It’s hard to believe that Christmas is just two days away! I finally finished up at school today, including packing up my computer to send back to company headquarters for a newer model. To make matters even more complicated today, we had a late lunch day…sigh, and all we wanted to do was finish and go home. As our Christmas break approaches were as bad as the students, anticipating the break and of course the much needed rest. I don’t know about the resting part, but just to sleep until 6 am will be such a treat. No matter how long I do it, you never get use to waking up at 4am. With Christmas almost here, I still have so much to do, a little shopping to finish, and of course some groceries. I think were going out for Christmas Eve, sometimes it’s just nice to get out of the house and let someone else do the cooking, and with so many wonderful restaurants in the area, the only hard part is picking which one to go to!
We are still hoping for a white Christmas, even a dusting will do, but right now its raining and 52, not quite the Christmas weather we were hoping for….sigh
But your not here for a weather report or my Christmas Wish List, your here because today is a very special day! Not only is it Guest Post Friday, but it’s my Christmas edition! Today I have a very special guest, someone who never fails to make laugh and make me smile, just getting an email from her with the heading reading lunatic, just brings a smile to my face. Today I would like to introduce you to Kim, from Cravings of a Lunatic. I first met Kim when she stumbled onto the foodbuzz scene, and it was apparent from the start that she had found her calling as a food blogger! Kim is a natural in the kitchen and has been wowing us with all the delicious dishes she prepares on a very regular basis. I know your going to love what she’s made for us today, so without further ado, I give you Kim and……..
I am so happy and thrilled to be here guest posting for Chef Dennis today. When I first joined Foodbuzz Dennis was the first one to reach out to me. I wandered over to A Culinary Journey and was quickly blown away by how gorgeous the food was, and how friendly Dennis was. Over time we’re developed a friendship that I value deeply. Chef Dennis is always there to lend a helping hand and offer advice. People this genuine are rare folks. I adore his Ask Chef Dennis series and take what he says to heart. I make notes like a school child and rush off to do whatever he has offered up that week. It’s been an invaluable tool for a new blogger like me. When Dennis asked me to guest let’s just say the whole neighbourhood knew about it. I may have shouted it from the deck and jumped around like a Lunatic a little bit. What can I say, being asked to guest post is incredible. When he told me it was the Friday before Christmas well, let’s just say I may have passed out for a little bit.
I have to admit I was all over the place trying to decide what to make. So many possibilities but what was special enough for Dennis and Christmas. The pressure was on. I was back and forth from one thing to the next. Do I do a dessert or a meal? Do I stick with my strength like ice cream or pizza, or do I go out on a limb for this one? Should I use an old standby or a signature dish, or should I do something original? Should I do a Christmas theme or keep it neutral? So as you can see I went out on limb and did something original but with a Christmas twist. I shall tell you now this is my first go at éclairs. I am not a big pastry maker. It seems to be my downfall. So why did I choose it for a guest post? Well for me it’s all about pushing myself to try new things, and step outside my comfort zone. It was either going to shine brightly or flop miserably. I’ll let you folks decide the results.
- 5 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
- ⅔ cup water
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2 eggs
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- Crushed peppermints or candy canes for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the water in a pan and add the butter. Heat gently until the butter melts.
- Bring this to a rolling boil, and then remove the pan from the heat.
- Add flour all at once, now you beat this until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan to form a ball.
- Let this cool slightly before continuing.
- Now gradually add the eggs, beating them in until they form a smooth, glossy mixture.
- Spoon this into a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch plain tip.
- Sprinkle some water on your cookie sheets.
- Now pipe éclairs so they are 3 inches long, spacing them well apart.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes.
- You will know they are done by their golden appearance and crisp tops.
- Remove from oven and make a small slit in each one to let steam escape.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- Whisk the heavy cream for a few minutes on its own.
- Add the sugar and whip again. You want it to form a slightly stiff cream.
- Now add the peppermint extract and whip another minute.
- Place in a pastry bag and set aside to pipe it into the éclairs
- Melt the butter with the milk in a pan over medium-low heat.
- Remove from the heat and add cocoa and sugar. Stir well until it is smooth and slightly glossy.
- Split the éclairs lengthwise with a knife. I found a bread knife worked very well.
- Now pipe the whipped cream into the middle of each éclair.
- Spread the frosting over each one.
- Sprinkle them with crushed peppermint.
- Let them set on counter or in fridge for a little bit.
- Serve with a big smile!
Thank you so much Chef Dennis for sharing your blog with me today. I am so touched you asked. For a little housewife with the Minnie Mouse voice this is a huge deal. I should probably end this without any jokes or silliness. Yet I feel compelled to make sure all your readers have your digits. I know I promised not to give them out but I just can’t help myself. Ladies and gents if you want to reach Chef Dennis you call him at…..243-765-7827! (Kidding folks but spell it out just for fun!)
Toodles and smoochies.xx
Ok, all I know is when I dialed that number I got the Toronto Police, so I wouldn’t advise trying it! Seriously, you gotta love those Eclairs..Wow! This is definitely a dessert you can make anytime of the year, and I never thought of flavoring the cream before, what an incredible idea, more genius than lunatic! I know everyone is busy getting ready for Christmas, but before you forget please head on over to Cravings of a Lunatic and say hello to Kim, just remember to tell her Chef Dennis sent you! Make sure you start bookmark her blog, because I know your not going to want to miss a single dish she prepares, in fact you can become her newest follower!
That’s about it for today my friends, still so much to do, but right now sleep is in order and with a little luck and cooperation from our dogs, I’ll sleep until 6 am…sigh, the good life! I would like to wish every one a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Season of good cheer. Be safe , be healthy and be happy , life is too short, make sure you enjoy every day while you still can!