Bakery Review: Elle’s Patisserie in Springfield, MO

Elle's Patisserie Outside

Elle's Patisserie Front Door

There’s a teeny little shop in our town that sells the most delicious treats.  And when I say delicious treats I’m talking legit truffles, ice cream and serious baked goods.  I had the pleasure of visiting Elle’s Patisserie a couple of weekends ago and was in love with the quaint little shop the moment we stepped inside.  From the cute purple exterior to the lovely little patio outside, everything about Elle’s is perfection.  The interior is relaxed and French inspired and tiny but the perfect size to display everything that comes out of the kitchen.

Elle's Patisserie Menus

Elle's Patisserie Menu

Elle's Patisserie Display Case

Elle's Patisserie Chairs

Elle's Patisserie Banner

Per usual, I wanted to try one of everything and was in a sort of daze just looking at all the truffles.  We sampled some ice cream (totally yummy) and then proceeded with the difficult task of deciding what we wanted to buy.  We finally narrowed it down to a piece of Chocolate Covered Bacon, a Salted Caramel Coffee Macaron, a Dark Ganache Truffle with Cocoa Nibs, a Peanut Butter Ball and a Peanut Butter Ganache Brownie.

Elle's Patisserie Ice Cream

Elle's Patisserie Macarons and Truffles

Elle's Patisserie Brownie

I won’t go into tons of detail about each one because they were all equally divine and if I wasn’t watching my girlish, post-pregnancy figure, I would have promptly bought one of each of everything else.  My favorite thing was probably the macaron.  Or maybe the dark ganache truffle.  Definitely a toss-up. Suffice it to say, Elle knows what she’s doing in the kitchen.

Elle's Patisserie Truffles

Elle's Patisserie Macaron

Elle's Patisserie Brownie and Treats

My only regret is that we didn’t get there a little earlier in the day.  By the time we arrived they were completely sold out of pastries.  Bummer!  But we’ll be back.  Elle’s is definitely a must-visit little chocolate shop so be sure and check them out if you are in Springfield, MO!

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Cappuccino Truffles

Last week I had the privilege of giving a brief presentation to our local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in Springfield, MO.  I shared two recipes with them, one healthy and one definitely not healthy.  I was a little nervous because I have never tried doing a cooking demonstration AND talking at the same time, but everyone was very nice and made me feel very comfortable!

The first recipe I shared was this one for my No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites (chocolate version).  I actually made this one in front of the group with a little help from two lovely assistants.  They were passed around so everyone could try them and the general consensus was “yum!”.  Everyone seemed to love the fact that these were healthy, easy to make and tasted delicious (I describe them as tasting just like a no-bake cookie!).  I was sooo relieved that everyone liked them!

The second goodie I shared were my Cappuccino Truffles.  There are a few candy recipes that I have made many times in the past and NEVER shared and this was one o them.  When I find recipes that people rave over and are willing to pay me to make, it’s hard for me to let go of them, but it was time!  I had these done ahead of time and did a few with coffee bean decor and some with gold luster dust.  It was so fun to pass these out and watch while people tasted them…the look of sheer pleasure on their faces was priceless.  Yep, they’re good.

I make mine with bittersweet chocolate ganache that has a hint of cinnamon and coffee and has been enrobed in a yummy white chocolate.  They are absolutely divine.  If you are looking at candy recipes for this holiday season and just don’t know which one to choose (there are MANY out there) I would highly encourage you to make this one!  They will be gone in seconds wherever you take them.

Needless to say, I had a fantastic time with the MOPS group of girls.  They were so fun and had lots of questions which I actually really enjoyed answering!  I’m definitely thinking I might be ready for my own cooking show….

Enjoy!

Cappuccino Truffles
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. Bittersweet or Dark Chocolate, finely chopped (I prefer Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Bars)
  • 1½ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 T. Instant Coffee Granules (or espresso powder)
  • ½ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1.25 lbs White Chocolate Candy Coating
  • 60 Coffee Beans, for decoration
Instructions
  1. Place the bittersweet/dark chocolate in a large bowl. Place the instant coffee in a small bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy whipping cream to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir 3 tablespoons into the instant coffee, to dissolve the granules, then blend this mixture back into the rest of the cream. Stir in the cinnamon, then pour the cream into the bowl with the bittersweet chocolate. Let the mixture stand for one minute, then stir together until thoroughly blended and smooth. Let cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until thick but not stiff, about 2 hours.
  2. Line a large cookie sheet with foil. With a melon baler, scoop out about 1” balls onto the foil-lined pan. Place in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove from freezer and roll into balls with the palm of your hands. Place back in the refrigerator while you melt the white chocolate.*
  3. Melt the white chocolate candy coating in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring between each until completely melted and smooth. Dip each truffle in the white chocolate and place on foil. Top immediately with a coffee bean.
Notes
Makes 60, 1" truffles. *Be sure your truffles are not frozen or too cold. If they are very cold, it will cause the white chocolate to crack after you dip them.

