Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Profiteroles! Doesn't that sound fancy??? It's French so it has to sound fancy! These little "puffs" or profiteroles if you prefer are a yummy dessert. What I like best about these cute little puffs is that there is room to play with as far as fillings go. Actual profiteroles are small, crisp, hollow rounds of choux pastry that are split in half and filled with sweet whipped cream, ice cream, or pastry cream. The choice is yours. You can also freeze them and then have them ready for when you have unexpected guests. The traditional profiteroles are filled and then warm chocolate sauce is poured on them. If you fill them with ice cold ice cream and then pour warm ganache sauce on top, the combination of flavors, textures and temperatures are out of this world. As you will see I decided to freeze this batch that I made but because I got 13 profiteroles, I obviously felt obligated to eat one and freeze the dozen. In these pictures since I was only having one, I just filled them with vanilla ice cream (Häagen-Dazs) and then took out my bottle of Chocolate Sauce and poured it over the top. You can certainly do this too, but if you are entertaining or serving them as a special dessert I would highly recommend making the ganache sauce and pouring it on warm.

Also, speaking of ganache sauce, did you know that if you made too much (Oh my, can you ever have too much ganache?) you can always let the sauce cool and slightly harden and then just take about a teaspoon of it, roll it into a little ball, then roll it in some cocoa powder and VIOLA, chocolate truffles!!! I didn't know this until I read it on the Joy of Baking website. Thanks Stephanie for great advice!!!


You will need:
*1 cup milk (you can also use water if you don't have any milk)
  • *1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • *Pinch kosher salt
  • *1 cup all-purpose flour
  • *4 large eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2.In a medium bowl, slightly beat your eggs with a hand held whisk.

3.. Heat the milk, butter, and salt over medium heat until scalded.

4. When the butter is melted, add the flour all at once and beat it with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a dough.

5. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan.

6. Transfer the dough to your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, and beat on low speed a minute or two to release the steam from the dough.

7. Once the dough is lukewarm start adding the lightly beaten eggs and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick sticky paste.

8. At this point you have two options:
a. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe in mounds 1 1/2 inches wide and 1-inch high onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or baking mat.
b. Or,my preferred method, is just to use an ice cream scoop to out the pastry dough. If you use this method, you ABSOLUTELY need to have a bowl of water ready and dip the spoon in the water between each scooping, This will prevent the dough from sticking to the scoop.

You should be able to get either 12 large or 18 small profiteroles.
By the way, I recently spend about $15 and bought this silicone baking mat and I am sooo happy with it. It is so convenient and nothing sticks to it. In other words it's like reusable parchment paper that I can just wipe clean with a damp cloth. If you bake a lot of cookies, individual pastries you should definitely invest in one. It goes a long way and you can save money by not having to buy parchment paper. I love it.

9. Bake for 20 minutes T 425F, or until lightly browned, then turn off the oven and allow them to sit for another 10 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
11. Make a small slit in the side of each puff to allow the steam to escape. Set aside to cool.
You can also either freeze them or serve them when they cooled. If freezing them, before serving, defrost the puffs and then reheat in a 350F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until crisp. Cool before filling with ice cream.

Or you can fill them with your favorite ice cream, whipped cream or pastry cream and drizzle with ganache sauce. The first time I made them I filled them with Ina Garten's pastry cream and stored them in the fridge.
Whatever you decide to do..... Enjoy!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chocolate Banana Bread

The time came again when I had some riped bananas that were about to go bad. This time instead of making the usual banana bread I decided to try the recipe for Chocolate Banana Bread. Knowing that bananas, chocolate and walnuts are a great combination I decided to give it a try. The recipe originally came from the Joy of Baking website and was adapted by my new friend Farida at AZ Cookbook. I decided to try Farida's version because I had dark chocolate chips versus white at home and also because I am not a huge fan of white chocolate. Dark chocolate on the other hand is a whole different story. The bread was good. I even had some for breakfast. Leah, my toddler loved it too, Probably because it was chocolate. She gets if from her momma.

