dark chocolate bon-bons with rosemary ganache filling

rosemary bon-bons

Hey there! Just wanted to wish everyone a very sweet and happy Valentine’s Day with this chocolate treat. I hope you enjoy these dark chocolate bon-bons with rosemary ganache filling.

May you find yourself surrounded with lots of sweet and kind love–not just today, but every day.

Notes:

1. This recipe requires a technique called tempering. To make things short, the temperature of the chocolate increases and then decreases so that the end result is a glossy, shiny, and streak-less chocolate that possesses a nice snap. I don’t explain the methods ( which are seeding, cool water, and tabling) in this recipe, but there is a lot of information out there of how to do so. I can also provide explanations if anyone would like me to.

2. This recipe requires a bon-bon plaque. The best quality plaques are made from heavy polycarbonate plastic and they will give chocolate its best shine and are nearly indestructible. However, I’ll tell let you in in a little secret and say that I bought mine in Sur La Table for $ 2.95. They are plastic and not quite as durable, but they did the trick just fine.

ingredients:

about 10 oz 70% dark couveture chocolate (this chocolate is used for tempering, so be sure that it’s couverture)

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (about 2 grams each)

4 oz heavy cream

2 oz white chocolate, finely chopped

1/4 vanilla pod (or 1 gram)

recipe:

1. Place one sprig of rosemary on a sheet tray and bake at 450 F for about 10-15 minutes, until fresh rosemary becomes dry and crunchy.

2. Remove rosemary leaves from stem. Grind leaves in a mortar and pestle until leaves resemble powder. Set aside for later use.

3. Temper chocolate using whichever tempering technique you prefer and fill bon-bon plaques with tempered chocolate. Fill cavities with tempered chocolate. Grab plaque from two corners and vibrate it to release air bubbles from the chocolate. Be sure to hold end of tray and tap multiple times. Hold opposite end of tray and tap multiple times. Knock out chocolate into bowl, tapping and scrapping with bench scraper or spatula so that chocolate comes out. Place plaque upside down over parchment and drain for less than 60 seconds. Pick up plaque and give it a last scrape. Put plaque in the fridge so that chocolate sets completely.

4. Bring heavy cream to a simmer in a small pot and place two rosemary sprigs and vanilla pod in heavy cream. Cover pot and allow heavy cream to infuse with the rosemary and vanilla for about 30 minutes. Remove rosemary and vanilla pod from heavy cream and scrape vanilla seeds into cream. Uncover pot and bring cream to a simmer again.

5. Place white chocolate into a bowl and pour simmered heavy cream over white chocolate. Allow cream and chocolate to rest for about a minute so that chocolate softens and melts. Stir mixture gently from the center until everything is well combined. Add 1/2 tsp rosemary powder to ganache and stir. Allow ganache to cool completely at room temperature.

6. Place rosemary ganache into a paper cone or a piping bag with a small piping tip. Fill each cavity with rosemary ganache just below surface.

7. Re-temper chocolate and pour it on top of plaque to fill all cavities.

8. Smooth with scraper or spackle knife, removing excess chocolate. Allow chocolate to set completely.

9. Turn plaque over and bang firmly to release chocolate bon-bons.

10. Place a small pinch of rosemary powder over the upper right corner of each bon-bon for décor.

Enjoyyyyyyy!

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chocolate almond tart • my other one and only

If I didn’t have a significant other, this tart would be the one–my one and only.

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In fact, I would keep pursuing it until it had no other option than to be with me, and I would leave it no choice but for it to fall head over heels for me. I would work my magic to make this tart become completely infatuated and addicted to me, just like I have become completely infatuated and addicted to its individuality and existence.

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But up to this day, I do have a significant other.

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So in the meantime, I will just have to be unfaithful to him with this super decadent, elegant, and sexy chocolate almond tart. Please enjoy.

I truly think you will.

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(Yield: one 8″-9″ tart)

Research Question: Will this chocolate almond tart have the power to make my taste buds sing and dance of blissful euphoria…or something of that nature?

Hypothesis:

– Using chopped almonds in the chocolate custard will add nice texture that will contrast the smoothness and tenderness of the chocolate filling.

– The semisweet chocolate custard flavor + the almond flavor that is achieved from the almond extract and toasted almonds will in fact make my heart and taste buds sing.

– The light and airy créme chantilly on top will provide a nice contrast to the rich and dense chocolate custard.

