Chouquettes – French Sugar Puffs 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again . Easy and quick recipes delight me and even more when they are simple to make and packed with good taste . 

Uncomplicated and simple things are the best in life. People and pastries alike 😉 

So when it came to this weekend I wanted a simple and quick go to baking recipe that I could whip up in no time and voila !  I immediately thought of choux pastry and thought it had been a while since my last attempt at getting it right at home. And honestly, I’ve tried choux pastry a couple of times before and failed in a couple of more. 

So last evening I came across the most authentically French recipe of these tiny sugar puffs called chouquettes otherwise and my verdict is ‘fail proof’ for the recipe. Pastry making couldn’t get more simpler and French than this ! 

50 gms cubed butter

75 gms all purpose flour

100 ml water

100 ml milk 

3 whole eggs 

A pinch of salt 

Handful of white sugar pearls 

1. Pre heat your oven to 200 ℃ and prepare your baking tray lined with a greased baking sheet.

2. In a saucepan on medium heat, add butter, milk, water and a pinch of salt. Keep stirring until it simmers and take off from the heat immediately. 

3. Quickly add the all purpose flour all in one go and stir vigorously using a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together all in a smooth dough. 

4. Keep dough to cool until room temperature. Add eggs to this one at a time. Since the eggs I had were large, two eggs were just enough. Stir until well blended with the dough. 

5. Cut a small tip at the end of a piping bag and pour in the dough. Pipe out little circles on a baking sheet, keeping enough space between each pastry puff. Egg wash each puff gently and sprinkle sugar pearls on each. Incase you don’t find yourself sugar pearls, I’m guessing white sugar granules would do as well. 

6. Bake in the oven at 200℃ for 15 mins . As soon as its done baking,remove from oven and while still warm using a skewer poke each puff to allow the steam to escape. 

7. Store in air tight containers overnight if required. 

I hope you do give a shot and hopefully it should be your next favorite too 🙂

Until my next bake post, Happy Baking!


 

Chocolate Chip Biscotti 

One of the most versatile biscuits to me are and have always been biscotti. Twice baked biscotti can contain just about any of your favorite filling ingredients and what’s better it’s healthy as it does not contain even a gram of butter . So these have clearly been a family favorite since forever. 

Whether wheat flour or white, chocolate or fruit filling, name your favorite biscuit ingredient and add it to your biscotti mixture. It’s that simple, here is my tried and tested chocolate chip biscotti, my favorite coffee time treat. 

250 gms all purpose flour

10 gms unsweetened cocoa powder

3 large eggs

145 gms white granulated sugar

2 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt 

3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips 

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together eggs and vanilla essence and keep aside.

2. In another mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients such as the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips.

3. Combine mixtures of both bowls and knead to a smooth dough.

4. Preheat oven to 180℃. Line two baking trays and keep aside.

5. On a lightly floured surface, spread the dough and flatten to about 1/2 inch thickness. Transfer the dough onto baking trays and bake until edges have turned slightly brown, which should take approximately 20-25 minutes.. 

6. Using a sharp knife, while still warm slice into biscotti slices and place back into the oven for a second round of baking. Bake until the biscotti slices are crisp. 

7. Remove from oven and cool before storing in air tight containers. Biscottis can stay for a long time if stored well. 
Hope you enjoy this. Until my next bake post which I hope will be soon… 

Happy Baking! 

Garlic Parmesan Rolls

So I’ll begin this post with a little fact about myself . I am a Cancerian – Leo cusp by birth and those who know me say I’m a Cancerian more than a Leo (except when I am raving mad ) I’ll be a tad honest with that. 
Cancerians are warm souls and love to stay home, entertain guests, cook, love and do most things that are close to the heart. The kitchen is our space for creativity and pleasing people with our food is something we crave for. At least in my case. Baking, cooking and expressing our creativity are our biggest passions and nothing pleases us more than a crowd saying “we loved that” (and sometimes “we love you”).