 

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Pumpkin and More Pumpkin

I really enjoy finding recipes from other blogs to share with you guys.  The only problem is I find so many that it’s hard to choose which ones to include without the post being incredibly long!  So I managed to narrow things down to TEN pumpkin recipes.  All look drool-worthy and absolutely freakin’ delicious.  See if there is one you like and make it!  If you do, please tell me about it in the comments…I truly would love to know what you end up making and loving!

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats

Pumpkin Butter

Mini Pumpkin Oreo Cheesecakes

Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Pretzels

Chai Pumpkin Spice Thumbprints

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin French Toast Casserole

Mini Pumpkin Doughnuts with Rum-Cider Glaze

Pumpkin Candy Cups

Pumpkin Scones

P.S.  I guess I shouldn’t be worried about linking too many recipes–check out this blog!  LOTS of pumpkin going on on this page!  Wow!

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The Chocolatier, Inc.

A couple of weeks ago Jeremy and I went on a little getaway to Illinois.  Illinois?  Yes, Illinois.  A friend of ours who lives in Rockford, IL was getting married the same week of our anniversary so we thought we’d make a it little anniversary celebration trip too.  We actually stayed in Bloomington, IL the first couple of days of our trip at a little B&B called the Vrooman Mansion (see pic above).  Except there is nothing little about this place…it has 18 rooms, a massive outdoor patio, several parlors and is just gorgeous!  I highly recommend this place if you are travelling through Illinois.  Oh, and the breakfast is divine!

We did lots of antiquating and some other mansion tours (one being the David Davis Mansion–who knew there were so many in Illinois?) and even hit up a winery that had live music one night.  Oh, and found a couple of totally fabulous restaurants.  We LOVED every minute in Bloomington.

Of course part of our trek through Illinois included some carefully researched sweet stops.  The first being this very unassuming chocolate shop in Bloomington, The Chocolatier, Inc.  It’s located in their downtown area and when we drove up I kind of thought it didn’t look too legit.  The outside was meh and inside there were ZERO frills…we’re talking bakery cases for the chocolates and then jars of bulk candy.  No gimmicks, no aesthetic niceties…nothing.

But guess what?  I was WRONG.  This place was more then legit.  It was crazy good.  I didn’t get any of the bulk candy, because I wanted to focus on the chocolate that was made there.  I can honestly say the chocolates at this place were perhaps the best I have ever had.  I’m talking melt in your mouth, nothing artificial, amazing, deliciousness.

Here’s what we got.  It was so hard to choose but I narrowed it down to six.  A Coffee Buttercream, Chocolate Covered Marshmallow, Marzipan Truffle, Amaretto Truffle, a Peanut Butter Cup and a Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.

First of all, none of these were bad.  They were all delicious.  But of course we had to rank our favorites.  The Coffee Buttercream came in last only because I thought it could have used a tad more coffee flavor.  Next, was the Chocolate Covered Marshmallow which was actually really, really good and I have never found a homemade marshmallow I like better than mine (sorry, it’s true!).   After that the Marzipan came in fourth, only because the top three were soooo good.  So third was the Amaretto Truffle…amazing amaretto flavored ganache covered with a milk chocolate shell.  Yum.

Second was the Peanut Butter Cup.  Oh my gosh…I’ve always loved my homemade peanut butter balls but I thought this thing was way better.  So good.

And lastly the star of the show was the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.  Holy cow.  Amazing dark chocolate ganache middle infused with raspberry puree and covered in a dark chocolate shell.  It. Was. Divine.  Not to mention gorgeous.

So yeah.  This place is the real deal when it comes to chocolate.  Definitely go if you are ever there.  Our next stop was in Chicago at a teeny, tiny pie place…can’t wait to share with you next week!

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Bakery Review – Pinkitzel in Oklahoma City

Warning:  This post contains many pictures.  I apologize in advance.  However, I originally had 50 and managed to narrow it down to 20.  And yes, I know you’re dying to see ALL 50 so I have a slideshow at the very end of this post with every. single. photo.

