Friday, December 31, 2010

Homemade Ferrero Rocher

I looove Ferrero Rocher truffles! Since I saw the recipe for homemade ones on Blue-Eyed Bakers, they've been on my ever-growing to do/bake list.

They don't taste exactly like Ferrero Rocher but they still are delicious! Next time I would put a toasted hazelnut in the centre of each truffle and would just make them a bit smaller. If you love the combination of hazelnut and chocolate (and Nutella!) you should definitely give these a try!

Oh and I almost forgot! Happy New Year!!! See you in 2011!


Ferrero Rocher Truffles
Adapted from Blue-Eyed Bakers
Makes about 16-18 truffles

100 g hazelnut wafer biscuits, crushed
1 cup hazelnuts
2/3 cup Nutella
1-1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast them for 8 to 10 minutes. Let the hazelnuts cool and remove the skins by rubbing them with a paper towel. Place them in a food processor and grind until they are finely chopped. In a bowl, add the crushed wafer biscuits, chopped hazelnuts and Nutella, and stir to combine. Refrigerate the mixture for about 20 minutes.

Onto a baking sheet lined with parchement paper, use a small scooper to scoop little balls of the cooled mixture. Put the baking sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and shape the balls with your hands to make round smoothe balls. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for another 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a medium-sized saucepan halfway with water and heat until the water simmers. Place a heatproof bowl on top of the saucepan with water and place the semisweet chocolate chips in the bowl. Stir until the chocolate has completely melted and turn the heat to very low. Coat the chilled truffles in the chocolate and place them on a banking sheet lined with parchement paper. Allow chocolate to set at room temperature for an hour. Truffles can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

If you have some melted chocolate left you can use it to dip 0ther things you have home. I dipped pretzels and pieces of clementine!

Monday, December 27, 2010


Merry Christmas everyone!!

This year, I decided not to make gingerbread men like I always do and try something different. My boyfriend really loves panettone, especially the chocolate chip one, so I tried making orange chocolate chip panettone! And to tell you the truth, I don't really consider what I made panettone, since it's supposed to be sort of fluffy and light on the inside and mine turned out a bit dense. Kind of like a cake :(

I'm still posting the recipe in case any of you want to give it a try. I made a few changes since I didn't want to add dried fruit. But I'm sure I did something wrong mainly because after the 15 hours of rising, my dough hadn't rised! I searched online to see what can be the cause and there were a few alternatives:

1) The yeast is dead (or expired).

2) Proofing is done in a cool place.

3) The dough wasn't kneeded enough.

I thought maybe my oven was too cool for the rising, so I preheated it a bit, let it cool and placed the dough inside for another 5 hours (first rising). It did rise a bit, but not even close to triple the size. I still decided to continue with the recipe and bake it to see the ending result. It wasn't bad at all, just not a panettone!


Slow Rise Panettone
Adapted from Andreas Recipes (Gourmet Magazine 2008)
Makes one 6x4-inch panettone

3-3/4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
Zest of one orange
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup lukewarm water
1 tbsp warm honey
12-1/2 tbsp unsalted butter (10-1/2 tbsp softened and cut into tbsp, 1 tbsp melted, 1 tbsp chilled)
3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

6x4-inch panettone mold

In the bowl of a mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast, orange zest and seeds of the vanilla bean and mix at low speed. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, 2/3 cup lukewarm water and the honey.

While the mixer runs at low speed, pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients slowly. Increase speed to medium-high and continue mixing. Add the softened butter, 1 tbsp at a time, mixing completely after adding each tbsp. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is smoothe and elastic, about 8 minutes.

Melt the 1 tbsp of butter, let it cool and mix it into the mini chocolate chips. Stir the chocolate into the dough with a wooden spoon.

Place the dough in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise in a cold oven with the door closed for about 12 to 15 hours, until the dough has nearly tripled in volume.

Rub your hands with flour, sprinkle the dough lightly with flour and turn it onto a floured board. Sprinkle a little more flour onto the dough. Fold the edges into the centre and place seams side down into the panettone mold. Cover with a damp tea towel and let it rise in a draft-free spot at room temperature for about 3 to 5 hours, until the dough is just above the top of the mold.

Place the rack in the lower third of the oven (closer to the bottom than the top) and preheat it to 370 degrees F. Place the mold with the dough onto a baking sheet. Use a serrated knife to score an X across the entire surface of the dough and place the 1 tbsp chilled butter into the centre of the X.

