This is what I made for this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge – Popovers, but not just any popovers, popovers with flecks of chocolate in them!
The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was Lis (my wifeypoo). Lis stepped in last-minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites, encouraging us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.
That’s right up my culinary alley. I can never follow a recipe, and I never shut up about it because I don’t want to insult the original recipe when I do crazy. sometimes unintentionally gross, things to it.
So, below was my original plan for this month’s Daring Baker Challenge. Peanut butter cheesecake filled chocolate chunk banana bread now known as failure.
My plan was to add chocolate chunks, then pipe peanut butter cheesecake batter from this recipe, into a really great banana bread batter. It worked as far as flavor went, but it sunk in the middle because I think I used too much peanut butter cheesecake batter, and frankly, it was kind of ugly. BUT, I will have a refined, hopefully prettier, recipe for it eventually.
That said, I have a tendency to experiment at the last-minute..always confident that it’ll work out in some way, shape or form. More than half the time there’s some kind of problem that I can either fix in time, or I end up making something else, quickly. I’ve always been a last minute person, and I’d like to say I thrive under pressure, but I’d be lying. When it doesn’t work out the way I hoped it would, I get upset, sometimes with a side of potty mouth.
SO, when you have only a few hours to pull something off, something quick is your saving grace. What better than popovers? Honestly, who doesn’t love popovers? Not only are they easy to put together, but the dramatic appearance usually elicits oohs and aahs when you pull them from the oven. Just look at how tall and whimsical these popovers are!
There’s a supposed secret to getting them this tall and crazy poofy, well, two secrets really, maybe three..okay, four. One, baking powder – just a little bit. Two – bread flour instead of AP flour. Three – room temperature eggs and milk. Four – letting the batter rest an hour before filling and baking.
I usually use a simple formula of 1 cup AP flour, 1 cup milk, 3 eggs and a pinch of salt. It’s foolproof, beautiful popovers..every.single.time. In fact, I’m going to stick to this simple formula 99% of the time when it comes to popovers.
However, after trying this new recipe,, and seeing how some of my popovers did the crazy dance once they rose above the rims (maybe it was the chocolate that made them happy crazy? Nahh, definitely the baking powder,), has certainly made me want to use it again. It’s amazing how much higher and crazier they would have risen had I not added the chocolate. There are photos of the popovers at the linked recipe, so you can see how high and crazy they are! Popovers with kooky hats!
Speaking of crazy tops, check out the popover below! I definitely think the baking powder induces the crazy.
NO IDEA. Use your imagination.
On another note, setting the crazy aside, the key to keeping your popovers tall is giving them some interior drying time in the oven. You poke a tiny hole in the side of each popover (the bottom part; I call it the ‘stand’) to let the steam escape. If you don’t do this, they will eventually slump and the interior will be soggy. Once you pierce them, give them about 5 more minutes in a low oven on a baking sheet to dry. They will now hold shape; no schlumping and no soggy interiors..just crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside with lots of wonderful air pockets.
What makes these popovers so special is the chocolate flecked factor. I froze some grated chocolate, tossed it in flour (shaking off the excess in a strainer), and added it to the batter just before I filled the wells of the pan. I love the slight speckled effect and the streaks of chocolate on the inside. But most importantly, they’re tasty..like pulling apart a pain au chocolate with less chocolate (and a lot less butter!) Those little bits of chocolate dispersed throughout the fluffy interior and crispy, golden exterior, will make you really happy.
I served these with leftover vanilla bean cream cheese spread and fruit. You can serve them with whatever you want, or just eat as is. I wanted to eat them all. I didn’t. Shock.
Chocolate Flecked Popovers
1 recipe for these popovers – dijon mustard omitted plus 2/3 cup grated or finely chopped chocolate, frozen, then tossed in flour, shaken in a strainer, and stirred into the batter.
If you have a moment, please check out some fantastic quick breads created by other Daring Bakers members, by clicking on the links to their blogs, HERE. For some great quick bread recipes that Lis compiled for the challenge, click HERE.