Eggnog Cream Puffs

eggnog-cream-puffs

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

This is a little seasonal twist on the traditional pastries. The filling is eggnog-flavoured pastry cream, lightened with a bit of whipped cream. If you wish, you can dip the tops into caramel or chocolate glaze, but even plain and unadorned the cream puffs taste great. They are easy enough to be put together on a short notice if needed, but also can be made in advance (all the components) and only assembled the day you plan to serve them.

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Puff Pastry Strawberry Coconut Cookies

These are super easy and quickly-done (provided you’ve made the puff pastry in advance or bought it) cookies that go well with ice-cream and fruit salad.

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Carrot Orange Muffins

I bet everyone has their tried-and-true carrot cake/muffins recipe, but I will still share mine since I believe this recipe is pretty awesome. I put a little bit of banana puree in, not too much to turn them into banana muffins, but just enough to make them extra moist and fragrant. I like using fresh pineapple finely chopped in a processor, but I usually do so to utilize some leftover pineapple, other days canned pineapple does the job.

Because the batter is wet, the tops of the muffins don’t dome that high which makes them perfect for piping a generous swirl of cream cheese frosting. You should try my recipe for icing sugar-free honey frosting. Substitute honey (some or all) for maple syrup and add a bit of orange zest to compliment the orange-flavored muffins.

The batter can be also baked as a cake in a deep 9×13 inch pan or divided between three 9 inch round pans and assembled later into a more impressive-looking torte.

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Chocolate and Mocha Chantilly Mini Trifles

These chocolate cubes at the bottom are actually Alice Medrich’s “Chocolate deception” cake that I failed to unmold and extracted in two pieces. I should have known better that this kind of cake wouldn’t be easy to separate from the pan after an overnight refrigeration. I should have trusted my inner voice and baked it in a spring-form pan wrapped in foil, just like a cheesecake. But frankly, I was too lazy to bother with foil, and Alice’s suggestion was to use a regular pan, so … that’s how it ended.

Since the initial plan to present the cake in one piece and slice it at the table was out of the question, I needed a plan B. The cake was chopped in cubes, divided between small bowls and topped with mocha chantilly – milk chocolate whipped cream infused with French-roast coffee beans. It all ended well. And nobody would have known about my little mishap if I hadn’t blogged about it.

By the way, the cake – is to die for. It’s rather melt-in-your-mouth dense chocolate mousse, than a cake. But what surprises the most is how being so rich in taste the cake contains so little fat. I do highly recommend it, only bake it in a spring-form pan.

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Oatmeal Coconut Raisin Cookies

After all fancy holiday cooking and baking, and overindulging (pigging-out is actually the word), I crave simple things. These are as good as it gets. Freshly baked, they have a great texture – crispy outside and chewy interior. The following day the crispiness, unfortunately, is gone, but the flavor gets even better, so I think it makes a perfect sense to bake as many of them.

The recipe is from Alice Medrich’s Cookie book.

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Gingerbread Pizzelle with Eggnog Buttercream Filling

I hope everyone had truly wonderful Christmas. I wish you a prosperous and joyful 2012, and the most amazing New Year celebration!

There are dozens of possible filling choices for pizzelle. The buttercream has a major advantage – it doesn’t soften a crispy pizzelle shell even if they were filled a day in advance. There’s just one thing to remember when choosing buttercream as a filling: roll the pizzelle cookies tight, so the amount of buttercream inside wouldn’t be excessive and in a good proportion with the cookie itself.

Smooth and creamy crème anglaise-based buttercream is so naturally turned into eggnog-flavored one by addition of nutmeg and dark rum. It goes well with crispy spicy pizzelle shells.

Happy New Year!

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