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Entries in espresso (12)

Sunday
Jul212013

Nutella Espresso Rolls

Nutella Espresso Rolls

I sat down to write this post a half dozen times, deleting the words once I recognized the meaning wasn't exactly what I wanted to express. The first rendition took on a serious tone, the second became an anecdote, the third a thoughtful observation. Yet, none of them communicated what I really wanted to say, which is you should make this recipe and soon. Though it is not usually in my nature to make bold statements, today I am making an exception. The truth is that these Nutella Espresso Rolls are easily one of the best dishes to come out of my kitchen. Ever.

I would never lie to you, dear friends.

Nutella Espresso Rolls Nutella Espresso Rolls Nutella Espresso Rolls

As a recipe developer, there are often several iterations a recipe goes through before I deem it good enough to share with you. While two iterations seems to be standard (with three or more sliding into second place), a single iteration is a rarity. These recipes are the four leaf clovers of the recipe development world, where modifications and tweaks happen ad infinitum.

In my own kitchen, I stumble across these rare gems perhaps once or twice a year, reveling in the moment before taking a fork after the sweet treat.

Nutella Espresso Rolls

Since my recent discovery of nutella, it has become a “banned” ingredient in the apartment because it has a tendency to disappear in a few blinks of the eye. However, the lack of nutella in the cupboards doesn't stop me from thinking about it. While recently browsing recipes online, I spotted a roll filled with chocolate. Running with the idea, I made the idea my own, filling the rolls with nutella and the subtle flavor of espresso.

After pulling the rolls out from the oven, piping hot and steaming, my boyfriend declared them one of the best things he's ever eaten. I agreed. I think you will, too.

Nutella Espresso Rolls

Nutella Espresso Rolls will leave you scraping the plate clean and wishing for more. The dough is made with espresso powder, which lends a subtle coffee flavor to the finished product. Spread with nutella and brown sugar, the dough is rolled up, sliced, and baked. When hot from the oven, the nutella becomes melted and gooey, given a unique texture from the brown sugar. These rolls are easy to make and are sinfully delicious. Make these for holidays, for friends and family, or just because it’s Monday—you won’t be disappointed.

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Sunday
May262013

White Chocolate Espresso Cake

White Chocolate Espresso Cake

Pastry Affair turns three years old today. While the thought that I have been doing this for so long feels a little surreal, at the same time it feels entirely expected; I can't remember a time when I didn't sit down each evening to play around with the blog in some form or another. Even though I never quite planned on it, I found myself partaking in the unavoidable tradition of combing back through old posts. The steady stream of recipes, photographs, and words from the past year act as a personal history for me. A small record of late night cravings, hours spent behind a camera lens, and several lengthy conversations about my love for breakfast—it's all there, buried between the webpages.

White Chocolate Espresso Cake White Chocolate Espresso Cake White Chocolate Espresso Cake

The past year has been a quiet evolution. I am still growing as a blogger, though perhaps not making the large strides I did in the years before. Even so, I feel like I am finding more of myself in the photography and the words, slowly uncovering bits and pieces of my elusive voice. That voice can be so difficult to find.

Throughout the last year I gave myself three challenges. The first was to eat (and bake) vegan for a month. Though it was difficult at first, I successfully completed the challenge and discovered a huge revelation about myself in the process—I'm lactose intolerant. At the time it seemed like an ironic fate for a purveyor of butter and cream, but I have since grown to accept it. Even though the recipes I share with you do not conform to this condition, you can be assured that in my own kitchen I regularly use dairy-free ingredients. Real butter, for better or worse, hasn't found a place in my refrigerator in months.

White Chocolate Espresso Cake

The second challenge was to include metric measurements with the recipes whenever possible to make baking these recipes easier for those of you who live abroad. Lastly, and perhaps most ambitiously, I challenged myself to consistently develop my own recipes from scratch, to learn recipe development the hard way: through trial and error. To be quite honest, incredibly difficult moments and embarrassing errors were had in my kitchen, most of which I kept to myself. Though I have improved substantially since I began, I am still not immune to failures. Just this morning I tossed a batch of pineapple cakes, hot from the oven, straight into the trash can.

Baking never fails to keep me humble.

White Chocolate Espresso Cake

Truthfully, though I love the corner of the internet in which this blog rests, you continually make it something special. Through your comments, emails, and endless support, you have made these past three years possible. You have given me the inspiration to keep mixing together new ingredients, to spend time clicking away behind my camera lens, and to spend nights staying up late to share my thoughts with you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you.

White Chocolate Espresso Cake

I have long believed that celebrations should involve cake and plenty of it. I think three years are worth celebrating, don't you? This cake went through a couple iterations before it reached this final product, but friends and family have all agreed that it is incredible.

White Chocolate Espresso Cake is on the list of my favorite cakes to date. A basic white cake batter is infused with espresso and has a lovely coffee aroma when finished baking. A white chocolate buttercream is spread around the cake; quite sweet, it is best used sparingly, but produces a complementary flavor to the cake. Topped with a sprinkling of cocoa powder and coffee beans, the cake becomes a work of art. As Janet Evanovich preaches, calories don't count during a celebration and I am inclined to agree. Eat up, my friends.

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Sunday
Nov182012

Pumpkin Pie Espresso Bars

Pumpkin Pie Espresso Bars

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but from the sheer amount of holiday commercials on television and Christmas music on the radio, you may guess it to be mid-December. My family is hosting the Thanksgiving celebration this year, as we have done many years before. My mother is already rushing around to get groceries, keep the house clean, and find enough space to seat twenty people for dinner. It can be a tight fit, but we figure it can't hurt to bring the family close together (both literally and figuratively).

Food and family go hand-in-hand. In many ways, it is a defining feature of our holidays to truly help them feel like a special moment in time.

Pumpkin Pie Espresso Bars

For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has always held the very same routines for me. As family begins to arrive and the food slowly begins to be spread out on the table, I hover over the vegetable tray trying to steal half of the black olives without anyone noticing, starving from a lack of breakfast (Needless to say, someone always notices and I continue to sneak olives despite it). Once everyone has arrived, we say grace and dig in, always eating much more than we should.

The chorus of content, but slightly uncomfortable voices after dinner confirms this fate.

Pumpkin Pie Espresso Bars

As the dishes are cleared, the televisions are quickly tuned to football games and everyone settles in for a lazy, sleepy afternoon. Without fail, someone in the family manages to fall asleep with his or her mouth hanging open, snoring softly, while the rest of the family gathers to laugh quietly and take embarrassing video footage (I desperately hope it's not my turn this year). In late afternoon, after the sun has set and the food coma is beginning to wear off, the leftovers from lunch are spread out on the tables and the second meal of the day indulgently begins before we part ways for the evening.

While my family never quite expresses our gratitude for one another out loud, it can be felt in the room. It is as real and perceptible as the scent of turkey in the air.

Pumpkin Pie Espresso Bars

I've been struggling to come up with a Thanksgiving dessert menu this year, but this recipe has easily made the short list of possible contenders. These bars are a twist on the traditional pumpkin pie. The crust is made from oatmeal and almonds, providing a strong contrast in texture to the smooth pumpkin filling. The filling is spiced with the classic spices of cinnamon and nutmeg, but I added a tablespoon of espresso powder which lends a subtle, but harmonizing flavor to the finished product. Topped with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon, these bars are truly something special for the holiday season.

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