis! That would definitely be something to write about.

So, you will need…

  • 1 1/4 C. All-Purpose flour
  • 3/4 C.  Corn Meal
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 C. Milk
  • 1/4 C. Canola Oil
  • 2 Egg Whites, beaten (NOT WHOLE EGGS)
  • 2 fresh jalapenos diced
  • honey to drizzle over uncooked cornbread before baking, hence the sweet and spicy… just saying!

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and grease preferred method of baking pan, dish, skillet, etc.
  2. In a  large bowl combine flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix lightly, just until everything is combined.
  3. Add Milk, Canola Oil and beaten egg whites. Mix well.
  4. Add jalapeno, diced, chopped however you like them!
  5. Spoon batter into prepared baking pan.
  6. Drizzle honey over each piece. The honey will sink into the cornbread and create a delicious crust.
  7. Bake for 20-22 minutes!

 

These are best served fresh, and don’t be afraid to add a bit more spice!

Happy Baking!

Perfect White Chip Brownies

Once you taste these you will understand why I have the nerve to title a recipe “perfect”. Please don’t think me rude! I love brownies and I like to play around with recipes until I find a recipe that makes me happy. This one was super easy actually, and I only made two batches before finding what I longed for… a beautifully moist brownie with a perfectly chewy crust… I mean, that is what brownies are supposed to be!!!! I love white chocolate, so I mixed in white chocolate chips to add a more complex flavor. It works! These brownies are so good, I am not allowed to have any more or I will definitely lose my waist to these scrumptious brownies!

So, you will need…

  • 1 C. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 4 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/4 C. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 – 1 C. White Chocolate Chips
  • Lots of Love

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease brownie pan with butter
  2. Combine sugar, melted butter and vanilla, mix well with wooden spoon.
  3. In a separate bowl beat the eggs with a hand whisk until fluffy. Add to sugar mixture and combine well.
  4. Sift together flour, cocoa, salt,  and baking soda and mix into sugar mixture until smooth.
  5. Add white chocolate chips and mix until everything is combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes.

I enjoyed mine fresh out of the oven with a little bit of frozen yogurt… it was amazing. I forbid myself from having more than one… but i don’t think I have the willpower. These are so delicious, you owe yourself a bite!

Happy Baking!

Apple Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I love to eat, and as I have previously mentioned in this blog, I am also a “Juicer”, which means one or two of my meals each day are juiced! I am like every other woman in the world who just isn’t satisfied with her weight! Anyway, today I am experimenting with a new way to make Oatmeal cookies.  Most of the recipes I have come across in my time call for lots of sugar and lots of butter and that seems like it would cancel the “healthy” right out of them. On the other hand it kills me to look for an alternative to butter because butter is glorious and possibly the best ingredient since Kobe beef, I mean… am I right or am I right?!

I tried to used yogurt and banana instead of butter… and they weren’t “bad” but the cookies seemed more like a muffin than a cookie. I decided that cutting out butter, at least for me and my baking style, isn’t going to give me the results I require for excellent baking! So, I figured that cutting back on the butter and the sugar was good enough for this recipe!

Luckily these are one of my favorite cookies, and they aren’t that bad for you to begin with. So… let us see!

 

So, you will need…

*makes 40 smaller cookies or 18 large cookies

  • 2 1/2 C. Oats
  • 1 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbs Butter, softened and unsalted
  • 2 Tbs Canola Oil
  • 1 C. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 Egg White
  • 1/3 C. Apple Butter, homemade of course
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 3/4 C. Raisins and Chocolate Chips (Combined)

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  3. In a larger bowl mix butter and canola oil until combines and creamy. Then add brown sugar, mix until everything is well mixed and looking fluffy (using a beautiful wooden spoon of course!)
  4. Add egg white, apple butter, vanilla and raisin+chocolate chips. Mix well.
  5. Combine the dry mixture with the wet mixture, mix until all ingredients are well mixed in.
  6. Use your hands to for cookies. Slightly moisten them with water so that the dough doesn’t stick. Form little 1/4 inch balls for a smaller cookie, or a 1 1/2 inch ball for larger ones. Then flatten each cookie with your damp fingers to get a more elegant look to your fabulous cookies.
  7. Space cookies about 1 to 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 15- 18 minutes.

And I will say, these are pretty good! You barley notice the lack of white sugar and excess of butter. Give it a try my little bakers and let me know what you think!

Happy Baking!

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Hello my little  bakers! So, I was trying to come up with a “healthy” version of a pumpkin cookies, and as it turns out, a “healthy” pumpkin cookie is a muffin! SO, back to test kitchen with some delicious Pumpkin Spice cookies! You need butter to make these cookies the way I want them! Believe me, these cookies melt in your mouth, and it is so worth it to run that extra mile once you taste these! I’m going to run five today!

Anyway, these cookies have all the taste of a spiced pumpkin pie, but with a light and airy body. They literally melt away as you take a bite! They are easily made into cookie sandwiches, and they taste amazing both ways. If you want a crisper cookie try cooking them for 20 minutes or so, checking the bottoms after 15 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.

So, you will need…

  • 2 C. Butter, softened
  • 2 C. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 15 oz. Pumpkin puree
  • 4 C. All Purpose flour

Frosting

  • 1/2 C. Butter
  • 1/2 C. Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 C. Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 1/4 C. Powdered Sugar
  • 3 Tbs. Heavy Cream
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Here was my process…

  1. Set the oven to 350 Degrees F.
  2. Beat butter in a large bowl for 30 to 45 seconds until fluffy.
  3. Add sugar, baking soda, baking, powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix well. (You can use a hand blender, a stand up mixer or a good old-fashioned wooden spoon.)
  4. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
  5. Add pumpkin, mix until well combined.
  6. Add flour gradually and use a wooden spoon to mix the flour in until well combined.
  7. On a parchment lined baking sheet, use a pastry bag to pipe out cookie onto sheet. They should be about 1 1/2 inches wide and 2 inches apart so they don’t spread out into one another.

 

  1. For the Frosting, in a saucepan heat up the butter and brown sugar until smooth and melted.
  2. Stir in milk and vanilla.
  3. Beat in powdered sugar  and cinnamon until smooth.
  4. Add  Heavy Cream to cut the sweetness
  5. Let cookies cool completely before attempting to frost them, unless you want to try one immediately!

If these cookies don’t put a smile on your face, you might just be dead! Please try and enjoy!

Happy Baking!