End of the day we are nothing but big bowls of mush and love I say. 🙂

So for those of us who are willing to spend more than half our life near the oven and doing rounds of the kitchen, trying recipes that are family favorites and people pleasers, here’s a recipe that has to go down in your collection, whether cancerian or not, this is a people favorite. I have not heard anyone saying they hate garlic bread and then Parmesan just adds that special touch. Promising to never disappoint, here’s my version of my  new favorite dinner side. 

250 gms All Purpose Flour

5 gms Salt

15 gms Active Yeast Granules

60 ml warm water (for the yeast)

1/2 tsp Sugar ( for the yeast)

15 gms Sugar (for the dough)

30 gms Unsalted Butter

180 ml Water (for the dough ) 

5-6 tbsp Garlic Granules / Powder

6 tbsp Parmesan Cheese Powder

Freshly chopped Parsley, for garnish 

In a small bowl, add yeast granules to slightly warm water along with sugar and stir until the granules dissolve and keep aside in a warm place for the yeast to activate. You will know the yeast is ready once the mixture turns frothy.

In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, add flour, salt, sugar, butter and water and mix on low speed. As the mixer is on add the frothy yeast mixture and increase to medium speed.

Continue mixing the ingredients with the dough hook until it comes off the edges and comes together as a dough ball that’s smooth on the sides. 

On a dusted surface, pat down the dough from the mixer bowl and shape into a round ball. Cover with an inverted big mixing bowl and allow this to rise for about 20-30 minutes or until doubled. 

Once the dough has doubled, divide into balls of equal weight. I took mine to be 40 gms each and place on a baking tray brushed with oil on the surface. Place each dough ball with sufficient space in between as they increase in size while rising. Place a damp cloth over the dough rolls and allow to rise until nearly double in size.

Pre-heat oven  to 220℃. 

In a small mixing bowl, mix together garlic granules or powder, parmesan cheese powder and freshly chopped parsley. Since this will make your topping for the bread you can alter the quantities required as per your liking. 

Once the dough balls have risen and nearly doubled in size, gently spread topping mixture on the top. If you find the topping dry and slipping off the dough balls add a bit of oil to the mixture. This will ensure it will stick through the baking as well. 

Bake in the oven at 220℃ for about 20-25 mins or until golden brown. 

You can brush these rolls with butter once removed from the oven, make sure it’s done while still warm. 

This is the simplest way I like to have my garlic bread and it’s done so quick and easily, making it my go to bread recipe for any occasion or simply an evening entertaining guests at home. 

Try it to believe it 🙂

Until my next post Happy Baking!

Follow me on Instagram too @annaceta89.

Cinnamon Custard Tarts

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There are recipes. And there are recipes that back you up on leftovers left by the first recipe itself. This is one of them.

Couple of weeks back, I had an order for eggless cakes leaving me with odd amounts of condensed milk since it is locally available only ( in an even odder)  amount of 395 gram tins. Regular home bakers are often faced with this situation and with a non wastage policy I strictly follow, back up recipes are most likely to be on my mind soon after an order.

If condensed milk happens to be one of your baking leftovers, then this is your go to recipe. Cinnamon Custard Tarts stay true to what I love to post on my blog. Simple and quick.

Before I proceed with my post, I am still practicing my tart making skills. I have noticed the edges of my homemade tarts still need an expertise touch. So do bear up with the photographs that follow. However taste is something I haven’t comprised on and these tarts are sure to delight specially cinnamon lovers like myself.

