Tag Archives: coffee

Choux Au Craquelin


Choux Au craquelin

Let me just start by saying choux pastry isn’t as difficult as you perceive it to be. It’s just science – eggs, fat and water doing its thing when heated, evaporating and expanding. I love watching it through the oven glass, seeing it rise and expand (time lapse anyone?) effortlessly and with such grace. I’ve used the same choux pastry recipe for many many years, and it works every time. Even before I had my Kitchenaid. It was always a one bowl action and me beating the eggs in vigorously to incorporate it into the batter. Usually they are piped into little domes for petite treats on a dessert platter, filled with whipped cream, or one time when I wanted a large dessert display but didn’t want to make macarons, a croquembouche tower.

What’s changed here is the addition of a cookie crumble layer that closely resembles the skin of Hong Kong style pineapple bun. After our second night in a row having the same dessert, we agreed that this is the best dessert of 2019 (well two months in): ice cream in choux au craquelin puff: crunchy, fluffy, sweet and creamy alllll in the one bite. So simple and yet so heavenly! I love the craquelin, creating this sweet crumble hat on top of the choux, allowing it to rise evenly (honestly have you ever seen choux that are this round in shape?)

The best thing about these puffs are that once made, you can easily store them in the freezer, and refresh them in the oven for 5 minutes before your next round. Our ice cream selection today is the Appleby Farms Ipanema Coffee, so dreamy.

Post-publish note: Erin noted our recipes were very similar and I must say this is pure coincidence! My choux pastry recipe dates back 20+ years (with tweaks here and there) and the Craquelin recipe is a scaled up version from one I had in a pastry class, similar to the HK tiger skin on breads for pineapple buns. In the interest of full transparency, you can find her recipe on her cloudy kitchen website.

Further edited after an intense testing weekend!

Choux Au craquelin

Craquelin cookie top

  • 100g unsalted butter, soft (room temperature) and cubed
  • 120g brown sugar
  • 120g plain flour
  • 5g (1/2 tsp) vanilla bean paste

Choux Pastry (same for puffs or éclairs)

  • 120g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 125g water
  • 125g full fat milk
  • 5g (1/2 tsp) vanilla bean paste
  • a pinch of salt
  • 10g sugar
  • 160g plain flour
  • 240g eggs, well beaten (this equates to about 4.5 size 7 eggs which are about 55g each. I beat them in two bowls, one with 4 eggs and the other with 1 egg. You will see why in the instructions following)

Making craquelin

  1. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat all ingredients on medium until combined.
  2. Tip the dough onto a large piece of baking paper, and place a second sheet over it. Flatten dough and roll out to 2mm in thickness.
  3. Place the baking paper-sandwiched dough in the freezer for an hour, or until ready to use (this step can be done in advance of baking day).

Making the choux pastry

  1. Preheat a convection oven to 160 °C. Place butter, water, milk, vanilla paste, pinch of salt and sugar into a medium size saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a big boil, till the butter melts completely. Take pan off the heat, and immediately add, liquid to the plain flour, and mix vigorously with a spatula or wooden spoon. Mix till there are no lumps of flour visible and the dough is smooth and shiny. Return dough to pan.
  2. Return to a low heat and cook for another minute to dry the dough slightly. The dough should pull away from the sides of the pan and stop when it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or a bowl if using a hand held mixer).

Adding the eggs

  1. Beat the dough (while still hot) and add in the main lot of eggs in a stream. It is important to gradually pour the eggs into the mixture, and allow it to be incorporated before adding more.
  2. After you’ve added the first lot of eggs (4 eggs) stop the mixer and check the consistency. At this point, the batter should still be too stiff. The batter would not stretch down like a V shape before breaking off. Slowly add half of the 5th egg (your second bowl of whisked egg), which should be just enough to bring it to the right stretchy texture. If not, then add a bit more from what’s left of the 5th egg. The dough should have a nice sheen, thick and drops like a V shape for 5 seconds when lifted up.

