Looking to impress? Or maybe you’ve been watching a lot of those baking shows while on lockdown and you think you’re ready for some of the “tougher” stuff. Well, here’s a good one for you to test your skills.
I made 17-15: Cream Puffs for Thanksgiving last year (TGV 2019), but haven’t written about it until now. Cream puffs feature pâte à choux, which is the puffy, airy dough that you also find in éclairs. We made profiteroles when I worked at a restaurant a few years ago, and it’s essentially the same thing.
Simply Delicious suggests you can fill your cream puffs with vanilla or whipped cream–the most traditional ones also feature pastry cream (crème pâtissière).
The ones we served at the restaurant I worked at were filled with house-made, hand-scooped ice cream that were (sometimes) baked and (often) assembled by yours truly and then drizzled with a chocolate glaze like these. It was one of those trendy gastro-brew pubs that made the beer onsite and had many beardy/tattooed gentlemen working there, so you can imagine the rest of the menu and atmosphere. At least we served most of it on a normal plate. #wewantplates
I had mentioned in a recent entry (16-11: Meringue-Topped Chocolate Pie) that when I make baked goods for sharing with my work colleagues, I try to make them gluten-free if possible. Not only do I have a good friend at work that eats gluten-free, it offers one more option for the other people there who may want to make a gluten-free choice as well. 17-62: Scandinavian Coffee Cake was the first Simply Delicious recipe that I adapted for this particular purpose, and it turned out really well.
In the other recipe I cited above (16-11: Meringue-Topped Chocolate Pie), I mentioned that I didn’t have the pictures for this recipe, even though I did cook it. Well, turns out I found the pictures…so here it is, over a year after I made it in reality. ⏳
Still catching up on a few old ones–but maybe you can file this one away for later on this year. 17-30: Stollen is a traditional German sweet fruit bread that is typically eaten around Christmas time. After two back-to-back years of holiday treat bundles comprised of multiple Simply Delicious creations (good way to burn them off quickly), I’ve pretty much finished off that type of recipe…at least when it comes to baked goods.
Stollen isn’t a Simply Delicious creation–Wikipedia has a pretty extensive entry on it. There’s some other pretty solidrecipesoutthere as well, if you’d like to compare them to this one. I find comparing multiple versions (from trustworthy/reputable sources) of a well-known dish helps me understand what’s essential about it (what I find common amongst all the recipes) and what’s up for interpretation (where they differ). ???
This project is coming up on 4 years old, and I’m a handful of recipes away from finishing the Baked Goods chapter–at least, according to the collection that I have. There’s definitely some out there that I don’t have the card for, but here’s one of the last uncovered few (#50!) that I do have: 17-2: English Rusks. ??☕
According to Wikipedia, English rusks are hard, dry biscuits given to babies for teething or crumbled up and used as filler for ground meat. It’s actually the US version of rusks that are more familiar–they list Melba toast and biscotti as examples.
Here’s yet another white bread recipe for you–Simply Delicious has already covered this territory pretty well with 17-6: Best Ever White Bread and 17-10: Poppy Seed Bread. 17-6: Honey White Bread is probably more comparable to traditional white store-bought bread (think Wonder Bread) than the other entries thanks to the sweetness added by the honey.?
Here’s a simple whole wheat bread recipe. 17-16: Whole Wheat Baguette has “baguette” in the name, but you could use this same recipe to make buns, rolls, sandwich bread, or any other shape you prefer. This is more of a utilitarian recipe more than anything else–nothing fancy here.
Baguettes are indeed long, thin loaves of French bread (French bread being a type of dough, not a type of shape). I made short, thin individual loaves instead, which the Wikipedia article I linked to calls demi-baguettes, although mine are probably even shorter than that. I thought individually-sized ones might be an interesting experiment instead of one or two long loaves.
One of the last few from the “in-the-queue-way-too-long” batch, here’s 17-22: Bread Loaves with Creamy Filling. I’ve been putting this recipe off for a while–I never seemed to have or remembered to buy cottage cheese to make it. Yes, in another 1980s-lowfat-health-craze-inspired moment, Simply Delicious chooses to sacrifice flavor for “health benefits”, this time by stuffing whole wheat bread with herb-flavored cottage cheese.
See? “Healthy” is right there in the description. Now, 30+ years later, we’ve determined that fats are probably better for you than we thought back then, and carbs/sugar are probably a lot worse for you. Remember, when they make things “low-fat”, they usually have to jack up the sugar to make it somewhat edible. Not really a great strategy for weight loss, as my parents’ yo-yo dieting throughout the 80s, 90s, and beyond can attest to.
One of the last entries from the Baked Goods chapter, 17-10: Poppy Seed Bread is essentially white bread with a sprinkling of poppy seeds on top. Simply Delicious shows it as a loaf, but I chose to make it into rolls/buns–since you’re already topping the bread with seeds, it makes it very reminiscent of sesame seed hamburger buns. ?
Even 20+ years later, most mentions of poppy seeds inevitably end up referencing this Seinfeld gag, where Elaine’s love for poppy seed muffins keep causing her to test positive for opium on a work-administered drug test.
This often leads to the question: Can poppy seeds really affect a drug test? And the answer, according to the New York Times, is actually “Yes!” ? You’d have to eat a LOT of them (much more than what the recipe for this bread contains) to have it show up at levels that would cause alarm–but the claim does actually have merit.
Here’s one of the last few recipes left from the chapter on baked goods, Group 17: Baked Goods. I made 17-14: Nutty Muffins for work–I thought they’d make a nice accompaniment to everyone’s morning coffee. ☕️
See? Even Simply Delicious shows them being served with coffee. Wikipedia offers a deeper dive on the history of muffins if you’re interested/bored. There’s a difference between these types of muffins (referred to as “quickbread” muffins or “American” muffins due to the fact that they’re very similar to a cupcake or other types of sweet, dense, cake-like bread) and the traditional “English” muffins that you get with Eggs Benedict or an Egg McMuffin.
As part of my Mother’s Day brunch this year (MD2017), I wanted to push my limits by attempting some of the hardest pastry recipes in the book. I tested my skills not only with 17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries, but with this recipe as well, 17-23: Mocha Éclairs. My mom always referred to éclairs as something that challenged her when she was learning to cook and bake, and that a well-executed one was something that really impressed her. With that in mind, I knew this recipe was a must-do.
I may have to make a few adjustments to Simply Delicious‘ version of the recipe–first of all, there’s no chocolate listed anywhere in this recipe, and it’s advertised as “mocha”, which is coffee AND chocolate. We may have to do something about this “slicing the tops off” idea as well.