17-23: Mocha Éclairs

17-23: Mocha Éclairs

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.

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17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries

17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries

Strap in ladies and gents, this one’s a long one. As part of my Mother’s Day brunch this year (MD2017), I thought I’d raise the bar and attempt some of the harder ones in the book–nothing impresses your mother like showing her you can cook (and bake). My mom LOVES pastries, so I made her 17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries to nosh on while I worked on trying to serve up 5-4: Eggs Benedict. Luckily, these turned out better than my hollandaise sauce attempt did.

Obviously, mine look a bit different than what’s pictured on their card–we’ll get into all the decisions and pitfalls that led to that being the case after the jump.

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15-49: Chocolate Pudding Deluxe

15-49: Chocolate Pudding Deluxe

The other of two desserts that I made for this year’s Thanksgiving (TGV 2016) was 15-49: Chocolate Pudding Deluxe (the first was 16-52: Apple Nut Saucepan Torte). With my family, it’s REQUIRED that there be a chocolate dessert option when having a big dinner, so I decided to give this one a whirl–I thought it’d be a nice contrast of flavors and textures when compared to the other options (the aforementioned torte and a pumpkin pie my mom made). 🍫

15-49-chocolate-pudding-deluxeThis was the third dish I made, continuing the Wednesday 11/23 portion of my holiday cooking marathon. Since the pudding needed to chill, I thought letting it rest in the fridge overnight would give it the best chance of holding together when served the next day. 🍮

Other dishes I made on this night (Wed. 11/23): the dressing for 1-10: Seafood Louisiana Cocktail, cranberry sauce, 16-52: Apple Nut Saucepan Torte, and a roasted garlic & herb butter to serve with 17-5: Hot Seedy Rolls.

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17-1: Croissants

17-1: Croissants

Croissants are a culinary item that have been around for well…a really long time. Crescent-shaped rolls are a part of several cuisines–one example would be the kifli from Eastern Europe, versus the well-known Western European version, like 17-1: Croissants. 🌙

17-1 CroissantsWikipedia mentions that frozen pre-formed croissants are pretty readily available these days (and have been since the 1970s), so making this recipe’s truly a labor of love–it takes a good amount of effort, as noted above.

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15-2: Chocolate Mousse

15-2: Chocolate Mousse

Since it’s currently summer, I’ve been experimenting more with the Cold Desserts section of Simply Delicious. Come fall & winter, we’ll get back to more of the Hot Desserts15-2: Chocolate Mousse is not the first mousse I’ve attempted (check out 15-1: Lemon Mousse for a citrusy variation), but it is a pretty solid chocolate mousse recipe–these are great for entertaining, or even making in individual servings and freezing for later. 🍨

15-2 Chocolate MousseAs noted above on the card, chocolate mousse is a classic and popular dessert. There are a variety of ways to approach it, as explained in this Serious Eats feature on the dish, but Simply Delicious’ version is super easy–5 ingredients are all you need. 🍫

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14-3: Grand Marnier Soufflé

14-3: Grand Marnier Soufflé

My posting’s slowed down a bit (and my husband Adam has been cranking out his posts like crazy), but I am still cooking (and eating) from this book. It’s good to take breaks every so often, and rather than abandon the blog for those break times (as I have in the past), I’m glad that he’s here to keep it alive and to lend another voice besides my own. Just wanted to get that out there. I’ll pick it back up to speed soon, but for now I’m enjoying watching it be interpreted through someone else’s eyes for a bit.

I find myself with extra heavy whipping cream now and then due to other cooking activities, and I’m the only one in the house that can consume it without much gastrointestinal distress. When I have excesses of ingredients, I try to find Simply Delicious recipes to burn off that kill two birds with one stone–using up a recipe AND the cream, 14-3: Grand Marnier Soufflé is one of those recipes.

14-3 Grand Marnier SouffleI’ve permanently borrowed a bottle from my parents (when you’re in your 30s your parents don’t seem to mind if you raid their liquor cabinet), and it’s what we’ve been using for flambéeing and any other instances that call for brandy/cognac/Grand Marnier. Why buy a brand new bottle when there’s plenty of barely touched ones sitting at their house? 🍾

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15-1: Lemon Mousse

15-1: Lemon Mousse

It took more than two years, but I’ve finally ventured into the last untouched dessert category – Group 15: Cold Desserts – with 15-1: Lemon Mousse. I’ve experimented with mousse before, both within this project and in my own cooking (here’s one of my desserts from my restaurant days), but I’ve never made this version. It’s simple, refreshing, and a good summer dessert. 🍋

15-1 Lemon MousseThis recipe is for lemon, but you could probably substitute orange, lime, or something else citrusy that’s similar if you want to get creative/different with it. This freezes/holds well, so you can make it even further in advance of the night before if you want. ❄

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5-21: Omelette with Herbs

5-21: Omelette with Herbs

A few weekends ago, on a sleepy Saturday morning, I found myself with many eggs, some fresh parsley, and a desire for an omelette. Since I’m now at the point that every time I cook, I consider whether I could use up a Simply Delicious recipe on it, I knew there had to be a true omelette recipe in there, given their heavy reliance on French fine-dining recipes & methods. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, consider making 5-21: Omelette with Herbs.

5-21 Omelette with HerbsSimply Delicious shows the half-fold omelette method in their pictures–I’ve always preferred the Alton Brown tri-fold omelette method. This is a truly classic French-style omelette, unlike the last omelette I covered (and messed up), 5-11: Country Omelette.

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16-28: Raspberry Meringue Cake

16-28: Raspberry Meringue Cake

Safeway had a deal on raspberries a few weeks back, and I knew there were some raspberry recipes lingering in Section 3 of the book that I needed to get to sooner or later. After purchasing said raspberries, the only recipe that I had all of the other ingredients for was this one, 16-28: Raspberry Meringue Cake.

16-28 Raspberry Meringue CakeI didn’t make this for a ladies’ luncheon or anything cult-of-domesticity like that–I made this to eat. I shared some with my husband, but sometimes, you just don’t need a special occasion for cake.

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