Choux Au craquelin

Piping

  • Fill batter to three quarters of a piping bag with has a large round tip fitted (or just use snip the ends off the piping bag and use without a tip). Pipe large round domes, 3.5 to 4cm size rounds, matching the cookie cutter size for your craquelin discs. I can fit 16 on my standard sized baking sheet. There should be enough to pipe 3 sheets.

Choux Au craquelin

Note: To save time, I often prepare the pastry to this step a day in advance. Freeze the piped choux and use as below when ready.

  • Take the sheet of craquelin from the freezer and peel off the top piece of baking paper. Using a cookie cutter, cut 45 discs. Place a craquelin disc on top of each dome just before baking.

Choux Au craquelin

  • Bake at 160°C for 40 minutes. It should be all puffed and golden Don’t be tempted to open the oven door before, it will prevent it from fully rising and risk collapse (if using a commercial oven, start at 170°C and reduce oven heat at 20 min mark to 160°C and bake a further 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown all around.)
  • Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack. Prick each of the puffs with a sharp skewer or toothpick to release steam.
  • If your oven produces beautifully even heat throughout, and the puffs aren’t too brown when you check at the 20 minute mark, you can probably keep it cooking at 160°C throughout. Otherwise drop it to 155°C.

Choux Au craquelin

  • When completely cool, cut a lid off the top of the puffs three quarters of the way, so that the lid still attaches to the bottom of the puff.
  • Fill with a scoop of your favourite ice cream and serve immediately.
  • Alternatively, fill with whipped chocolate ganache (like a creameux) and fresh whipped cream.
  • You can also freeze baked puffs. Just refresh in 150C fan oven for 8 mins. It will further draw moisture out from puffs, making it super crunchy.

Choux Au craquelin
Choux Au craquelin

Tiered Baileys Chocolate Coffee Cake with swiss meringue buttercream frosting


I adore this recipe as it makes the whole house smell of Baileys 🙄. The cake itself isn’t too rich and sweet, with the subtle coffee aroma punctuating the smooth irish creme liqueur. The swiss meringue has a buttery, full bodied sweetness which goes very well with the cake.

In making a tall three-tiered cake, I opted to make 6″ sized layers (my prefered size for non-wedding cakes). I transported it on an 8″ cake disc placed in two cake boxes – upturning one of them as the lid of the other. (Miss 9’s casual comment was the solution to my problem!)

Please do serve them in smaller portions – you can always go back for seconds. Cut rectangular 1.5cm thick slices and drop it onto a cutting board. Further cut into fingers of 1.5cm width. Baileys cake with a hint of coffee, tastes exceptional with tea.

Ingredients for 3 x 6″ layers, for a three-tiered Cake:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Valrhona or Equagold)
  • 1 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 3 Tbsp instant coffee granules (Moccona)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup oil (rice bran)
  • 1 cup Baileys Coffee Irish Cream liqueur
  • 1/2 cup Baileys, extra for imbibing
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (Equagold)

Ingredients for the ganache filling:

  • 120g chocolate drops (I used Equagold 70% Ghana dark chocolate)
  • 150ml cream
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces, for sprinkling over the icing (I used Solomon’s gold Smooth Dark kibble)

Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. Prepare three 6″ cake pans by oiling and lining with baking paper.
    2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer on low to break up any lumps and then slowly add in the wet ingredients. Mix until smooth, about 2 minutes.
    3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
    4. Prepare the Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing while the cake is cooking.
    5. Allow the cake to rest and cool for at least 10 minutes before flipping onto a wire cooling rack and cool to room temperature.
    6. While the cake is cooling, warm the cream till it barely comes to a boil on the stove. Remove from heat and pour over the bowl of chocolate. Let it sit in the cream for 5 minutes then stir to combine. Once combined, leave it to cool for 30 minutes before drizzling.
    7. Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake decorating turntable.
    8. Imbibe the top of the bottom cake layer with Baileys and then spread on ganache icing.
    9. Layer on the second cake and repeat with Baileys and ganache.
    10. Place the top layer on and ice the cake with swiss meringue buttercream. You can achieve the ‘naked cake effect’ by putting just enough icing to cover, without covering every little bit of cake.
    11. Holding a metal ruler or rectangular scraper at 45 degrees to the cake, turn the turntable so that your icing spreads cleanly around the cake.
    12. Pipe blobs of icing using a large round (wilton 1M) or jagged tip on top.
    13. Decorate with freeze dried berries, chocolate pieces etc.
    14. Refrigerate so that the icing hardens – the cake tastes absolutely better the next day.