130 gms self raising flour

1 tbsp icing sugar

90 gms, chilled butter cut in cubes

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp chilled water

200 gms condensed milk, sweetened

¾ cups of milk

1 tbsp custard powder

½ tbsp cornflour

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp ground cinnamon

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. In a processor, process together chilled butter cubes, flour and icing sugar until a crumble like mixture is formed. Add egg yolk and water and process for another round until the ingredients come together lightly. Tip mixture on to a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth. Wrap dough in a cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Grease your tart tins lightly with butter or oil. Roll out dough gently using a rolling pin and roll over the pie tin. Using your fingers gently tip down the dough to take the shape of the tart tin cavity and using a sharp knife cut of the edges and remove the extra dough.
  3. Prick the bases of each tart using a fork. Cover and chill for a further 30 minutes.
  4. Place tart tins on the baking tray and cover each cavity with baking paper squares over each tart. Place uncooked beans or rice and blind bake for 10 minutes or until very lightly browned.
  5. Turn off the oven and allow tarts to cool once removing the uncooked beans or rice over it.
  6. To prepare the custard filling, combine condensed milk and regular milk in a saucepan. Stir until combined.
  7. In a mixing bowl combine custard powder, cornflour, egg and vanilla essence. Slowly add the milk mixture and using a whisk gently stir. Add this entire mixture back into the saucepan and over low heat cook for 8-10 minutes until thickened. Pour into prepared tarts and chill for an hour atleast.
  8. Sprinkle with cinnamon powder and serve.

 

Hope you enjoy this recipe and maybe try your own variations with fruit or berries. Enjoy this delight in the meantime while I work on my next post, another simple and quick baked treat.

Until then happy baking and do follow my regular posts on Instagram @annaceta89

 

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Cinnamon Rolls & Pecan Glaze 

 

Newly turned home bakers take note. Fellow bakers will agree when I say that one of the most comforting and therapeutic things to make or bake is Bread.

Bread to me is the ultimate comfort food and go to snack whether it’s my late for anywhere breakfast, my lazy morning start up , my tea time companion or my late night craving. Bread compliments my every mood, not to mention anything in the kitchen too . If eating bread is not comforting enough, baking bread from scratch is even more therapeutic.

I was trained in Bread making during my short course at a culinary school and I remember nervously walking into our first bread class because all I had ever heard about bread baking from my family is that it’s a tricky thing to do. And then to begin your very first day at culinary school with a bread baking class was a little unimaginable. But hey , I was there to learn except that was the one thing had no clue about at the class with regard to prior baking experience. Little did I know I was in for a cardio session in the kitchen. We placed our allotted ingredients on the counter and we were warned to remove all hand jewellery, watches and other fancy items. What were heading in for ?

Welcome to baking bread. Without any machines. I will not try not to sound intimidating at this point but the next 30 minutes (first class chaos and madness) was spent kneading and kneading our bread dough . We were precisely instructed to knead and stretch our dough to activate the gluten for 100 times . 50 for the right hand and 50 for the left hand if you still had strength. Being our first hands on experience (literally), I could hear panting and sighing at the counters around me. Not your ideal “I woke up for class this morning and had a fancy breakfast situation.” We were in for a surprise cardio session right in the middle of the kitchen. Once the dough was pliable to our requirement we were given a break to prepare for the next class while our delicate dough stood on the side waiting for its ” Rise 1″.

Twenty minutes later we were called back to our counters and asked to prepare for Rise 2 after our our dough had been inverted, patted down and placed into our baking trays . Our instructors carefully took our precious dough trays and placed them in the main oven while excitement and anticipation took over the class. Turns out no one else had baked bread before either. And the result? 25 minutes later, risen to perfection, and perfect to the point our bread trays came our way. Believe me when I say, there was nothing more satisfying than this feeling. And there it happened, in no more than two seconds our fatigue from all the kneading vanished and soon our class was filled with the smell of baked bread. All the cardio exercise and all the kneading paid off. There is nothing better and nothing more comforting than watching your efforts turn into something this beautiful. That’s how I look at bread baking and today I will take you down this road again. Of course you need not tire yourself with the kneading. Bread making machines and mixers have cut down on all the effort in bread making with results just as same.

Cinnamon rolls are my new favorite when it comes to bread and I’m here to share the recipe I was trained with however just some fail proof modifications of my own and a pecan glaze topping if you love your cinnamon rolls with that extra special. Beware you will fall in love with these .