Ok, so I’ve talked about the little trip Jeremy and I took to Oklahoma City and the bakeries we visited, here and here.  But I have saved the best for last.  Pinkitzel is the sole reason I wanted to go to Oklahoma City.  Ever since finding them online a few months ago, I have been absolutely DYING to visit.  And I finally got to!  Since I have ambitions of opening my own candy shop one day, Pinkitzel is a MAJOR inspiration in my book.  I was so excited to go.  Probably too excited.

From the moment we walked in, I tried to contain myself but it was hard!  I’m sure the employees thought we were nuts…Jeremy taking pictures, me jotting down notes…yeah, we looked crazy.  At least I felt like I did.  But I didn’t care!  I was in candy heaven and no one was raining on my parade.  First off, the decor is AMAZING.  Totally my style and pretty dang close to what I’d choose for a store of my own.  It was black, white and hot pink with a rococo/baroque feel to it.  The party rooms were out. of. this. world.  There is a black and white one that could be accented with the colors of the person’s party/event they are having.  I believe the room was set up for an engagement party when we were visiting that day.

And then you have a red/pink room that is very girly and a little smaller, probably more for a young girl’s birthday party or even a bridal or baby shower.  Both of the rooms were so neat and over the top, pretty much like everything in the store.

There were also tons of fun merchandise and nicknacks and novelty gifts.

And the candy.  Oh, the candy.  So much to choose from.  I tried to be really picky but still get a good variety–at $3.75 for 1/4lb, this stuff wasn’t cheap!  But I can honestly say, it was totally worth the price.  A million times better quality than the stuff you’d get somewhere else (like our local shop in Springfield, Mr. Bulky’s) and the selection was just phenomenal.

My only regret about this place was spending $9 on three, yes THREE, cupcakes that were horrible, instead of using it on more candy.  Yes, you are doing the math correctly…$3 each.  I had read reviews that people posted online saying the cupcakes were from somewhere like Sam’s Club and just frosted different colors and sure enough…that’s what they were.  Except I like the cupcakes from Sam’s Club (shocker, I know) and I definitely did NOT like these.  They were even smaller than a regular size cupcake (if you can imagine that) and so loaded with artificially flavored frosting they were nearly inedible.  Let’s just say it was a good thing we were sitting right next to a trash can.  They also had a selection of chocolate truffles that were decent.  Not the best, but definitely ok.

BUT, the candy more than made up for the cupcakes and truffles.  I think it’s clear that the main product focus is the candy and it’s worth every penny.  I truly wish I’d just stuck with candy but I have no doubt I’ll be back to this place.  It’s sensory overload in every way and I love it!  Definitely make sure you stop in if you’re ever in the area!

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A Candy Cane Christmas

Nothing is more symbolic of Christmas than a candy cane and peppermint has been one of my favorite flavors for as long as I can remember.  I’ll never forget taking trips to see my Grandma who lived in Kansas City around the holidays and there was a little ice cream shoppe that had the most amazing hand-dipped candy cane ice cream.  I could hardly stand the three-hour drive from Springfield to KC in anticipation of that peppermint, creamy, frozen goodness!  Such a good memory.

So, I went searching for some awesome peppermint recipes and found so many, I almost didn’t know when to stop!  But I did manage to stop and I have quite the selection to share with you!  Not only are these desserts GORGEOUS but they are chocked full of peppermint goodness.  Make one of these for your holiday gathering this weekend!

 Layered Peppermint Cheesecake Cake

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cheesecake

Peppermint Crunch Truffles

Peppermint Meringues

Peppermint Brownies

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Peppermint Whoopie Pies

 

Candy Cane Cake Pops

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Cake

Chocolate Peppermint Roll with Chocolate Ganache

Peppermint Ice Cream

Peppermint Mocha Kahlua Truffles

Vanilla Peppermint Cupcakes

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Homemade Christmas Candy

This past weekend I made homemade candy, which is probably my favorite thing to make in the kitchen.  I tried a couple of old recipes and a couple of new ones.  One of the new ones was out of a candy book that I have and unfortunately it was a total disaster.  It was supposed to be similar to a 3 Musketeers but was more like chocolate taffy.  The taste was great because I used my super delicious Mexican cocoa powder but the texture was way off.  I was soooo disappointed in the recipe but I’m not going to give up!  I think that is what I like about candy making, it can be a challenge and it’s fun to figure out why recipes went wrong and what to do right or change the next time.