Bake for about 1 to 1-1/4 hours, until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of the panettone comes out moist but not wet. The top of the panettone will be dark (but not burnt). (I covered it with foil paper after 1 hour in the oven so the top won't burn.)

Pierce the skewers all the way through the panettone and through the papers. (This part I found weird!) Hang the panettone upside down over a large pot or between 2 objects of equal height. Cool completely, then slice into wedges for serving.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cupcakes for a Celebration!

My boyfriend's niece was baptized a few weeks ago and her mother had asked me to make some cupcakes for the reception. Me? Make cupcakes for a baptism? I was so honoured!!

She wanted vanilla cake with three types of icing. After a few hours of searching blogs and a bit of brainstorming I came up with these three:

Vanilla bean buttercream with heart-shaped fondant cutouts (S for Sofia)

Chocolate buttercream topped with purple flowers

You can click on the links under the photos to be directed to the recipes! I didn't follow all the buttercream recipes to the letter. When I made the strawberry one, I found that the strawberry purée didn't give the frosting a strong taste so I added some strawberry flavour. For the chocolate and vanilla bean, I added more milk or powdered sugar until I got the consistency I wanted.

Sofia and her family really loved the cupcakes. Ok maybe not Sofia, she still only has milk! But I have to admit my favorite was the one with chocolate buttercream!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Candycane Ice Cream

December: the best month for baking. And how better to start the holiday baking than with another ice cream? I am obsessed, I know. I don't really like flavoring ice creams with extract, but since I found this Candycane ice cream on Simply Recipes inspired by David Lebovitz, I had to give it a try!

It is simply a vanilla ice cream (a little different from how David Lebovitz makes it in his book but also very good) in which peppermint extract is added, and crushed candycanes as well in the last minute of churning. I also added two drops of pink food coloring to get a pink color. A perfect way to welcome Christmastime :)

Here is the recipe!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Oatmeal and Raisin Ice Cream

Accounting projects, quizzes in finance, case reports in organizational behavior... it's been a long semester. I try to keep myself motivated by thinking of the pastry program I'll be attending after my accounting bachelor's. I bumped into one of my friends at Cupcake Camp 2010 event a few weeks ago who studied human relations and she told me that she had just started the Professional Pastry Making program at ITHQ! I'm so jealous!! I was asking her all sorts of questions about her classes, teachers and what she was learning now (crème anglaise). She even has her own KitchenAid in her practical classes!

I've been talking to a lot of people about my future plans and many have told me that baking for a hobby and baking for a job are completely different. Yes I won't be able to take my sweet time but how different can it be? Baking everyday and learning something new everyday? That would be awesome!

So I borrowed the book Culinary Careers: How to Get Your Dream Job in Food with Advice from Top Culinary Professionals and it is an amazing book. It tells you everything about the culinary schools (in the US), how to make a resume and find your first job, the kinds of jobs in the culinary arts, etc. My favorite section is where some top culinary chefs are interviewed and answer questions like what their salary is like, advice for people who want to achieve a similar career, what they like most/least about their job, how many hours a week they work... These are things I've wondered. When I finish my pastry diploma, where will I work? Will I like it? David Lebovitz also mentioned in The Sweet Life in Paris and there is also a section in this book about it, that it is important to work in the field before going to culinary school. This way I know if I truly like working in pastry and that I will be committed to my program. I think this is a great idea, except I don't know who would be willing to hire (or accept a stagiaire) without any working experience or schooling in the industry! I think I will ask at a few large hotels in Montreal and maybe a few bakeries. There's no harm in trying!

Ok, now for this oatmeal and raisin ice cream. This is an ice cream that takes a bit of preparing since you have to make the oatmeal praline and whiskey-soaked raisins before preparing the custard, but it is worth every minute!

You basically follow the usual steps of making a custard except you place some brown sugar and cinnamon along with the cream in the bowl with a strainer (where you will add the custard before cooling it all over an ice bath). Then a few minutes before ending the churning, you add the oatmeal praline and raisins. I used a vanilla bean because I find it gives a richer taste than vanilla extract but it's a matter of preference.

This is one of my favorites and I would definitely make it again just as it's written in The Perfect Scoop. The only thing I changed was the amount of whiskey with the raisins (I used 1/2 tsp whiskey instead of 2 tsp).