Thursday, March 06, 2008

Lengthy process, but worth it...

I'm all for making goodies that give instant satisfaction, but sometimes there are rests required that will make it worth waiting the extra time. Today's treat, Chocolate-Filled Buns, is one of those recipes as I needed to make the dough yesterday to rest in the refrigerator overnight. This slows down the rising process, allowing the flavor in the dough to develop and making it a little easier to work with.

Milk and a combination of butter, oil and egg ensures that this mildly sweet dough is very soft, supple and easy to roll out. White whole-wheat flour and bread flour contribute a heartier flavor while keeping the buns fluffy on the inside. Once the dough has been divided and made into circles, chopped bittersweet chocolate is placed in the center and the buns are formed by rolling up the dough around the chocolate jelly-roll style. Since you know that Jeff is a big cinnamon chip fan, I did make a few buns with those stuffed inside instead of the chocolate.

After the buns have been assembled and had a chance to rise until puffy (almost doubled in size), they are brushed with a beaten egg white to give the dough a superb golden shine when they have baked. When they were cooled enough and I took a bite out of one, I was a little surprised and pleased with how soft and "squishy" the buns stayed. With the dough being just barely sweet, hitting the jackpot of rich chocolate in the center made my eyes light up each time! They might not be as decadent as a chocolate-filled flaky croissant, but these were quite good for a snack and should freeze quite well!

Jeff's interest in what was going on in the kitchen was much more focused when he saw me preparing the potatoes, cheese and bacon for tonight's dinner. A few of his most favorite ingredients - he was practically drooling rattling off different ideas on what he thought I was making.

I even caught him doing what could very well be called a jig as he danced into the living room after I laid out the plans about making this Baked Potato and Leek Soup with Cheddar and Bacon. To give the soup depth, the potatoes are first baked until they are very tender. While these need to cool down for awhile before you can work with them, there are still plenty of things that need to be done!

The leeks are cooked in a few tablespoons of butter over medium-low so they can get tender, yet not gain any color. The garlic is added and when that sweet pungent aroma hits your nose, broth and water are added and the mixture is left to simmer. In the meantime, we cooked the diced bacon until it were very crisp.

Smooth soups are good enough, but with potato soup we love to have some texture contrast. One of the potatoes has the flesh scooped out and cut into chunky pieces. The skin, having an enormous amount of flavor, is not wasted - it is chopped up, along with the other whole potato, and added to the soup to be puréed smooth. Once the soup is warmed back up, milk and sour cream are stirred in, along with a couple ounces of sharp Cheddar, giving the soup a very silky body. The chunks of potato are stirred in for that contrast in texture and the soup is finished with the crisped salty nubs of bacon, a bit more Cheddar and green onions.


  1. Nice soup for your cold weather. I like the idea of the buns with chocolate in the center. I'm sure the boys would enjoy.

  2. wow, that soup looks fantastic!

    (hi, i'm jen btw, i don't remember how i ended up here, but i've been drooling ever since)

  3. nothing in that post is something i would not want to eat. bread filled with chocolate? soup with bacon? hook me up.

  4. Helene - It is finally started to warm up. I hope it stays on course!

    Jen - Hello! Thanks for speaking up :)

    Michelle - Thanks!