Ingredients for Tart Shell:

6 oz AP flour

4 oz butter, cubed and chilled

About 2 oz water or less

1/2 tsp salt

4 tsp sugar

Procedure/Recipe for Tart Shell:

  1. Put flour on the surface of a clean table or cutting board. Add salt and mix with hands.
  2. Add cubed butter to flour and cut butter into flour with a dough scraper or a knife until butter cubes become pea-sizes or smaller.
  3. Start incorporating water by adding 1 tablespoon at a time. Blend water well into the flour by folding everything together with dough scraper. Stop adding water once the dough holds together.
  4. Wrap dough in plastic and allow it to rest in refrigerator or in freezer until the dough is completely chilled, about 30 minutes or more.
  5. Roll dough:
    1. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on the table so that dough doesn’t stick.
    2. Push rolling pin down on dough to flatten it out a bit.
    3. Begin rolling dough away from you. Rotate dough 180 degrees and continue to roll away from you. Dough should be rolled only once before turning. Continue to do this process until dough resembles the shape of a square.
    4. Being to roll and turn dough 90 degrees. Roll once away from you and turn 90 degrees. Continue to do this until the thickness of the dough is close to 1/16” thick.
    5. Spray tart pan with vegetable spay to aid dough get into pan. Put dough over tart pan and ease it into every corner by pushing it in. Squeeze edges a bit to have a little of extra dough that extends inward.
    6. Trim edges by rolling the rolling pin over the tart pan.
  6. Place a circular shaped piece of parchment paper over dough and put baking beans over parchment paper, enough so that baking beans come to the rim of the tart pan.
  7. Bake tart shell for a total of approximately 25 minutes with the beans, until crust sets and becomes golden brown.
  8.  Remove beans and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes, until crust is baked all through out. Set aside.

Ingredients for Chocolate Custard:

8 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

5 oz heavy cream

5 oz milk

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

Procedure/Recipe for Chocolate Custard:

  1. Heat heavy cream and milk and bring to a simmer.
  2. Put chopped chocolate in a large bowl and pour simmered heavy cream and milk over chocolate. Allow cream and chocolate to rest for about a five minutes so that chocolate softens and melts.
  3. Whisk mixture until everything is well combined and emulsified.
  4. Set ganache aside until it cools.
  5. Beat eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a separate bowl and add them to ganache. Stir well to combine.

Ingredients for Créme Chantilly:

7 oz heavy cream

1/2 C 10x sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Procedure/Recipe for Créme Chantilly:

  1. Whip heavy cream on medium speed and continue whipping until stiff peaks are just about to form.
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and finish whipping by hand until stiff peaks form.

Ingredients for Toasted Slivered Almonds:

1 C slivered almonds

2 T 10x sugar

Procedure/Recipe for Toasted Slivered Almonds:

  1. Spread slivered almonds onto a sheet tray.
  2. Sprinkle 10x over slivered almonds.
  3. Bake at 325 F until almonds are golden brown, for about 25-30 minute, and toss them every 5 minutes.
  4. Place half the amount of almonds into a food processor and pulse just until almonds are roughly chopped. Reserve the other half for topping.

FINALLY-Time to put it all together!!

1. Sprinkle some of the roughly chopped toasted almonds evenly over the base of the tart shell.

2. Pass chocolate custard through a sieve and fill tart shell with chocolate custard just shy of the top.

3. Sprinkle additional roughly chopped toasted almonds evenly over the chocolate custard.

4. Bake at 250 F – 275 F for about 40-45 minutes until it jiggles in the center when it’s tapped. Allow tart to cool completely.

5. Cut slices of tart and dallop or pipe créme chantilly over the top. Finish with a few toasted slivered almonds over créme chantilly. Serve warm.

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Results/Conclusion:

– warm, smooth, and tender chocolate custard with a nice spark of texture from the almonds and the crispy crust.

– perfect harmony of chocolate and almond flavors.

– topping of créme chantilly contributes to the overall smoothness and velvety feel of the filling.

I’m in love all over again!

chocolate ganache cupcakes • booooo to the party pooper

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This sweet world I embarked on has been more sour than sweet lately. But I’ve decided that the negative vibes I’ve been getting from, let’s call this person “party pooper”, cannot get me down. But they do, because there has been too much unnecessary derision and tension lately.

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The pastry/baking world can be difficult and demanding. However, it does not have to be as harsh, stringent, or as hostile as this particular person has made it out be. To this particular party pooper: I hope that I’m never as discouraging and uninspiring to my “disciple(s)” as you are and have been to me. I wish to encourage them and be strict if and when necessary, but never make them doubt their skills and ability continuously.

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Note: It’s acceptable to be stern and bossy when you’re in charge, but not to be a plain sour and unpleasant human being..everrrry single daaaaay. Go fix that; for your own sake and mine. Because you kind of suck.

