I wasn’t joking the other week when I said that I needed more choux pastry in my life. If you’ve never tried to make it before I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it is. You don’t even need any fancy equipment to make profiteroles either, just a saucepan, a wooden spoon, a baking sheet and a couple of teaspoons. It’s pretty quick, super easy and will make you feel all sorts of fancy when you show off your patisserie skills.
The filling of these is a super-simple two ingredient Nutella mousse (it’s just whipped cream and yummy Nutella but shhhh…don’t tell anyone.) Despite being so simple it tastes incredible, which let’s be honest, most things made with Nutella do!
I don’t like to serve these with the classic chocolate sauce because I think that it over powers the mousse, and tends to make them a bit too sweet. Just a little chocolate decoration is all that required.
Mr Colonial Cravings was a huge fan of these, I’m pretty sure that if I’d left him alone with them he would have eaten all 16 in one go.
75g plain flour
200ml double cream
chocolate to decorate
Pre-heat the oven to 200°c and line a large baking tray with parchment or a silicone mat.
Put the butter and water in a medium saucepan and bring it to boil. Remove the pan from the heat and tip in all of the flour. Vigorously beat it with a wooden spoon until you end up with a ball of dough that has pulled away from the sides of the pan. Lightly beat the eggs. Add about a third of the egg to the pan and beat it in. Once it has been absorbed add another third and beat it again. After the third and final addition of egg, the dough should become soft, smooth and glossy.
Use a couple of teaspoons to drop blobs of the dough onto the prepared baking tray. If you need to smooth off any edges or pointy bits then just dip your finger in a little water first.
Bake the choux pastry for 30 minutes then turn off the oven and open the door a bit, leave them in the oven for a further 10 minutes to dry out a little.
Once they are done you can transfer them to a wire rack to cool. I would recommend poking a little hole in them, somewhere discreet, to let the steam out and prevent them from becoming soggy. You can use this later when you fill them.
Softly whip the cream for the filling, so that it just holds its shape. Take a big dollop of the cream and mix it into the Nutella to lighten it a bit. Transfer this mixture back into the rest of the cream and whip it again, until it becomes more stiff, but be careful not to over-whip it.
Put the Nutella mousse in a piping bag fitted with a plain tip. Insert the tip into the steam hole that you created in each of the cooled profiteroles and gently squeeze in the filling. Drizzle the top of each one with a little melted chocolate and then pop them in the fridge until you are ready to serve them.
It’s my Birthday at the weekend, which of course means that there will be cake! Now I’m sure that if I asked nicely Mr Colonial Cravings would no doubt have a stab at making me a birthday cake but, judging by the turmoil that always greets me in the kitchen after he’s made pizza, it would not be worth the clean-up!
So instead of donning a pair of marigolds I’ve donned my apron and come up with these little beauties. Indulgent, creamy Nutella flavoured Swiss meringue buttercream smothering fluffy hazelnut sponge. Just wonderful. The cakes develop a lovely slighty crisp chewy crust and the Nutella buttercream is absolutely sublime. But you didn’t need me to tell you that.
I know that making Swiss meringue buttercream takes a bit more effort than just beating together butter and icing sugar but I promise you it’s totally worth it. It’s also very forgiving so you shouldn’t feel daunted by it. The first time I tried this particular one my butter was a bit too soft when I added it so the buttercream ended up too runny to pipe. I just shoved it in the fridge for 15 minutes and then whipped it again and it was perfect.
If you’re feeling especially extravagant then you could even top them with Ferrero Rocher…just a suggestion.
70g plain flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
60g toasted hazelnuts, finely ground
pinch of salt
2 egg whites
3 tbsp Nutella
1 tbsp Frangelico (optional but it’ll really boost the hazelnut flavour)
Pre-heat the oven to 190°c and line a cupcake tin with pretty wrappers.
Put the butter, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl and then sift in the flour and baking powder. Beat this together so that it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the ground hazelnuts.
In a separate jug whisk together the egg and milk before gradually adding this to the dry mixture. Beat the batter for few minutes, so that it becomes quite fluffy. Divide this mixture evenly between the cupcake wrappers and bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes.
Once they are cooked and nicely browned leave them to cool on a wire rack whilst you make the frosting.
Place the egg whites and sugar in a super-clean mixing bowl set over a pan of boiling water. Use a hand whisk and continually whip the meringue mixture as it heats. It needs to be quite warm and the sugar needs to have dissolved into the egg white. Just rub a little between your fingers to check the temperature and that it isn’t grainy. Remove the pan from the heat and then whisk the egg white until it is fluffy and cool (I switch to an electric whisk for this). Once you’re at this point you can slowly beat in the butter, one small piece at a time. Continue to whip the buttercream until it has emulsified and become smooth and creamy. Finally beat in the Nutella and Frangelico until is well blended. Resist the urge to eat it all now and transfer it to a piping bag, ready to decorate your cupcakes. Alternatively just use a pallet knife to appoint each cake with a generous splodge. Sprinkle with a few chopped hazelnuts or chocolate sprinkles…
Everyone loves Nutella, right? If you said no, then I don’t think we can be friends anymore…
Mr Colonial Cravings informs me that yesterday Nutella turned 50. In his infinite wisdom he has also suggested that I make Nutella muffins. It seems to have escaped his attention that I almost never make muffins. The reason for this is that muffins are my nemesis. I’ve tried, I really have. They always seem to end up like dense little hockey pucks in pretty paper cases. It’s not just with my improvised recipes either, I can follow a recipe to the letter and I still can’t get them to be as fluffy as I would like. I think I over-mix, I just can’t help myself.
I’ve tried really hard with these ones, just for you. I know that using wholewheat flour was a bit of a gamble when I’m already engaged in a battle to make them light. Having said that though, Nutella on fresh brown bread is one of my favourite comfort foods so I had to give it a try. I kept my fingers crossed that the buttermilk would help.
It did, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve finally cracked it. These are tender, light and fluffy. Plus they’re filled with Nutella – I think we’re onto a winner!
110g plain flour
40g wholewheat flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla paste or good extract
3-4 tsp Nutella
extra chocolate to decorate (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 190°c and line a six hole deep muffin tin with paper cases.
Sift together the two types of flour with the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Whisk in the sugar, cinnamon and salt.
Melt the butter and whisk it together with the egg, buttermilk and vanilla. Now this is the bit that I struggle with every time that I tackle muffin making, add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix it three or four times. I know it looks wrong and there will be little pockets of unmixed flour but if you stir it much more than a few times then you risk over-working the gluten and get tough muffins. No-one wants a tough muffin!
Put a spoonful of mixture into each of the muffin cups. Next pop about 1/2 a teaspoon of glorious scrummy Nutella in the middle of each cup. Finally spoon over the rest of the muffin mixture. It’ll probably reach the top of the paper cases.
Bake these for around 20 minutes in the middle of the oven and then place them on a wire rack to cool. They should be nicely browned and feel a little springy to the touch (hopefully). Decorate with a little melted chocolate as a finishing touch if you like.