Here is a small collection of candy recipes that I’d love to try this Christmas, from simple to a little bit more complicated.  The homemade Snickers bar and Coffee Toffee are totally calling my name…actually they ALL look good!  Which one would you like to try??

Chubby Hubby Truffles

Gumdrops

Coffee Toffee

Honey Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

Cherry Cordials

Pumpkin Spice Truffles

Peanut Brittle

Eggnog Fudge with White Chocolate and Walnuts

Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

Chocolate Dipped Caramels

Oreo Truffles

Divinity

Homemade Snickers

Peanut Butter Cups

Candy Cane Marshmallows

Salt Water Taffy

Chocolate Covered Coffee Crackle Crunch

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Sugar Rush 2011

Last year Drury partnered with some local businesses to bring the first every Sugar Rush event to Springfield, MO.  It’s basically a sampling a sweets made by local vendors and restaurants with all the profits going to Care to Learn, an organization dedicated to meeting the basic social and economic needs of kids in schools across the Ozarks.

I didn’t know about the event last year in time to go and I almost missed it this year but found out about it at the last minute and managed to score two for one tickets!  I asked my friend Robyn (of Red’s Cupcakes!) to go with me and together we ate our way through 25+ vendors and three plates of desserts.  Yes, THREE plates.  There were a LOT of mini cupcakes, some cookies, chocolates and truffles and even doughnuts and frozen yogurt samples.  I can’t say I was terribly impressed with anything but I definitely had my favorites.  I think Robyn and I agreed the front runners were Amycakes (awesome from scratch cupcakes and cookies), Elle’s Patisserie (loved her truffles and pastry), My Mary’s Jellies (truffles filled with wine-infused jelly–omg, so going to be making my own!) and one that I really liked, Granolove (super delicious homemade granola).  These places stood out above all the rest for quality and taste.

It was so much fun and I absolutely cannot wait for next year!  Here are some pictures from the evening-enjoy!

The Cup Pumpkin Cake
The Hot Chocolate Cups
Tea Bar and Bites Pumpkin Cake

Love Bites Truffles
My Mary's Jellies Red Wine Truffles
Tea Bar and Bites Coconut Cream

Granolove Granola
Style by the Slice Vanilla Bean
Sisters in Thyme Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Elle's Patisserie Salted Caramel Truffle
Gigi's Cupcakes Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla
Bambino's Caramel Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake

Amycakes Red Velvet
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Banana Splits

Today is National Banana Split Day!  Woo hoo, get excited!  Personally, I’ve never really been a big fan of banana splits…I mean, if I’m going to have ice cream, I don’t want anything even remotely healthy going on or in it.  Give me the sugary, fatty bad stuff all the way.  But then I came upon these banana split inspired recipes and OMG I am drooling all over my keyboard.  Talk about decadent, over-the-top, gloriously evil, sweet temptation!

Enjoy!  And try to keep the drooling to a minimum.

Banana Split Cake

Banana Split Truffles

Banana Split Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Banana Split Ice Cream Cake

Banana Split Cupcakes

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Cookie Dough Truffles-5 Ways

I’ve got a super, duper easy recipe to share with you.  That okay?  Good.  Because you’ll thank me the next time you have to come up with something sweet and delicious (not to mention cute) for a bridal shower or baby shower or last-minute company or work party or…well, you get the picture.

All I did was take the basic (egg-free) chocolate chip cookie dough truffle recipe below and made it five different ways by changing only a couple of ingredients and dipping the truffles in white or dark chocolate.  Of course, you can just stick with the basic recipe but I wanted to give you some ideas to get your creative juices flowing!  It’s a very versatile recipe so really you could make it into whichever cookie recipe happens to be your favorite.  Have fun!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles-Basic Recipe

1/2 c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened

3/4 c. Packed Brown Sugar

2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract

1/8 t. Salt

2 1/4 c. AP Flour

14. oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 c. Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips

2 c. Dark Chocolate Candy Melts (such as Wilton or the brand I highly recommend, Chocoley)

In a mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until creamy.  Add vanilla and salt.  Gradually beat in flour and add milk.  (Mixture will seem sticky but it stiffens up nicely, don’t worry.)  Add chocolate chips.  Chill dough in fridge for a few minutes.

While dough is chilling, melt chocolate wafers in microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring each time.  When chocolate is completely melted, get dough out of fridge, shape into 1-inch balls and dip in chocolate.  Having something like this, helps alot. Place on foil to harden.  Drizzle with chocolate or decorate with sprinkles, sugar, etc.

