Chocolate meet cream puff...
cream puff meet whipped cream...
whipped cream meet strawberries...
all of you meet my BELLAH!
Okay so let's start out with
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BECCA!
I love ya, adore ya, can't get enough of ya, and am so happy to help you celebrate you special day!
For those of you who do not know Becca, she blogs at It's Yummilicous. She is an amazing baker who blows my mind constantly. Baking is such a science and let me just say I'm a baker who fakes it. Becca is a baker who know what's she's doing. Everything she does is done to perfection.
Becca is a total sweetheart on a personal level. I enjoy gabbing with her so much. She's so personable and kind. There's always a little mischief going on and the sillies are ready to come out on a moments notice. I dig that in a friend. Someone who is sympathetic when life sucks but also silly when you need to have a giggle-fest of epic proportions. I am determined to meet this chick one of these days in person. I have a feeling we will cause havoc and laugh like complete imbeciles the whole time we're together.
When I suggested a day to post the interview I had no idea it was Becca's birthday. When she told me I thought perhaps she had something else planned and offered to move the date. The lovely Becca said "no way chiquita banana, you MUST post this on my birthday", or something like that. I may have exaggerated the banana part. So I happily agreed and was incredibly touched she would want me to help celebrate her big old birthday. Oh wait, don't say "old". Chicks hate that right. Okay, so I'm helping Becca celebrate her "super youthful" birthday. Becca I was going to bake you a cake a la Movita Beaucoup style, but then I realized I am not as talented as Movita so I scratched that idea. I'm not a cake decorator type, I know this is odd information from someone who bakes up a storm. If you notice my past posts though you will realize there's not many traditional type cakes or cupcakes on the blog. I'm not a big cake kind of chick. Don't judge, I just prefer to make other sweet treats. Don't get me wrong, I can eat my weight in cake if someone else makes it but I'm not inclined to make cakes myself. So I muddled over what to make for you Miss Becca, I mulled like a mother. Then it hit me. I dig cream puffs, and I know you have made them so it seems you dig cream puffs. It's a match made in heaven. I took your cream puff recipe and added some chocolate. Cuz I loves ya, and I know you loves chocolate. Or at least I loves chocolate. And since I'll be eating ALL the cream puffs in your honour it seemed important that I like chocolate. I loves ya enough to jam 36 cream puffs in my pie hole in honour of your youthful birthday. It will be a huge sacrifice but you are SO worth it Miss Becca. Happy Youthful You Will Always be 29 Birthday. Love ya big time bestie!
Now for all of you who aren't Becca, which I'm guessing is a lot, I have a lovely interview to accompany the cream puffs. I had the distinct pleasure of getting to annoy and irritate Becca with all my crazy antics. Sit back and enjoy.
BURNING DOWN THE KITCHEN WITH BECCA OF IT'S YUMMILICIOUS:
Rapidfire Q & A:
1. How did you get started blogging?
I started blogging while I was attending culinary school. The marketing department approached me and asked if I’d be interested in blogging about my experience as a non-traditional college student. I was 45 years old, had never attended college before, and was an AWFUL cook, so I had PLENTY to blog about!
2. Do you read a lot of blogs in your spare time?
HA! Yes, I do... it’s a bit of an obsession, actually. If I listed them all into a blogroll, you’d spend a week reading through the list!
3. What do you think draws people to blogs as opposed to recipe sites?
I think people want to know more than just how to make a dish. I think some want to be told a story about the food they’re eating. There’s so much history behind the foods we eat and it can be truly fascinating to learn about it.
4. You have an amazing relationship with your readers, what’s the best story you can share with us about a fan email or comment?
I can’t express my love for my readers deeply enough. They are SO incredibly supportive and I’m so indebted to them for helping me to learn to love myself for who I am.
I became very sick a couple of years ago and I decided to put my heart on my sleeve and tell my readers about my diagnosis. I figured that I’d lose a few subscribers, but those who stayed around would understand why I couldn’t blog as often as I wanted to. Within an hour of posting, I had received over 50 emails, from people all over the world! The emotional support and prayers for healing that they offered up touched me in a way that I will remember always. I am SO blessed!.
5. What inspires you when it comes to cooking?
Because I don’t have any family cooking heritage, I look for my inspiration in the foods that I use to create dishes with. If I can take a plain, ordinary chicken breast and add color and flavor to make it come to life on the plate, I know I’ve done well. OK... just to clear up any confusion, I don’t want the chicken to come BACK to life. That would be very ugly.
