I’m not sure why, but I am always drawn to the most pretentious sounding recipes. Who in their right mind makes cupcakes when they could be making chocolate friands dipped in chocolate ganache? Technically they are both mini versions of a rich chocolate cake. Socially – well let’s just say everyone thinks I’m part wizard for actually pulling these off. Instead of trying to fancify your cakes by jabbing them with popsicle sticks just make something that everyone feels uncomfortable pronouncing. Simple comme bonjour!
The other reason I’m drawn to French baking it is reminds me of the four months I spent eating everything in sight in Paris. I have never really had much of a sweet tooth, but then again I had never been confronted with 5 different types of flan on such a regular basis. The part of French baking that really amazes me is that almost everything is made from some combination of butter, sugar, flour, eggs, chocolate & cream. No smoke and mirrors – only traditional recipes perfected over decades. And if you follow the recipes it really can be that easy.
I whipped these chocolate friands in less than 2 hours – for real. All these years of eating chocolate ganache I really expected it to be highly technical. Nope. Now I have to live in a world where covering things in chocolate ganache is actually an option, which honestly thrills/scares me equally.
chocolate friands (from my favourite recipe book, Tartine)
- ingredients -
for the batter
6 0z chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
for the chocolate ganache
4 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
- directions -
- preheat oven to 350 degrees. line up 30 mini muffin cup paper liners on a baking sheet.
- put chocolate in a large mixing bowl. on the stove, melt butter over medium until hot. pour butter over chocolate and stir with wooden spoon until smooth.
- in a seperate bowl combine sugar, flour, cornstarch & salt. slowly add the flour mixture to the melted chocolate in three batches. once fully mixed, add 2 eggs and stir until combined. add the remaining 2 eggs and mix until just incorporated – do not over mix.
- using a spoon or piping bag fill paper cups 3/4 full with batter. bake 12-15 minutes or until they start to crack on top. let cool completely.
- for the ganache – put chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. bring cream to just under a boil and pour it over the chocolate. let it sit for a couple minutes before stirring. gently stir until chocolate is fully melted.
- once the friands are cool hold the edges and dip the top into the ganache. let excess drip off before putting them on a cooling rack. let them rest in a cool place (not in the fridge) for at least one hour while the ganache sets.
- try not to eat all of them in one sitting.
Life, laziness & the flu. Seperately they are hard enough to deal with. The combination – deadly. As in no-posts-for-over-a-month deadly. But let’s put that behind us and start fresh – say with some home made cashew milk and super simple smoothie?
As a hard core carnivore I always feel a little awkward trespassing on vegan territory. But you know what – screw that! Who says I can’t enjoy a juicy, rare steak and still love cashew milk? Plus home made cashew milk is a million times better than regular milk and whips up in less than a minute.
The first thing to do is soak your raw cashews for at least a couple hours – I usually like to leave mine overnight. Soaking the nuts helps with digestion and makes the cashew milk uber creamy. All that’s left to do is drain, rinse, add water & blend – seriously it’s that easy. You don’t even have to strain it! The standard ratio for nuts:water is 1:4, but you can make it thicker by reducing the water.
You can either drink the cashew milk straight up or whizz it together with a few simple ingredients to make an effortless smoothie. I tend to favour frozen blueberries, but pretty much any fresh or frozen fruit would taste amazing.
home made cashew milk & blueberry smoothie
- ingredients –
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 cups water
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 tbsp maple syrup (or any other sweetener you prefer)
- directions -
- soak the cashews in water overnight. drain & rinse. add to blender along with water and blend until smooth.
- add blueberries, banana & maple syrup and continue blending. add water if needed. makes 2 servings
I’m in serious trouble – I just found out how easy it is to make French crullers. Filled with pockets of air these doughnuts are irresistibly light making it way too easy to eat the entire batch!
Making these honey glazed crullers took less than 15 minutes – how scary is that? Even worse? It doesn’t even require any unusual ingredients, just flour, butter, eggs, sugar, salt, honey & powdered sugar. Now everytime my sweet tooth kicks in I’ll have to fight the urge to whip up these addictive delights.
I found this recipe on one of my favourite food blogs, Use Real Butter. The original recipe is for beautifully piped round doughnuts but honestly, I’m way too lazy for that. Instead I opted for quick small bites that make me feel less guilty about eating half a dozen.
Good luck & don’t say I didn’t warn you.
honey glazed french crullers (adapted from Use Real Butter)
- ingredients –
for the crullers
1 cup water
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup flour
oil for frying
for the glaze
1 tbsp honey
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
- directions -
- pre-heat oil in fryer or a deep pot. the oil should be around 370 degrees.
- bring water, butter, sugar & salt to a boil over medium/high heat in a sauce pan. once boiling, add flour all at once stirring vigorously. keep stirring until the mixture comes together in a ball in the center & the bottom of the sauce pan is covered in a thin layer of film (the more moisture you can evaporate the lighter the doughnut)
- remove from heat and transfer mixture to mixer fitted with paddle attachment. mix on low for a minute to cool batter.
- mix on medium speed & add the eggs one at a time. wait until the previous egg has fully incorporated before adding another egg. once all the eggs have been added you should have a smooth, shiny mixture.
- drop a small amount of batter in the fryer to test temperature. if the oil makes a lot of noise you are at the right temperature. use two spoons to drop small, ping pong sized balls of batter into the oil. do not crowd the fryer or it will reduce the temperature and make your crullers greasy.
- let the crullers fry for 4 minutes before flipping with tongs. cook for another 4 minutes. once fully cooked the oil will become silent & the crullers will be very light. place on cooling rack with wax paper or cookie sheet underneath.
- while crullers are cooling make the glaze – mix milk, icing sugar & honey together. when crullers are cool dip the top in the glaze and put back on the cooling rack. once the glaze has set they’re ready to eat.