So I want reassurance. This week I need to comfort and to remind myself that I do love what I do because honestly, you (party pooper) make me doubt it occasionally. Oh yeah, you have that power, but I will fight back until I win this battle.

For the spark of reassurance that I crave, I will create a chocolaty ganache cupcake recipe.

Am I even capable of designing and writing a recipe??? Do I have the acquired skills to make such simple cupcakes??

(See what you’ve done party pooper?)

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But yeah….back to much sweeter and nicer topics: chocolate ganache cupcakes. Boooya! Who’s the mean boss now?

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Hypothesis:

– Chocolate cake + ganache filling and frosting = very chocolaty cupcakes.

– The sour cream will contribute to a smooth and moist cupcake with a subtle tang.

– The ganache frosting will also contribute the smooth feel and richness of this cupcake.

– Adding sugar in the form of syrup instead of granulated sugar will also add moistness.

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**Yield: About 15 cupcakes**

Ingredients for Chocolate Cupcakes:

8 oz cake flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

5 oz water

8 oz sugar

1 oz cocoa powder

4 oz eggs

4 oz vegetable oil

4 oz sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

Ingredients for Chocolate Frosting:

8 oz heavy cream

8 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 tsp honey

Procedure/Recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes:

1. Sift cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.

2. Combine and heat sugar and water in a small saucepan to create a simple syrup. Stir until all sugar has been completely dissolved.

3. Add cocoa powder to simply syrup and whisk until fully incorporated. Allow syrup to completely cool down.

4. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, vegetable oil, sour cream, and vanilla together. Drizzle in simple syrup and continue to whisk until everything is well blended.

5. Combine the wet and dry mixtures together, just enough so that all ingredients are incorporated into the batter. Do not over mix. Allow batter to rest 20-40 minutes.

6. Fill prepared cupcake tins with about 1/4 cup batter. Bake at 375 F for about 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick that is inserted in the center tests clean. Let cupcakes cool in tins, about 5 minutes, then turn them out onto wire racks. Let cool completely before frosting.

Procedure/Recipe for Chocolate Ganache Frosting:

  1. Heat heavy cream and bring to a simmer.
  2. Put chopped chocolate in a large bowl and pour simmered heavy cream over chocolate. Allow cream and chocolate to rest for about a minute so that chocolate softens and melts.
  3. Stir/whisk mixture gently from the center and whisking outwards until everything is well emulsified.
  4. Set chocolate-heavy cream mixture aside and allow it to cool completely at room temperature and it’s a pipeable/spreadable consistency.

Procedure/Recipe for Chocolate Frosting:

1. Place ganache into a piping bag that has a long and thin tip. Poke surface of cupcake and insert tip in center of cupcake. Squeeze until ganache fills the center of cupcake. Repeat procedure with all cupcakes.

2. Change the tip on piping bag to # 3 star tip. Pipe a rosette or other designs onto the surface of cupcakes.

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Just have fun!

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Finish cupcake with chocolate curls, chocolate shavings, finely chopped nuts, or sprinkles if desired. Can also  serve cupcakes with plain frosting. If using chocolate decor over frosting, it would ideal if the chocolate is tempered. As you can probably tell, the chocolate I used was not in temper because it’s streaky 😦

Observations:

– chocolate delight

– moist and soft cake

– some cupcakes had more frosting than others. The more ganache frosting there is, the richer and chocolatier (is that a word???) the overall experience will be.

Results/Conclusion: Making and tasting these chocolate ganache cupcakes made me forget about the party pooper dilemma…at least for a good while.

chocolate gerbet macaroons with raspberry ganache filling • tribute to “mixy”

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I’ve named it “Mixy”. I haven’t decided if it’s a boy or a girl. For the time being, being an “it” will suffice.

Who or what is “Mixy”?, you may be asking. Allow me introduce the two of you, but just so you know…even though Mixy is multi-talented and can do many functions, shaking hands is not one of them so please don’t hold it against him. Oh, I guess it’s a boy after all.

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So this is Mixy….Will you allow me to brag just a little bit while I make the formal introduction? Pleeeeease? Thank you very much. Mixy is a KitchenAid Mixer and not just any mixer, but the one and only KitchenAid Pro 600 in a beautiful nickel pearl color. Mixy is the new member of the family and I need to find a cozy and comfortable space for him. He’s just so beautiful and slick. Oooo, aaaaaa.

I’m in love.

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So for this entry I will not reinvent the wheel but rather choose a recipe I already know I love doing using the KitchenAid mixer. By the way, my favorite recipes to make on this robot-space-like machine are italian meringue buttercream, sponge cake and roulade, brioche, and all types of meringue. They’re not necessarily my favorite things to eat, but I do enjoy making those recipes using this device because they put the mixer to work and make good use of it.