6. What’s your favourite place to eat when going out for a night on the town?
I love intimate, quiet little bistros. I’m not a party girl and I don’t care much for crowds. I want to be able to enjoy a conversation with my dinner partner 🙂
7. Is there anything you won’t eat?
My mom raised me pretty well, but there are 3 foods that would require me to be handcuffed and force fed: lima beans, Brussels sprouts (yes, even with bacon), and liver. Oh, and I’m deathly allergic to all forms of coconut. Good tip to keep on hand if you really want to get rid of me quickly!
8. Do you have any weird food quirks like me, I can’t have my food touch on my plate, and weird things like that? Any oddities you’d like to share?
Geez, I eat my food so fast, I don’t have time to notice that it’s touching on the plate. You really are weird, Kim! 😉 I think the only really quirky thing is that my food has to be dead. You know, no uncooked or raw proteins. #HateSushi
9. Do you have a favourite food show you watch all the time?
I recently started watching America’s Test Kitchen and I’ve been learning a lot of great tips. I also love to follow MasterChef.
10. If you could build your dream kitchen what would it look like?
It would include everything on this Pinterest board AND I’d have a life size cutout of Mark Harmon in the corner. Don’t judge...we all need a good man in the kitchen.
11. Sweet or savoury for late night snacking?
I’m trying desperately to avoid late night snacking, but who am I kidding? I need my ice cream fix!
12. Fave kind of spice?
I love deep, earthy spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom..
13. White or whole wheat flour when it comes to baking?
I use a lot of whole-wheat pastry flour so that I can get a great balance of the two without losing tenderness in my baked goods.
14. Butter or margarine for baking? Is this a test?
You’re joking, right? BUTTAH up!
15. Pepsi or Coke, or something else?
I’m trying to kick my Caffeine-free Diet Pepsi habit. True Lemon raspberry lemonade is REALLY good!
16. If you were stranded on a desert island and had one thing wash ashore to make cooking easier what would you hope for?
Didn’t you read question #10? Oh, besides Mark? Umm...
17. If you could plan a foodie trip to any place in the world where would it be and why?
*knock knock* Kim... there’s someone at your door! OPEN IT... I’m freezing out here!
18. What’s your best food memory?
When I turned 12, my daddy taught me how to make chili with his “secret ingredient” (2 squares of Bakers Unsweetened Chocolate)
19. What’s your favourite way to spend down time when not blogging?
I love helping others learn to save time and money in their kitchens. I give free in-home cooking classes and it’s SO much fun!
20. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Is blogging still a big part of the picture?
I think blogging will always be a part of my life. It helps me to grow as a person when I keep myself challenged, and as you know, blogging takes a lot of time, patience, energy, and dedication. It’s definitely a challenge worth waking up and doing every day though. I love it!
Dare Portion of Burning Down the Kitchen:
Chocolate Cream Puffs with Whipped Cream & Strawberries | Happy Birthday Becca
For the dough:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla salt regular salt is fine
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 2 tablespoon cocoa
- 5 eggs
For the chocolate glaze:
- 4 oz of chocolate I used semi sweet
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- ½ cup heavy cream
For the filling:
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons confectioners sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
For the middle:
- ½ to 1 cup strawberries sliced
For the dough:
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- In a medium saucepan combine your milk, water, salt and butter. Cook over medium heat until butter melts.
- Add the flour and cocoa, stir like crazy until the mixture is coming away from the sides of the pot and starts to sort of shape a ball.
- Take off heat and stir for a couple more minutes to mix well and allow to cool a bit.
- Now transfer this to a stand mixer.
- Using a paddle attachment start to add your eggs one at a time. Mix well between each addition. Different variables can affect the dough so you may need to increase or decrease your eggs accordingly, but for me 5 was the magic number.
- You will know it's right when it flows off the end of the paddle and almost makes a v shape as it starts to drop.
- Transfer to a piping page with a large tip.
- Lay parchment on 2 cookie sheets.
- Pipe the mixture into little round balls. Smooth the pointy tips with a wet finger.
- Pop in the oven at 375 F for 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 350 F and cook for 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 325 and cook for 10 minutes.
- Turn oven off, crack the door slightly open and leave the cream puffs in there for about 5 to 10 more minutes. You want the outside sort of hard to the touch.
- Remove and allow to cool a rack.
- Once cool cut them in half.
For the chocolate glaze:
- Place chocolate and corn syrup in a heat proof bowl.
- In a small saucepan bring the milk to a low boil. Once it's hot pour it over the chocolate and corn syrup and allow to sit for about 2 or 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth.
- Now dunk the cream puff tops in and swirl them around. Place on a rack to dry.
For the filling:
- In a stand mixer whip the ingredients until fluffy.
- Transfer to a piping bag with a large tip and pipe into the middle of the puffs.
- Top with strawberries.
- Place the top back on.
- Serve with a big old Happy Birthday smile!
Confectioners sugar is optional is whipped cream, we just like ours extra sweet.