250 gms of all purpose flour

5 gms salt

15 gms instant yeast granules

15 gms white sugar + 1/2 tsp for activating the yeast

160 ml water

15 gms unsalted softened butter

For the filling:

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

1 tbsp  cinnamon powder

2-3 tbsp unsalted softened butter to rub

Milk to brush

  1. Let’s begin by activating the yeast. In a small bowl add to the yeast granules about 60-70 ml of room temperature water and 1/2 tsp of sugar and stir until the granules dissolve.Place the mixture in a warm place, I usually place mine in an oven so that the activation begins. Your yeast mixture is ready once the froth appears and the mixture has nearly doubled.
  2. If you have a food processor with a mixing bowl, should you wish to prepare this with a machine, attach the spiral dough hook. In the mixing bowl add ingredients like flour, sugar, butter, salt and the yeast mixture except water and begin the mixing process on slow speed until the ingredients come some what together.
  3. Increase the speed of the processor and add the water little by little and continue to process the dough until it comes together into a soft dough ball. Meanwhile pre heat your oven to 220℃.
  4. Remove dough from the mixing bowl and tip onto a dry surface dusted with flour. Place an inverted bowl over the dough to rise for about 20-30 minutes or until doubled. This is Rise 1.
  5. After the dough has doubled, remove the inverted bowl cover and invert the dough on to the same surface and pat down gently using your palms do get rid of any air bubbles. Once done , using a rolling pin gently roll down the dough keeping the general thickness of the dough to about 1cm.
  6. Using your fingers gently rub butter throughout the flattened dough and spread it right up to the edges. Spread brown sugar and sprikle with cinnamon powder depending on how strong you want the flavor of cinnamon to be .
  7. Gently roll the dough into a swiss roll cake like form ensuring to keep the sugar and cinnamon powder as much as you can within the roll itself. Pinch the edges so the filling doesn’t spill out.
  8. Using a sharp bread knife, cut cinnamon rolls about 2 inches thick or depending on your preference. I place my cut out rolls on to muffin or cupcake trays so that the rolls stay in shape for baking. Otherwise the other popular technique would be to place all the rolls in a casserole or baking tray. However in this case, pulling them out would be a little tricky unless you are okay with a pull apart bread situation.

 

  1. Once the rolls have been cut out and placed in their baking tray allow them to rise again for 10-15 minutes approximately. This is Rise 2.
  2. Once the rolls have risen, brush each roll with milk and place immediately in the oven to bake at 220℃ for about 17-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for around 30 minutes.

 

Meanwhile you can prepare the pecan glaze for the same, here’s my recipe to the best ever cinnamon roll pecan glaze, I promise 🙂

10-15 pecan nuts, halved

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

1 tbsp unsalted butter

3-4 tbsp milk

Pinch of cinnamon powder

In a non stick pan, heat brown sugar and butter. Stir over slow heat until caramelized. Add chopped pecans. Add milk one tablespoon at a time and continue stirring. Ensure sugar does not burn. Add a pinch of cinnamon powder. Add additional milk if you find the mixture too thick.

Finally, spread glaze over the cinnamon rolls and serve.

These have been the best cinnamon rolls I have had homemade. I do hope you take time to try it. You won’t have leftovers, I can assure you.

Thank you for being patient and reading this post. Believe me when I say there’s nothing more comforting than a good old homemade cinnamon roll 🙂 For more pictures and posts please follow me on Instagram too @annaceta89

Until my next therapeutic and comforting bake in the kitchen,

Happy baking!!

 

Homemade Éclairs 

 

So it is decided.

I have ran out of excuses to keep myself away from something that is an extension of my thoughts and my way of letting whats in my head take form online in word. Blogging the world calls it. And I love it. So much that the guilt of not posting something has been bugging my mind and so to say my sleep from the last couple of days. Like most other problems I have recently faced I have decided to deal with my laziness that keeps me away from a keyboard and to challenge myself to try to get a post online once every week, the least I can say, safely. Running away from a problem is no solution.