Makes 50 Truffles.

Variations

1. Cherry Pecan Cookie–Replace chocolate chips with 1/2 c. chopped dried cherries and 1/2 c. toasted pecans

2. Oatmeal Raisin Cookie–Replace chocolate chips with 1/2 c. raisins and 1/2 c. oats

3.  Sugar Cookie–Replace the brown sugar with white sugar and omit chocolate chips

4. White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie–Replace brown sugar with white sugar and replace chocolate chips with 1/2 c. chopped macadamia nuts and 1/2 c. white chocolate chips

 

 

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ChoccyWoccyDooDah

cakeThis is the wedding cake I should have had.  I am in love with it.  Not that I could have afforded it, but one can dream.

This masterpiece was done by a little chocolate shop called ChoccyWoccyDooDah that describe themselves as an “art and design focused chocolaterie” and wow, is that the truth!  Their cakes are unique and fun and maybe even a tad bit odd, but beautiful nonetheless!  It looks like they focus a lot on cakes but also offer truffles, popcorn and marshmallow “lollies” and in fact have a “bar du chocolate” where one can indulge in almost every form of chocolate known to man, all served by a chocolista, of course!

Unfortunately, I won’t be dropping by anytime soon to give an unofficial review of the place since they’re located in the UK but I can drool from afar.

Check out all their amazing creations here!

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Godiva Chocolate Rewards

Choc 1

Chocolate is good. Certain chocolate (ahem, dark) can even be divine. But sometimes it tastes even better when it’s FREE. Which is why the Godiva Chocolate Rewards Club is so sweet! (Lame, I know.) If you’ve never heard of the program, I am here to bring a little extra joy to your life once a month.

All you need to do is head into your local Godiva boutique, hand over some non-intrusive personal info (name, address, email) and you’re in! It’s fairly quick and painless to sign up and definitely worth it. So, once a month you can go in, flash your Godiva Chocolate Rewards card and snag a piece of free chocolate bliss. It’s a nice little no-cost pick me up after you’ve spent all your money shopping at the mall and are having a slight case of buyer’s remorse. Not that I would know anything about that.

There are also lots of other perks that you can check out here. The only downside of the club that I’ve found thus far is that you are limited to one piece of chocolate. I end up standing in front of the display case for at least five minutes, drooling over the selection and agonizing over which one I want while the salesperson looks at me like I’m crazy. This typically results in me cracking under the pressure and purchasing at least one chocolate in addition to my free piece. Sigh.

I’m sure it’s all part of Godiva’s evilly delicious plan and I’m playing right into their hands.

Choc 2

Oh and in case you are wondering, the chocolates above (from back left to right) are the Almond Marzipan, Macadamia Mosaic, Strawberry White Chocolate Truffle, Praline Crescent and Dark Ganache Heart.

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New Year’s Eve Dessert Bar

This past Thursday night I had the opportunity to donate my baking skills to a New Year’s Eve benefit for a very good cause (more on that in a bit). Since I had about two and a half days to pull everything together, I basically went into super-adrenaline mode and baked like a mad woman from sun-up till waayyyy after sundown ignoring any and all distractions including my computer, my phone (hopefully I still have friends) and my very, very sick husband. Poor husband. Lucky for me he didn’t mind passing out on the sofa every night while I was up to my elbows in sugar and flour. By the time Thursday rolled around, I thought I might not get everything done and was literally frosting things up to the minute I had to go set-up. But I triumphed! And I must say, I think it turned out quite lovely and tasty. I even managed to color coordinate with the event–black and white!

Dessert BarCupcakes

The menu was vast and varied and included these delicious selections (Oh, and did I mention everything made was “mini”? That adds time exponentially!): Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, Soft Sugar Cookies, White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies, Fudge Brownies, Chocolate Chip and White Chocolate Chai Cheesecakes, Chocolate Dipped Homemade Vanilla Marshmallow Pops, White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels, White Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream, Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate and Oreo Buttercream, Raspberry Fudge Tassies with Almond Buttercream, Homemade Vanilla Marshmallow “Stars”, Chocolate Covered Cherries and Cappuccino Truffles. Whew!

Sugar Cookies

Overall, the dessert buffet and the benefit was a success! All proceeds from the night when to a great organization, Pearl Alliance, dedicated to freeing young women and children that are enslaved in the human trafficking industry. It’s hard to believe that a horrible injustice such as this one even exists in the world we live in today–it not only exists, but is thriving. Check out their website for more information and see what you can do to help!

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