The Chocolate and Coffee Show 2017


It was like candyland gourmet version: decadent chocolates everywhere and almost all the great brands and artisan chocolate and coffee producers in NZ were at this weekend’s Chocolate and Coffee Show at the Cloud.

I think this is the only time I told Miss 9 to eat as much chocolate as she would like – we burst out laughing at her “what are you saying, mum?” reaction as I named the brands that are at the show. We simply couldn’t contain ourselves.

As we only had 2 hours in between other appointments in life, I was worried we wouldn’t have enough time. Truth be told, I was worried I wouldn’t get close enough to the stalls to sample all the things I wanted to.
None of that turned out in reality, as the Cloud was a beautifully lit space (thank you natural light my camera loves that) and the show was very nicely run. Stalls were large and well spaced so there was plenty of room.

Our first stop was Macho Mini cupcakes. Perfectly cake to icing ratio! There were so many to choose from: Rocky Road, Mint, Oreos and even one inspired by Moustache cookies!

Machomini cupcakes

With the list of winners from this year’s Academy of Chocolate award and NZ Chocolate Awards in mind, we visited some of the NZ winners:

Hogarth Chocolate

Nelson based chocolatiers, Karl and Marina source the highest quality cacao beans from around the world to create small batches of chocolate. From bean to bar, they sort, roast, crush and classify, winnow, grind and conche, age, melt, temper, mold, and wrap by hand to produce these beautiful products.

Their chocolates are exquisite: Gran Blanco and Acul du Nord won silver in the Academy of Chocolate.

These here are our favourites:

The chocolate logs are a crowd favourite – Miss 9 later confessed she ate more than what I would approve while I was chatting with Karl. It must be really delicious!

Solomon’s gold

They work directly with their network of cacao growers to produce organic single origin chocolate. Selection and grading of cacao beans take place in the Solomon’s Island, while the hand roasting and crafting of chocolate bars happen in their bespoke New Zealand factory. Their Smooth Dark is my go-to chocolate for ganaches and cakes. It also won a silver in the Academy of Chocolate awards!

Honest Chocolate

Nico and Emily, creates beautiful chocolate bars and bonbons in Snells Beach. They use organic, sustainably sourced, single origin chocolate with no artificial flavourings, preservatives or palm oil. My favourite is the cacao nib bar, so moreish and smooth.


They will shortly be opening a shop in Matakana, right next to the markets. Their Salted Caramel and Buckwheat milk chocolate tablet took out the supreme award at the NZ Chocolate Awards this year.

Kako Chocolates – my chocolate box
Have you signed up? Monthly subscription to 9 kinds of mystery chocolates, a great way of getting everyone to try something new.

My Chocolate Box, Kako Chocolates

Metters espresso martini

This is my new favourite drink 🍸
So easy to prepare – chill, pour out 2 servings. Screw cap back on and shake to make the crema – pour! I will be on the look out for their coffee liqueur and other delicious products in their range.

Despicable cupcakes


With names like Despicably Chocolate and Nuts for Nutella, you can guarantee the cupcakes will blow your mind.

Harpoon cold brew coffee
There are two product available:
The concentrate which you can use to mix with milk to make a milk based coffee.

Or drink straight out of the bottle!

There are many more stalls to see and taste, make sure you don’t miss the ones below!

Milse pop-up
Milse pop up

Urban Blended – Spiced chai

House of chocolates
House of Chocolate

Hope you enjoyed the show like I did – I’ve started my Christmas shopping!