Do you hear that? Those are birds singing. Trees budding. Sun shining. Okay, maybe those last two don't have a sound, per se. But they certainly have a feeling, don't they?
On Sunday, I took a long walk in the beautiful sun through the park, and forced my (very patient) boyfriend and (equally patient) mother to accompany me on a quick visit to the dog park, where I got to indulge my deep love of dogs without actually, you know, owning a dog (one day!). The dozens of excited dogs sprinting around through the deep, slick mud thoroughly heralded the arrival of spring for me.
Yes, spring is here (I will keep my eyes steadfastly closed to any weather reports promising upcoming snow), and I have a spring in my step. Longer, warmer, infinitely fun-er days are ahead.
Such newness requires a celebration, don't you think? So let's do it to excess. In honour of a sweet pooch currently up for adoption at the Toronto Humane Society (someone take him home!), here is a recipe for Snickers Profiteroles. Yes, I took a classic French dessert and trashed it up. What else would you expect?
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup 2% milk
4 tbsp butter
1.5 tsp sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 room temperature eggs
4 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
2.5 tbsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt (to taste)
1/3 cup chopped, salted peanuts
1/2 pint vanilla ice cream
First: make the ganache. Chop the chocolate and place in a heat-proof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until steaming and about to boil (tiny bubbles at the edge of the pan are the best indication.) Pour the hot cream over the chocolate to cover, and leave for 1-2 minutes, then stir slowly with a spoon or a spatula (a whisk will incorporate too much air) until the ganache is entirely smooth. Set aside to harden slightly.
Next: make the caramel. Melt sugar in a tall, thick-bottomed pot until it becomes a medium amber colour. Turn the heat down to low, add butter, and whisk thoroughly (be careful, as the caramel will bubble up aggressively -- and nothing is more painful than a sugar burn!). Add the cream, and whisk over the heat until the mixture comes together into a smooth caramel. Mix in salt, then pour into a heat-proof container and leave to cool.
Finally: the choux pastry. In a medium saucepan, bring the water, milk, butter and sugar to a steady boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to medium, and add the flour all at once, stirring over the heat until the mixture forms a ball that pulls away from the sides of the saucepan. Continue stirring and cooking for another minute, then set the pan aside to cool for a few minutes. When the pot is no longer scorchingly hot, add the room temperature eggs, one at a time, mixing into the flour dough with a wooden spoon quickly and thoroughly before adding the next one. After the second egg is combined, the dough should be smooth, elastic, and viscous. If the dough seems too stiff to pipe onto a cookie sheet, you can add an egg white to the batter.
When the batter is ready, scrape it into a piping bag with a large open tip (a ziplock bag with the tip cut off works just as well!) Pipe ping-pong ball-sized dollops of dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and smooth any rough points or edges off with a wet fingertip.
Bake at 350ºF for 15-20 minutes, until they become golden on the edges and feel hollow. Transfer the balls onto a cooling rack, and pierce each one with a skewer or sharp knife to allow any steam to escape, thus keeping them from becoming soggy.
When profiteroles are completely cool, cut each in half. Spread 1 tsp chocolate ganache on the bottom half of each, followed by a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. Replace the tops and divide them amongst the number of plates you will be using, or just pile them up tall on one like I did!. Shower with caramel, and scatter the peanuts. Then go to town.