Friday, May 01, 2009

Baking Frenzy

I had the [un]fortunate pleasure this month of hosting our bunco group. Which, if you all remember one of my previous posts on that subject, everyone always seems to bail when I host it! I had to scramble to find the subs at the very last minute, so thanks to Idyllic Ideas and her roomie, and Serena for coming on short notice!

I promised them a fun, fancy, yummy treat if they came. I was originally going to make the desert that is shown on the front cover of this Culinary Institute of America textbook, but
changed my mind when I saw that I could buy frozen puff pastry shells. Not all of them baked up perfectly when I actually baked them, and the cream filling wasn't completely set, but I still think they turned out alright. My bunco group seemed to enjoy them anyway, so I guess I can't complain too much!

I had a ton of leftover cream (I made a double batch fearing I wouldn't have enough to fill the puff pastry shells), so I promised one of the girls who did me an enormous favor that I would make her cream puffs as a thank you! It's been since I was in my first couple of semesters of Culinary School since I made these, so I was WAY out of practice! I used a recipe I found in one of my textbooks, and the batter (pâte à choux or eclair paste) was runnier than I remembered, but I thought I would bake it and see how they turned out.

No need to zoom in or come back with comments about how these are either sugar cookies, or snickerdoodle cookies and not cream puffs. They are,in fact, the first batch of the puffs! No need to post a pic of the second batch, because there wasn't much change in appearance. I decided to add a bit more flour to tighten up the paste. Turns out I had too much flour in there! I again, wanted to see how they baked, just in case. Not much puffier than the original, but definitely more dense! (Heavy cream puff cookies!)

Anyway, I left and went to dinner with the fam, and was still fuming and very disappointing that these were not working and not up to "my standards!" Nats, my roommate, was quick to recite the little vinyl saying we have stuck to our kitchen wall:
"If you don't like my cooking, lower your standards"

That made me more determined to get it right! I quickly jumped on the Internet to one of my favorite recipe websites: to get a different recipe than the obvious not-going-so-well recipe I had been playing around with for two hours beforehand. I changed it a tad from what they wanted me to do, but right from the get-go I knew this was going to be a much better recipe, and a much better turnout! I was right! My cream puffs were tall and puffy, light and fluffy, and golden brown! I filled em, drizzled em with melted chocolate, and then dusted them with powdered sugar! Now these I am actually proud of enough to call them mine (meaning that I actually made them and I will admit to it), and then give them away so I don't eat them all!

They took up all the room in my fridge! I am actually suprised that my other roommate who often seems to find her way into mine and Nat's food didn't steal any! Especially when I told her I used all HER eggs to make 'em since I was out!