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! Chocolate Flecked Popovers!
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 toffee chunk banana loaf now known as failure.
My plan was to add chocolate toffee chunks, then pipe peanut butter cheesecake batter from this recipe, into a really great banana loaf 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. Maybe a peanut butter and jelly banana bread too?? A marbled banana chocolate cake bread stuffed with peanut butter cheesecake? A bacon peanut butter banana bread? Tahini banana bread? Bananas Foster Banana Bread with toffee pecan streusel? Banana Chocolate Chip Tahini Cake? Chocolate Chunk Coconut Banana Bread?? Now I’m rolling!
That said, doesn’t the peanut butter cheesecake filling make the banana bread look like its some kind of soulless ghoul staring you down? A look that says “You effed me up, b**ch.”. UGH.
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 , 2 tablespoons of butter, 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 plain popovers because I’ve used it my whole baking life, and it’s never failed me (I’m devoutly loyal to my baked goods.).
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!
SO, for basic popovers, it will always be my long time tried and true recipe above. Crazy flavored popovers? This one, because baking powder helps maintain the rise with fillings added.
Speaking of crazy tops, check out the popover below! Now 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. You poke a tiny hole in the side of each popover when it’s right out of the oven (the bottom of the popover or the side of it, but not the top) 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, you can actually give them about 5 more minutes in a low oven on a baking sheet to dry quickly, but it’s not necessary, as long as you puncture it right out of the oven. 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, airy pockets.
SO. 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 ‘light as air’ pain au chocolate with less chocolate (and a lot less butter!) Those little bits and pockets 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
- 1¾ cups whole milk, lukewarm
- 2 cups bread flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup grated chocolate (semisweet, bittersweet, or milk chocolate - your choice!) Ideally, you want thinnish shards of chocolate, like THIS
- 3 extra tablespoons bread flour
- Grate or chop the chocolate and place itall in a bowl. Put the bowl of chocolate in the fridge or freezer.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- In another bowl or large measuring cup, beat together the eggs, milk, and melted butter until light in color.
- Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat together until uniform, about 10 to 15 seconds. Do not over beat. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
- After the 1 hour rest, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and move the oven rack to a lower (but not necessarily the lowest) slot to keep the tops from over browning.
- Place the empty popover pan or muffin tin in the oven for 5 minutes.
- While the popover pan or muffin tin heats up, remove the grated chocolate from the fridge or freezer and sprinkle with the three tablespoons flour. Shake to fully coat the chocolate shards with the flour, then dump all of it in a fine-meshed strainer over a bowl and shake off the excess flour.
- Gently fold the flour coated chocolate shards into the popover batter.
- Remove the popover pan or muffin tin from the oven and grease each well with cooking spray. or brush each well with melted butter. Immediately fill the popover or muffin tin cups almost to the top with batter. If one of the cups of the popover or muffin pan is empty, fill it half full of water (this will help protect the pan from too much heat).
- As soon as all the batter has been poured into the popover pan cups or muffin tin cups, place it in the oven.
- Bake without opening the door for 15 minutes. Do not peek! No opening the oven door to check as they might collapse.
- After 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown on the outside and airy on the inside. Remember. no opening the oven door to check!
- Remove popovers from the oven, and unmold onto a rack. Popovers should pull away from the pan easily; if not, use a butter knife or a dull knife to nudge them from the pan. You don't want to cut or tear them.
- Pierce the sides of each popover with the tip of a sharp knife or skewer to let steam escape (this will keep the exterior crisp, the interior moist, and prevent the popovers from collapsing).
- Serve immediately with your favorite spread(s) or creams (like creme fraiche), and fresh fruit. WE like to spread them with Whipped Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese.
For some great quick bread recipes that Lis compiled for the challenge, click HERE.