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I decided to make these enticing chocolate gerbet macaroons which require a stiff French meringue and then fill them with a raspberry ganache. A variation of this recipe was given to me by L’Academie de Cuisine. I simply changed the idea and flavor of the filling and of the actual cookie to make them chocolate flavored.

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The point of this, you see, is to stare in wonder at this beautiful, shiny, and slick machine as it helps me create such a sweet delight. Simple as that!

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Materials/Ingredients:

scale

4 oz almond flour

4 oz 10 x sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

3 oz granulated sugar

3.5 oz egg whites

2 oz semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 oz heavy cream

3-4 T raspberry jam

**Yield: About 2 dozen gerbet macaroons**

Procedure/Recipe:

  1. Put almond flour, 10X sugar, and cocoa powder in food processor and pulse until almond flour is fine and everything is well combined.
  2. Sift almond/10x/cocoa powder mixture and set aside.
  3. Make a French meringue using the granulated sugar and the egg whites…with the help of Mixy if possible. You can still make a French meringue by hand or using a handheld mixer. That’s how I’ve been making French meringues up until Mixy came into the picture.
    1. Whip egg whites at high speed for approximately 30 seconds. Bring down speed to medium after 30 seconds. At this point, meringue should begin to look thicker and the yellow color of the egg whites should disappear.
    2. Begin adding 1 tablespoon of sugar to the egg whites while they continue to whip. Start to add sugar more continuously and in larger quantities when meringue gets shinier and it becomes stiffer.
    3. Turn mixer off and test stableness of meringue by whipping it by hand. Meringue should stand on a straight peak when it’s ready.
  4. Add vanilla and stir to combine.
  5. Fold dry mixture into meringue by pouring a little bit at a time into the meringue while folding with a spatula. Allow for the meringue mixture to gently deflate and sink into itself.
  6. Place meringue into piping bag and use a #3 plain tip. Pipe circles that are 1” in diameter onto a sheet tray by squeezing, stopping, and twisting off at the end.
  7. Allow gerbet macaroons to rest at room temperature for 1 hour before baking, until they develop a thin skin on the surface.
  8. Bake at 285 F for about 20 minutes and rotate after about 15 minutes or so.
  9. Meanwhile make raspberry ganache:
    1. Heat heavy cream and bring to a simmer.
    2. Put chopped chocolate in a large bowl and pour simmered heavy cream over chocolate. Allow cream and chocolate to rest for about a minute so that chocolate softens and melts.
    3. Stir mixture gently from the center until everything is well combined.
    4. Set chocolate-heavy cream mixture aside and allow it to cool completely at room temperature.
    5. Add raspberry jam and stir until it’s well combined.
  10. Pipe about a teaspoon of ganache on the bottom of a macaroon. Sandwich ganache in between two cookies by sticking the bottom of another macaroon to the ganache that has been piped. This will create a gerbet macaroon. Repeat procedure until all gerbet macaroons are filled. Et Voilá!

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mini cinnamon sugar churros with ganache • the rebel in me

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I feel like being bad today. I’m such a rebel, right? No, not really.

I tend to bottle emotions up and then explode. Do you ever do that? It’s not healthy, so don’t. And when I do it for too long, I either feel like making peace, giving up, or fighting back.

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And although I’ve gotten much better at voicing what I feel, I’m more of a silent-keeper of emotions. I am getting better though and am more opened with expressing my mini-frustrations, but it’s not in my nature, so it’s work sometimes. Hard work.

Some people are very good at constantly communicating their mood level and state of mind with those around them. I personally have always found that kind of annoying. I’m sorry. It’s like they’re offering a continuous weather forecast of emotions. “I was really bothered by what you said earlier…” or “I’m really really upset at how you acted in there, how could you?” It should be so simple to do, right? I know it’s the recommended thing to do by psychologists or by anyone who has a logical way of thinking. However, sometimes I feel like a defective and incompetent human being who has never developed the trait of communicating emotions. Other times I feel that I have, I just don’t want to apply it…Because certain facial expressions should be obvious to interpret…right?

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My smile from cheek to cheek should let you know that I’m a happy girl. A slight smile could be deceiving though, I understand. My lost gaze into space should tell you that I’m potentially analyzing a situation, worried, or simply daydreaming. My choice to be isolated in my room with the door semi-closed could either mean that the T.V. is too loud, that I’m a bit bothered, or that I really want to be in my own little world. Use process of elimination to figure that one out. I have nearly to perfect vision so the squinting of my eyes at you most certainly means, “are you serious?”

