Friday, August 9, 2013

Recipe: Chocolate Puffs with Mascarpone Cream

I am a lover of desserts. I have to eat something sweet after just about every meal. Usually Jason and I are pretty skeptical about recipes that come from magazines because, frankly, we haven't been all that wowed. But every once in a while, we give a magazine recipe a try again. This time, Better Homes and Gardens did us right.

Let me introduce you to Chocolate Puffs with Mascarpone Cream. You're welcome.

Please excuse my horrendous food photography. A narrow depth of field is nice, but this is toooo narrow. And I am horrible at photo styling. But I am VERY talented at eating, so at least I have that going for me.

Many of you are choc-o-holics, right? I do love chocolate, but too much richness can put me over the edge. these chocolate puffs have just enough cocoa that they provide a bit of chocolate flavor, without being overwhelming. And don't even get me started on the mascarpone cream filling. If you're not familiar with mascarpone, it's a soft cheese similar to cream cheese, but it has a sweeter flavor. It's most well known for being a primary ingredient in one of my other favorite desserts, tiramisu. Friends, I would eat this mascarpone cream on just about anything. Well, maybe not pizza. But I'm going into a mental food coma right now just thinking about a dollop of it atop a Belgian waffle with fresh strawberries.

You know what the worst thing was about this recipe? We had too much cream left after the first round of puffs, so we had to make more puffs. Then we had too many puffs, so we made more cream. It was a horrible situation to be in, no?

Enough about me and my issues. Here's the Procrastinator-approved recipe.

Chocolate Puffs with Mascarpone Cream

Cream Puffs
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
Bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted (optional)

1. Let eggs stand at room temperature 30 minutes.* Position oven racks to divide oven into thirds; preheat to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

2. For cream puffs, in a medium bowl sift together flour and cocoa powder. In a medium saucepan combine water, milk, butter, sugar and salt; bring to boiling over medium-high heat. Add flour and cocoa mixture all at once; lower heat slightly. Using a wooden spoon or sturdy heatproof spatula, stir vigorously. The mixture will come together in a ball and there will be a film on the bottom of the pan, but do not stop stirring; give it another minute of energetic beating. Transfer hot dough to a mixing bowl; let rest for 2 minutes.

3. Using a whisk (or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat dough 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating very well after each. You'll have a smooth, shiny dough.

4. Using a small cookie scoop or small spoon, place 8 mounds of dough on each of the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch of space between mounds.

5. Transfer baking sheets to oven; immediately reduce heat to 375 degrees. Bake for 25 to 27 minutes or until the puffs feel hollow and lift easily off the paper, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the halfway point. Cool to room temperature before filling.

6. For filling, in a medium bowl gently stir mascarpone with a spatula to loosen. Beating makes mascarpone turn grainy, so go easy. Set aside.

7. In a medium bowl beat whipping cream until it just starts to thicken. Beat in sugar. Continue to whip until the cream holds peaks that stand up nicely and just start to fold over at the top. Stir a spoonful of the cream into the mascarpone to lighten. Gently fold in the remaining cream.

8. To assemble, cut cream puffs in half. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (or a Ziploc baggie with a hole cut in one corner), pipe filling over one half; top with remaining half. To serve, drizzle with melted chocolate, if desired.

* If you're like me and are too antsy to wait 30 minutes for the eggs to come to room temp, you can zap them in the microwave. I do mine about 20 to 30 seconds on 30% power until they are no longer chilled.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, February 2013

Please tell me you're going to try these. If so, tell me what you think. Are they chocolatey enough for you?



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