As part of my Mother’s Day brunch this year (MD2017), I wanted to push my limits by attempting some of the hardest pastry recipes in the book. I tested my skills not only with 17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries, but with this recipe as well, 17-23: Mocha Éclairs. My mom always referred to éclairs as something that challenged her when she was learning to cook and bake, and that a well-executed one was something that really impressed her. With that in mind, I knew this recipe was a must-do.
I may have to make a few adjustments to Simply Delicious‘ version of the recipe–first of all, there’s no chocolate listed anywhere in this recipe, and it’s advertised as “mocha”, which is coffee AND chocolate. We may have to do something about this “slicing the tops off” idea as well.
I made 17-24: Crispy Oatmeal Cookies for a family get together and they went over very well. I didn’t serve mine in such an elaborate manner as shown on the card below, but they got a good reception because I dipped them in dark chocolate that I melted on a double boiler. 🍫
We didn’t have an ice cream on hand, but these cookies make a great desert all on their own. 🍪
I had mentioned in 9-26: Crispy Beef Turnovers and 13-13: Spinach Turnovers that there was a third turnover recipe that I had intended to make (for a trio of turnovers), but that the third recipe required a different cooking method (deep-frying versus baking), so I chose to shelve it until I could do it right.
Well, I happened to have a (borrowed, since returned) mini-deep-fryer in my possession recently, so 1-7: Trader Vic’s Crab Turnovers (the fabled third turnover recipe) was finally about to become a reality.
I do enjoy getting falafel when I go out to a Middle-Eastern restaurant. It’s much easier to cook them when you have a deep fryer. In the past, I have pan-fried some falafel, but it tastes the best when it is crispy and fried. Since we happened to be borrowing a deep-fryer, I made 13-7: Falafel.
I didn’t have any pita on hand, so I served the balls with a spicy dipping sauce instead of in the traditional pita pocket.
Here’s one I’ve made a couple of times before. 17-38: Olive Bread is a nice, easy bread to make, especially if you don’t have a ton of experience with the process. I think sometimes yeast doughs can be intimidating to beginners, but this one hasn’t failed me yet–even when I was still just beginning to make bread. If you’re looking for a more “plain” type easy bread, check out 17-6: Best Ever White Bread. However, if you like those olive batard breads from the bakery section of the market, you’ll love this one.
I’ve made this twice before, once in its intended form (but with more olives because I LOVE olives) and again soon after, but in a smaller bun-size with chipotle peppers & garlic instead of olives. I used them for slider buns for burgers intended for a New Years’ party, judging from the date on the card. What will I change about this recipe this time?
Here’s a pretty basic “chicken with sauce” type recipe that can be fancy or not-so-fancy. “Chicken Diable” or “Chicken a la Diable”, as evidenced by the name, is essentially “the Devil’s chicken”, evoking images of spices and fire. As Serious Eats notes in their version of the dish, the French have a very different idea of spiciness than some other cultures.
Everyone’s got their version of this dish–here’s Bon Appetit’s, and Google turns up many more results. Whether it’s actually spicy is up to you–if you actually like things spicy, prepare to have to add some heat to this one.
Hopefully I haven’t caught you too late for this year’s batch of holiday baking. If so, keep this one around for next year–17-37: Holiday Cookies is a great butter cookie recipe for using cutters or presses. This is part of my big batch of assorted baked goods that I made as gifts for people this year–you can find the others linked at the end of this entry.
I got a new cookie press for Christmas last year, and finally got to test it out this year. This cookie press is AWESOME–so much easier than the old stubborn buggers from the past.
As I said in 13-13: Spinach Turnovers, the holiday season is upon us and therefore, you’ll need some recipes for dishes to take with you to a party, or at least to snack on while you binge-watch Netflix. 9-26:Crispy Beef Turnovers are the heartier, meatier companion to their spinach and crab brothers.
These are remarkably similar in execution to 13-13: Spinach Turnovers, so I suggest cooking the two at the same time if you want to add some variety to your dish. However, these are mighty tasty, and stand just fine on their own as well. If you have access to a deep-fryer, consider 1-7: Trader Vic’s Crab Turnovers for a crispy, Polynesian third option.