I know it’s work, but since I have never been the talented communicator, I have a developed a keen talent to perceive peoples’ emotions and I wrongly just assume that other people are just as attuned to those subtleties.

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So how do I deal with my little episode today? Well today I will simply treat myself to cinnamon churros with ganache. This is how I fight back. I’ll save the words for another time.

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A little birdie has told me that the ratio to make churros is the same one to make pate a choux. I’ll be using the ratio for pate a choux–>2 (liquid) : 1 (butter) : 1 (flour) : 2 (eggs) to make this churro recipe.

For ganache, use the basic ganache ratio of chocolate to cream–> 1 (semisweet chocolate) : 1 (heavy cream)

Research Question:

– The few times that I’ve made pate a choux has been in a standing mixer and I really don’t own one…so..Will mixing the eggs vigorously with a wooden spoon work well and develop the same puff in the dough as when mixed in a standing mixer?

– Will using the dough that is typically used to make the famous profiteroles, éclairs, and cream puffs also work fantastically to make crispy and breathtaking churros?

Hypothesis:

– The hot and crispy sugar-coated churro will taste wonderfully on its own but dip them in ganache and oh. my. God.

– I will assume the dough for these churros will be very puffy and airy. I am kind of cheating since I’ve already witnessed how this dough puffs up and creates a hollow cavity in a hot oven. I assume that it will react in a similar way when it comes into contact with hot frying oil.

– Incorporating the eggs one by one with a wooden spoon will take much longer but it will happen! I will not give up even if the dough doesn’t seem to hold together. Pate a choux is deceiving like that…at first it will appear as if the dough doesn’t accept the eggs. But I will persist until it does!

– The churros will become wonderfully crispy when submerged in the hot oil.

– The high protein in the eggs will help create good structure in the churro.

Ummm…what else?

– When the butter comes into contact with the hot oil it will rise and steam, causing air pockets to form inside the churro.

Materials/Ingredients:

scale

1 C water

4 oz butter, small pieces

7 oz AP flour

(2 tsp sugar)

½- 1 tsp salt

8 oz eggs

water to adjust

vegetable oil for frying

1/2 C sugar + 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, combined

** Yields about 2 dozen small churros **

Materials/Ingredients for ganache:

8 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped

8 oz heavy cream

Procedure/Recipe for Ganache:

Tip: Make the ganache first. The churros should be made and fried immediately for serving. The ganache however has to rest at room temperature before serving and it can wait for the churros. The churros won’t wait for no one! They should be made last because they will become soggy if kept at room temperature for too long before serving. They’re enjoyed best as soon as they’re fried and sprinkled with sugar…and of course..dipped in chocolate.

1. Heat heavy cream in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer.

2. Put chopped chocolate in a large bowl and pour simmered heavy cream over chocolate. Allow cream and chocolate to rest for about a minute so that chocolate softens and melts.

3. Stir mixture gently from the center until everything is well combined.

4.Set chocolate-heavy cream mixture aside and allow it to cool completely at room temperature before use.

Procedure/Recipe for Churros:

1. Bring water and butter to a rolling boil. Add flour, sugar, and salt. Stir on stove just enough to dry dough out a bit and make panade. (Panade is what you call the dough at this point before you add the eggs).

2. Place panade into mixer and mix with a paddle attachment. Allow panade to cool off a bit while it mixes before adding eggs.

3. Begin to add eggs one at a time and allow each egg to blend well into the panade before adding more.

4. Do a test to know if choux paste is ready. For example, you can do the Hershey’s Kiss test.  Dough should form a slight hook on your finger and not be stiff. If dough is too dry, add water to dough in small quantities and stir until desired consistency is achieved.

(If you’re like me and don’t yet own a stand mixer, remove pan from heat and allow it to cool slightly for a few minutes. Choux paste should be warm to hot. Add the eggs one at a time by hand, stirring rapidly with a wooden spoon until each egg is incorporated into the dough. Remember, at first it will seem as though the dough won’t accept the eggs. The dough will go through different stages while adding the eggs:

from shiny-> 

to slippery ->

until it holds together -> 

5. Place dough into a pastry bag that has a #5 star tip. Pipe strips of dough into hot oil and fry until golden. Drain mini churros on paper towels.

6. Roll drained mini churros in cinnamon and sugar mixture.

7. Serve churros with ganache. Enjoy!

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Observations:

– Super airy and fluffy churros.

– Since the churros had a lot of hollow space inside, the hollowness really helped them absorb chocolate when dipped.

Results/Conclusion:

I’m about to go have some more churros right about now. I really can’t stop eating them!! DELICIOUS!! I should rebel like this more often.