Thursday, December 24, 2009

Nutella Truffles

That's right, I put truffles and nutella in the same sentence. Put a towel over your keyboard, you'll need it for the drool.

I made two different types of truffles. The first was honey, nutella, chocolate chips, and butter. The second was cake, nutella, and peanut butter. The latter are by far my favorites because classic truffles are a little too rich for me. The cake version is a whimsical mix of flavors that has a much lighter texture than your classic truffle while still being rich and delicious. Note: Truffles are absurdly time consuming. Not for a person who just has a half an hour they want to burn making something yummy.

First I made the cake version. My sister just graduated and we still have her sheet cake and her roommate's sheet cake. So with all of this extra marble cake around, I cheated. The recipe calls for baking your own cake, but why would I add more cake to the house? So I simply sliced off the frosting and stole some cake.

First you cut your cake into chunks and put it in a LARGE bowl. Then you mash it up into a nice crumble with a fork. Or if feeling particularly violent, you could probably use a hammer.

There is no need to be very picky at this point, as you can see it doesn't have to be cake dust, you just need it to be smaller. Next, you add nutella and peanut butter. You want it to be a consistency that stirs well and will shape and stay formed into spheres. For a 6x9 sheet cake, it took about a half a cup of each. Again, measurements aren't vital, you need to experiment.

This is the step that made it look like a chocolate monster ran through my kitchen in the middle of an m&m and sprinkle hurricane. Rolling the spheres is messy, awesome, and hands on. If you don't like getting your hands and kitchen messy, may I suggest Godiva? Again, I cheated. We have a lovely spoon that is meant for making spheres out of pears and melons, but it is also awesome for truffles. It is essentially an inch diameter half truffle sized spoon.

Part of the problem with truffles is you have to wait at least half an hour between each step. It is VITAL that you put them in the freezer at this point, or you will have chocolate and cake crumbles everywhere.So while these froze, I moved on to the serious truffle business.

Why yes, you did just go to chocolate heaven.

Honey Nutella Truffles
300 grams Nutella
100 grams chocolate chips
4 tbsp honey
1 tbsp ghee (or, for cheaters like me, melted butter.)

I realize the grams make things difficult. Turns out my mom had a food scale which I doubt she'll notice disappearing and ending up in my apartment for food emergencies such as this.

There is a blatant lack of pictures of these as spheres because this was absurdly messy. Why? Because the chocolate starts out at this consistency:

Did I say chocolate heaven before? Well, this is the deluxe heaven's swimming pool. At this point you need to put the bowl in the freezer unless you plan on making chocolate puddles. It takes half an hour to an hour. Then as you scoop them into balls please be aware that they will melt on your hands. The original recipe writer said to try putting butter on your hands but that sounded more difficult to wash off than chocolate.

Now for my favorite part, decorating! You can use any candy or anything you can turn into crumbs. I used m&ms, colored sugars, chocolate sprinkles, and crushed oreos. I have fancy new 99 cent squeeze bottles that I used to drizzle a mixture of powdered sugar and milk over a few of them.

Melting the chocolate and keeping it at dipping consistency was damn near impossible. Luckily about a third of the way through (aka 2 hours later) my Mom reminded me we own a fondue pot. I suggest bittersweet chocolate and if you are having difficulties, feel free to add a little milk.

All told, these took about 3 and a half hours to make and clean up after. I suggest setting them on cookie sheets covered in foil or wax paper.

These are christmas gifts for my family, so I made adorable little Not a Bakery brand boxes.

Thanks to Sunita Bhuyan and Crepes of Wrath for the wonderful recipes. They can be found here and here.

Tips for Trying:
-Keep truffles refrigerated before, during, and after making.
-Don't be afraid to experiment
-Spend the extra dollar on getting a truffle dipping tool. If you don't have one, a (well washed) bubble blowing stick could in theory work just about the same.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fresh Pasta

As my friends know, and make fun of me for, I spend a ridiculous amount of time on My friend Kat introduced me to it by saying something like "say goodbye to your free time!" One of the most recent blog links was this: Making Fresh Pasta Step By Step. Being a notorious pasta fiend, I decided to try it out.

The beginning of the pasta making process is an absolute mess. Sorry for the lack of pictures, but my hands were covered in dough. Are you ready for the recipe? This is a challenge! You will be searching for these ingredients for months.

Fresh Pasta
3/4 cup flour for every...
1 large egg

Yep, that's it. Eggs and flour. End of story. Easy, right? Well, sort of.

So I skipped a few steps ahead, this is post dough mixing, obviously. All you do to make the dough is make a mound of flour, push it down in the middle to make a sort of bowl out of it, then add the eggs. What made this fun was I forgot that eggs are slippery and I didn't make the 'bowl' big enough. To feed a family of four and have a bit left over, I made about 6 large eggs worth of pasta. It should be rolled far thinner than I did though, so it would probably feed more. I would say maybe an egg a person, especially if I hadn't accidentally lost an egg or two worth of whites from them sliding around.

So you mix the flour and eggs with a fork, then knead it with your hands. Decently easy if you don't have escapist eggs. Once you have it to a nice consistency, you roll it into a ball, put it in plastic wrap, then let it sit for half an hour.

Once you roll out the dough, you can make many different types of pasta. I decided to make alfredo, so I cut fettuccine with a pizza roller. It ended up being waaay too thick, even at only maybe an eighth of an inch. The dough was a little difficult to roll out because it kept moving backwards, but because he is a fresh pasta fan my Dad took the rolling pin and helped me out.

This is what it looked like pre cooked! If you try this, don't worry about the extra flour. You are, after all, about to toss these in water. If your pasta turns out this thick, I suggest cutting it into smaller pieces. I was so thrilled this actually worked, I even tried one pre cooked. It's about as exciting as eating dried pasta. Unless you pre flavor it somehow, I don't suggest that at all.

Boil it to al dente. With noodles this large, it took about 5-6 minutes for them to be sufficiently chewy. Of course, I chose a pot that was far too small and had some boiling over issues because I underestimated how much they expand.

Ta da! Add a jar of alfredo sauce, some red salt, onion powder, and garlic salt, and you have some pretty good pasta. My family really liked it and I definitely think I'll do this again. I have no idea how long these would keep in the fridge, I'm guessing about until the due date on the eggs you use.

Tips for Trying:
-Make sure you roll out the pasta as thin as you can, nearly see through
-Add and mix in one egg at a time so you stay in control of it
-Cut into small pieces, they WILL expand!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Welcome to Not a Bakery, a blog about my baking shenanigans. Cooking can be tough in college, especially in a dorm room. Some recipes can be made in a microwave, some are from the baking binges I go on when I get the full kitchen comfort of home.

I have had quite a bit of cupcake chaos in my amateur cooking adventures, and this blog will include more in the future I'm sure. I am no Anthony Bourdain or Julia Child, but some of my attempts actually turn out pretty well!

Coming up: Christmas cookies, gingerbread houses, and tomorrow making fresh pasta.

If you have any recipes or suggestions, you are more than welcome to share them.

Food link for the day:

Photo Above Right: Devil's food chocolate cake, frosting design on the sides made by a crinkle cutter normally used for cheese.