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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5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes

5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes

Finally, one from the “revisited” pile–those are recipes I’ve already made before, but am making again for the sake of this project5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes were one of the appetizers I made for a Valentine’s Day 80’s party I talked about in 1-22: Onion-Potato Diamonds–I thought these little cheese tarts seemed very 1980s.

They’re not kidding about the “fragile” part when it comes to these tartlettes–I originally made these for this project back in July of 2016, but the whole operation went so poorly that I abandoned it and never even posted about it. Now that I’ve bought the proper equipment and ingredients for it, it went much smoother.

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17-11: Scones

17-11: Scones

Scones have a lot of different methods of preparation, usually depending on varying geographical interpretations. There’s even different pronunciations of the word “scone”–some rhyme it with “tone”, while others rhyme it with “gone.”

Simply Delicious‘ take, 17-11: Scones, seems to most closely adhere to the British version of scones in that they make theirs into round cakes, score them, and then break them apart into triangle shapes after baking. The North American versions tend to be individually-sized, round, and more often than not closely resemble what we refer to as biscuits.

One of my first memorable experiences with scones were at an 18th birthday tea party I attended in the last few months of senior year of high school–we had just come back from a Spring Break trip to England & Ireland, and I came to the tea party prepared with white gloves and pinkies up. They had scones with clotted cream & jam, finger sandwiches, and lots of flowery, delicate pots of tea. ☕️

Wouldn’t have been my choice for an 18th birthday party (I spent a good portion of mine in my dorm room hungover from a wild freshman-year-of-college Halloween extravaganza the night before), but it was definitely unique.

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16-39: Apricot Tart

16-39: Apricot Tart

I had mentioned in 16-24: French Chocolate Cake that it was one of two desserts that I made for a recent baby shower I attended: 16-39: Apricot Tart was the second dessert. I’ve been meaning to make this thing since near the start of this project, and it only took me a few years to finally get around to it. There’s something about this recipe and procrastination, though–this entry’s been sitting in my writing queue half-finished for over a month.

For the length of time that it took me to make it (and to write about it), I never even got to try it–I ended up leaving this and 16-24: French Chocolate Cake still wrapped up on the table at the party. We’ll just assume that both of them were delicious and everyone ate every last crumb of them.

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17-65: Giant Caramel Rolls

17-65: Giant Caramel Rolls

A recent Sunday brunch called for a special treat: 17-65: Giant Caramel Rolls. Similar to “sticky buns“, these rolls have been taunting me for a while. I decided to make a batch and drop them off for brunch–that way most of them gets eaten by everyone else.

Don’t get me wrong–there’s still two in my freezer as I type this. But that’s better than ALL of them. Plus, there wasn’t room for all of them–I still had 16-14: Orange-Almond Cake in there, too. The rest of these ended up in my mom’s freezer instead.

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16-9: Raspberry Tart

16-9: Raspberry Tart

Here’s a simple dessert that’s easy for a dinner, gift, or even just a snack. 16-9: Raspberry Tart is exactly what it sounds like–pie crust in a tart pan filled with raspberry preserves and topped with bits of dough. Simply Delicious uses a simple drop method for the dough topping, but I think we can do better than that. 🌟

Why did anyone think that amorphous blobs of dough were an acceptable tart topping? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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17-48: Buttery Vanilla Rolls

17-48: Buttery Vanilla Rolls

In my holiday baking batch from last year (XMAS 15), I included 17-67: Coconut Crescents to offer some variety to the endless types of cookies. 🍪 17-48: Buttery Vanilla Rolls were included in this year’s holiday baking (XMAS 16) for much the same reason, although I think I ended up with a better mix of items this year. 🎅🏼

I liked that these were baked in muffin cups as well–I thought that might make them easier to pack up and distribute/ship as gifts. To make them holiday-ish, I sprinkled them with a bit of red and green decorating sugar while they were cooling. 🎄

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15-18: Chocolate Favorites

15-18: Chocolate Favorites

Cold desserts are not my area of expertise, but I gave it a shot for this recipe. ❄ 15-18: Chocolate Favorites were a hit! I really just got a kick out of saying “Chocolate Favorite” when describing these little treats. 🍫

15-18-chocolate-favorites_page_1Bite sized pastries are the best! These two layers did come out as intended, a one-two punch of chocolate flavors. This recipe did indeed make me want to rejoice. 😆

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5-5: Individual Ham Quiches

5-5: Individual Ham Quiches

I wasn’t about to go out and buy mini quiche pans just to cook 5-5: Individual Ham Quiches. Taking the alternative route, I made this dish as one, full-sized quiche.

5-5-individual-ham-quiches_page_1I believe the card puts it best. At this point I’m not quite “fortunate enough to own small oven-proof quiche pans,” so a full-sized pie pan will do. If you use a foil pie pan, there is a lot less cleanup when the quiche is done, just toss the foil pan in the recycling. ♻

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