I cannot make promises I cannot keep so challenging myself to get out of corners of the house that do not require me in my free time is what I need to do. If not baking through the week, I will be here making my appearances on the blog more frequent, even if its just a couple of tips I need to share with my fellow food bloggers. 

Thank you for understanding. 

I am back from vacation and longing to share a recipe that took me by surprise. For years I have been waiting to come across the perfect homemade eclairs. The right texture and the right custard filling. After my short bakery training course last year, bakers seem to be cropping up in the family and my aunt is my recent partner in crime. She shared this recipe and it’s been modified to be fail proof. 

Éclairs, these delicate petit french baked treats are simple to make and gorgeous to look at. If you have not made these yet, I intend to get you baking soon. And I will let you in on a secret. I have modified this recipe to taste just as great with lesser calories. So no excuses now are there ?

Ingredients you ask? I am pretty sure a normally stocked kitchen would have these. So why wait. 

Custard Filling: 

1 cup white granulated sugar

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

3 cups of milk

3 egg yolks

2 tsp of vanilla essence

2 tbsp of unsalted butter

Pastry Shells: 

1/2 cup of unsalted butter

1 cup of water

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup of all purpose flour

4 medium eggs

Chocolate Topping:

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 tsp of unsalted butter

  1. Beat the egg yolks and set aside. Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a small non stick pan. Slowly add the milk while continuing to whisk. Add egg yolks and bring to a boil after mixing it well with the whisk. Reduce the heat and continue to whisk until it reaches a pudding like consistency.
  2. Remove from heat and add to it vanilla essence and butter. Blend well. Cool and keep aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 190℃. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  4. Combine butter, water and salt in a pan and bring to simmering point. Add flour to the pan and stir until it forms a ball. Remove from heat and let to cool for around 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a mixing bowl, beat in eggs one at a time. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe out finger length éclairs and bake at 180℃ in the oven.
  6. Remove from the oven when golden brown and while still warm poke holes on to the sides of each éclair to let the steam escape. Return to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes to attain crisp éclair shells. Remove from the oven once baked and allow to cool completely.
  7. Slit each éclair carefully and pipe into each the custard filling.
  8. Melt chocolate chips using the double boiler method and add butter. Blend well. Dip each éclair and allow the chocolate to set.
  9. Chill before serving.

Hope you try these soon and enjoy them as much as my family did. For more frequent posts please follow me on Instagram @annaceta89

Until next week, Happy Baking! x

 

Chocolate Viennese Roses

It’s World Chocolate Day! And for the other million reasons we love chocolate here’s a recipe that will have anyone swooning in no time. 

Viennese biscuits have been my all time favorite biscuits (if only calories didn’t exist ). These rich in texture and melt in the mouth delights is sure to be a crowd pleaser anytime. Here’s my tried and tested recipe for the Chocolate special: 

125 gms , unsalted butter

6 tbsp , icing sugar

175 gms, self raising flour

3 tbsp cornflour 

75 gms, melted chocolate 

2-3 tablespoons, warm milk (if required)
1. In a mixing bowl, mix together butter and sugar using an electric beater for about 5-6 minutes or until light and fluffy. 

2. Add to this flour and cornflour and gently fold in. Add melted chocolate and continue mixing until the batter is soft enough to pipe. ( if you require the consistency to be softer, add warm milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached )

3. Place batter in a piping bag using a rosette tip or any desired tip of your choice. 

4. On a baking tray lined with baking paper, pipe out roses or any shape of the biscuits you prefer. Keep in mind to leave enough baking space between each other. 

5. In a preheated oven at 160℃ , bake the biscuits for 10-15 minutes. Remove the biscuits from the oven and allow to cool. During this process the biscuits will harden . Store in an air tight box only. 

6. For a richer chocolate taste, these biscuits can even be dipped in melted chocolate and stored.
Hope you like this simple, quick and sinfully chocolate recipe. For more updates and pictures do follow me on Instagram @annaceta89

Until my next post, Happy Baking!