Mini Dark Chocolate & Cherry Panettone

These mini panettone are filled with delicious dark chocolate and sweet cherries. They are sure to delight on Christmas morning!

 Mini Dark Chocolate & Cherry Panettone

Let the Christmas baking begin! I am so excited to share with you all of the delicious Christmas treats I have been making, testing and tasting over these past few weeks! I thought I would start off with my Mini Dark Chocolate and Cherry Panettone. It has become a bit of a tradition of mine to bake a panettone each Christmas. It started with these mini ones and then last year I made a more traditional large loaf. I decided to go back to the mini ones again this year. There is just something about mini desserts that is so fun. They are easily shareable and hard to resist!

I love that these aren’t overly sweet. The slight bitterness of the dark chocolate pairs really well with the sweetness of the dried cherries. Its a delicious combination. I love the tender, flakiness of the panettone dough. I have been enjoying these for breakfast with a cup of tea! yum!

What Exactly is Panettone?

Well I am glad you asked! It is a traditional Italian sweet bread that is typically prepared around Christmas. It is usually a large loaf with a round base and a muffin like top. The dough is made using lots of butter and eggs which gives the Panettone a tender flakey texture. It usually has candied citrus and/or dried fruits throughout.

Making the Dough

Making a yeast dough can always be a little nerve racking but it is totally worth it! This dough comes together quickly and doesn’t require a lot of kneading. Just make sure you start the process early on in the day as it requires two 90 minute rise times before heading to the oven.

The only other thing to be cautious of when making these panettone is not over heating the milk and butter. Just heat until all the butter has melted and the milk is warmed. You don’t want it to get too hot! If you add super hot milk to the flour and yeast mixture you could kill the yeast and your dough won’t rise as it should. It will also melt the chocolate chips which you don’t want either!

 Mini Dark Chocolate & Cherry Panettone

Mini Dark Chocolate & Cherry Panettoni

Makes: 12 mini panettoni
Time: 30 minutes active time, 90 minute rise time x2

Ingredients:

2 packages instant yeast

4 c all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 c warm milk

1/4 c warm water

1/4 c butter

1/2 c sugar

3 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c dark chocolate chunks

1 c dried cherries

1 egg

2 tbsp milk

Directions:

Grease a large bowl with butter, set aside

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together flour, yeast and salt on low speed for 5 minutes. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine milk, water, butter and sugar. Heat until all the butter is melted and mixture is warm, do not over heat. If the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast. The milk should be warm to the touch, if it feels too hot wait for it too cool down slightly before adding it to the flour mixture.

On low speed, slowly pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Add in eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Stir in dark chocolate and dried cherries. until just combined. The dough should be sticky to the touch Transfer dough to prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise in a warm, draft free area until doubled in size (approx 90 mins)

Line cupcake pan with parchment paper cupcake liners. Once dough is doubled in size, punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into 12 even pieces. Roll into balls and place in cupcake liners. Cover with clean tea towel and let rise until doubled in size (aprox 90 mins).

Beat together remaining egg and 2 table spoons of milk to create egg wash. Brush on tops of each mini panettone. Bake at 350F for 11-15 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

 
 Mini Dark Chocolate & Cherry Panettone

Chai Cream Puffs

These chai cream puffs have the perfect amount of chai flavour and they are topped with white chocolate and a dusting of cinnamon that really highlight the chai flavour. Perfect for a cozy evening in.

 Cream puffs filled with chai whipped cream and topped with white chocolate and cinnamon

As much as I’d love to start bombarding you with Christmas recipes - I will hold off for another week. I figured these Chai Cream Puffs were the perfect transition between Fall and the holidays! Chai is one of those flavours that works so well for both occasions (any occasion really!). I drink chai lattes all year round. In the summer I love them iced and there is nothing better then a hot chai tea latte on a cold day. There is something about chai at winter - its so warming and totally cozy.

I have been having a lot of fun with cream puffs lately. I love how versatile the choux pastry is. It’s the perfect vessel for so many different flavours. I love how light and airy the choux pastry is. Its so fun to fill with different combinations then dunk in chocolate or glaze. The possibilities are endless and I am having so much fun exploring them. Maybe next year I will attempt to make a croquembouche for the holidays. They are so impressive looking! But for this year these chai cream puffs will have to do.

 Cream puffs filled with chai whipped cream and topped with white chocolate and cinnamon

Chai Cream Puffs

Makes: 18-24 Cream Puffs

Ingredients:

For the Pate a Choux
1 c water
½ c butter, cut into cubes
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 c flour
4 eggs

For the Chai Whipped Cream Filling
1½ c heavy cream
¼ c chai concentrate

¾ c white chocolate chips, melted
Cinnamon

 Cream puffs filled with chai whipped cream and topped with white chocolate and cinnamon

Directions

For the Pate a Choux: Pre-heat oven to 425F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine the water, butter, salt & sugar. Simmer until the butter has melted and the mixture comes to a light boil. Take the mixture off the heat and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Place the mixture back on the heat and continue to stir until the mixture starts to come off the sides of the pan and a ball forms.

Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool for 4-5 minutes. Stir in eggs one at a time. The mixture will break or come apart with each addition but should come back together before you add the additional egg. Your pastry should be shinny and of a smooth consistency. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (I used a coupler) and pipe about 2 inches apart onto baking sheet. Use a small amount of water to smooth out peak on each dough mound. Bake for 10 minutes for at 425F, then drop oven temperature to 375F and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow shells to cool completely before filling.

For the Chai Whipped Cream Filling: Ensure everything is cold before starting, including your mixer bowl. In a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, over medium-high speed whisk your heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Whisk in the chai concentrate until just combined. Chill in fridge until needed.

To Assemble: Fill a pipping bag fitted with a large round tip (such as a Wilton 12) with chai whipped cream filling. Poke your pipping bag tip into the bottom a cooled cream puff shell. Pipe filling into cooled shell until a little starts to ooze out. Dip filled cream puffs into melted white chocolate and dust with cinnamon.

 Cream puffs filled with chai whipped cream and topped with white chocolate and cinnamon

Pumpkin Scones (Video)

Moist and delicious spiced pumpkin scones!

 Moist, Quick and Easy Pumpkin Scones

I’m back with another pumpkin recipe! I am also super excited because I have a video of this recipe to share with you as well! These scones are quick and easy to make. Just make sure you use cold butter to get that perfect flaky texture!

I have a thing for scones and these just might be my favourite flavour yet! They have just the right amount of spice and are perfectly moist. These pumpkin scones have the perfect texture. They have that slightly crisp top with a softer flaky centre. Enjoy your pumpkin scones with a big mug of coffee or tea (or as we discovered on girls night… a glass of red wine! Something about the pumpkin and spices paired really well with the red wine).

 Moist Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

Makes: 8 Large Scones

Ingredients:

½ c pumpkin puree

1 egg

¼ c heavy cream

2 c flour

½ c sugar

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ c butter, cold & cut in cubes

1 egg

½ c pumpkin

¼ c heavy cream

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together pumpkin puree, egg, and heavy cream, set aside. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into flour mixture, until mixture resembles wet sand. Mix wet ingredients into dry until combined. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and kneed dough into a ball. Flatten dough into a large round disk and cut into 8 even wedges.

Evenly place scones onto prepared baking sheet and brush with heavy cream. Bake scones for 14 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow scones to cool completely on a wire rack.

 Moist Pumpkin Scones