Also, Stephanie, owner of the Joy Of Baking site gives some great advice on her site about ripe bananas. Here’s what Stephanie suggests, “Instead of throwing them away simply slip them into a plastic bag and place them into the freezer until you have enough for baking. You can also peel and mash them, stir in 1 teaspoon lemon juice for each banana, and freeze in an airtight container or bag. They will keep about six months in the freezer.” Thank you, Stephanie, for the delicious recipe and the great advice!

Chocolate Banana Bread
From AZ Cookbook

(For anyone that cares, this top picture was also taken by me but with the flash off in my living room where I have plenty of daylight. Oh I so wish my kitchen had windows)

Here is what you will need:

1 3/4 cups (254g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (30 g) baking cocoa powder
1 cup (250 g) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 ripe bananas (approximately 1 pound / 454 g), mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (120 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (55 g) raw walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (85 g) dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Butter and flour (or spray with a non-stick vegetable spray) the bottom and sides of a 9 X 5 X 3 inch loaf pan. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla.

5. With a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients (flour mixture) until just combined and the batter is thick and chunky.

6. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips.

7. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
8. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55-65 minutes.
9. Let bread cool about 10 minutes in the pan and then remove the bread from the pan onto the wire rack to cool completely.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chicken Parmiagana

Today I am going to share with you a very special recipe... Why it's special, I don't know except that my husband and I both Looooooooooooove this chicken. There are millions of recipes out there for Chicken Parmesan, but I think I like mine better. :) I know.... I know...... what you are thinking. (Actually I don't.) Anyways, make this, you won't regret it. Also, I used to always make Chicken Parm with regular seasoned breadcrumbs, and it's yummy. Now, I make it with Panko breadcrumbs which are Japanese style breadcrumbs. They are light and airy, unlike regular breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs used to be hard to find but now they are available in almost any grocery store. Either way, you can make this recipe with either kind of breadcrumbs. Also, most people fry the chicken prior to adding the pasta sauce and cheese, I like to brush it with butter (because butter makes EVERYTHING taste better, right?) and stick it in the oven. This way the chicken isn't as fatty and I don't have to deal with frying anything.

Chicken Parmiagana
You will need:
*3 large (or 6 small) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*2 eggs beaten with a splash of milk
*1/2 cup flour
*1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (regular can be substituted)
*1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
*1/2 cup your favorite tomato or marinara sauce
*Salt and Pepper to taste


1. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel.

2. Now, if you have large chicken breasts, slice them in half. With a mallet or rolling pin pound each piece of chicken in between two pieces of waxed paper or in a plastic bag. About 1/2in. thickness.
*** You don't want to pound too hard and make the chicken super thin.... you also don't want thick pieces.

3. Combine the grated Parmesan with the breadcrumbs.

3a. You should now build an assembly line and have ready your pounded chicken, and 3 bowls with the following: the cheese/breadcrumb mixture, egg mixture and flour.

3b. Now you can preheat your oven to 375F

4. Before starting to coat the chicken, I lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken pieces. I also sprinkle some salt and pepper into the egg mixture. (If using seasoned breadcrumbs which might already be a little salty, take care to not over salt.)

5. Ok, now, take a piece of chicken and coat both sides in flour.

6. Now coat each side of the floured chicken piece in the egg mixture.

7. Now b/c I am a loser.. I forgot to take a pic.... but coat each side in the breadcrumb mixture. As you are done with each one, lay them on a baking sheet lined with foil and greased.
8. Now take that melted butter and GENTLY, listen to me when I say GENTLY with a brush PAT NOT RUB the butter onto each piece of chicken to coat the top. You can also use a spoon and evenly pour the butter on top.

9. When you have patted the chicken with butter, you can now bake it at 375F for about 25 minutes or until golden and crisp and juices run clear. Don't turn your oven off just yet.
10. After about 25 minutes take out the chicken and spoon some sauce over it. I had some herb marinara on the fridge. Use whatever kind of pasta/tomato sauce you would like.

11. It is now time for that Mozzarella cheese. Evenly sprinkle it on top of the sauce.
12. Stick your pan back the oven for about 5-7 minutes or until the cheese melts.
And that for you my friends is my very special CHICKEN PARMIGIANA! I hope you enjoy it.