Éclairs with White Chocolate Cream, 2nd Anniversary and a Giveaway!

eclairs with white chocolate cream

Today, my blog turns two years old! For me, that’s quite an achievement seeing as that I am really bad at maintaining it! I love writing and cooking for it, but unless I devote a considerable time to it, it’s hard work to maintain and generate the traffic you want. I am thankful though, to everyone who has and continues to visit and read my ramblings and try my concoctions. I want to thank, my blogger friends who tirelessly read my stories and memories, and support me unconditionally. They leave wonderful comments and feedback and I appreciate each and everyone of them.

Two and a half years ago, I toyed with the idea of starting a blog but kept talking myself out of it. I knew it needed a serious commitment that I knew I couldn’t keep. However, days of cooking and cleaning and being a wife and mommy were just making me numb. I longed for intellectual conversation, something to tickle my numbed and sleepy nerves; a spark to jolt me into being me the old me. Here are a few random facts that make me, me:

I am a Sci Fi/Mystery nerd: Star Wars, Star Trek, all superhero movies, Sherlock, Inspector Lewis..
I am a science geek: audio/video, tech etc
I am a hopeless romantic but happen to be married to the least romantic person ever.
I love to read but hardly get the chance because half way through the first page, I am asleep.
My favourite are the British classics, mysteries and yes, I did read Fifty Shades of Grey.
I love all kind of music from Led Zeppelin, The Who and AC/DC to One Direction and Eminem ( however, I do draw the line at Justin Bieber)
I love to talk; about everything and anything.
I love to travel and absorb cultures and wish I was fluent in every language.
I am a fidgety restless person whose mind is constantly churning; I always need to do something or learn something new
I was born in Saudi Arabia, I grew up in England (London will always be my home) and my family is from India and I live in America married to an American, when people ask me where I am from, there’s usually a big pause. I still haven’t perfected that answer.

So, I went from being this person who wanted to do everything to a stay at home mom. It was hard for me and so I started playing around with arts and crafts, did a bit of sewing, experimented with cooking and baking. As much as I loved doing stuff, I felt like my mind still wasn’t being exercised. Hence, the blog. I wanted to write, and use big words, and make grown up sentences rather than the simple, explanatory ones I used with my children day in and day out. Of course, two years ago I did have teenagers, but when have you known a teenager to 1. Converse with their parent 2. Converse in proper English? So, commitment or not, I started my blog for myself mainly. It didn’t matter to me back then if anybody read it; I was writing for myself.

Two years later, I have readers and slowly but surely, it’s getting noticed. So, thank you all for reading and supporting me! I still maintain this for myself, but making new friends from all over the world has been my new motivation to keep updating the site on a regular basis.

As a thank you to my regular readers, family and friends, I am giving away a thank you gift. Unfortunately, since I am bank rolling this giveaway, I have to limit it to US postal addresses. I have picked Gordon Ramsay’s Sunday Lunch cook book to giveaway. I think Chef Ramsay is awesome and his recipes are easy to follow and recreate. I hope the lucky winner will think so too.

Gordon Ramsay's Sunday Lunch: 25 Simple Menus to Pamper Family and Friends

To enter the drawing, you have to just go crazy with me socially! The more love you give, the more chances you have. You have till February 28 to get crazy. I will announce the winner first week of March.

Here’s what to do:
Leave me a comment or two, telling me an interesting tidbit about you.
Like my page on Facebook and say “hi”

And for extra entries:
Subscribe by email or register on my website
I am on Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram

I know I have regular readers who don’t comment, so it would be nice to meet y’all!

Now, onto my anniversary dessert. I wanted to celebrate my two years with one of my favourite pastries, the éclair. These are slightly more jazzy and festive for the occasion and the inspiration came from the BBC Good Food magazine (they did some pastel eclairs in their January issue).

I have sort of combined my anniversary and Valentine’s Day dessert into one. These are great for any occasion and making them colourful allows you to tailor them to your specific event. I chose these colours because they are anniversary festive and very Valentine’s Day festive too. I thought this would be a nice kick off to some Valentines Days goodies coming up this week.

eclairs with white chocolate cream

Éclairs with White Chocolate Cream

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 18 eclairs

Ingredients
Choux Pastry
  • 20z/56g butter, in pieces
  • ⅔ cup/150mL water
  • ½ cup/75g flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
White Chocolate Cream
  • 1 cup/236mL heavy cream
  • 4oz good quality white chocolate, I used Ghirardelli
Decoration and Icing
  • 4 oz melted white chocolate, divided and coloured
  • assorted candies, sweets and sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400℉/200℃
  2. Mix the flour and salt together.
  3. Have a piping bag with a medium size plain nozzle ready to be filled.
  4. Have a baking sheet lined with parchment paper ready.
Choux Pastry
  1. Place water and butter in a medium pan and bring up to boil gently.
  2. Once butter is melted and mixture is beginning to boil, pull of the heat.
  3. Dump in the flour and salt and beat vigourously to combine.
  4. Don't over beat otherwise the fat will seep out.
  5. Let cool for 2 minutes.
  6. Once the mixture is in ball, using a hand mixer, start to mix the pastry ball.
  7. Add the eggs in a stream and continue to beat.
  8. Beat on high to trap as much air as possible into the pastry, 5 minutes.
  9. Once the eggs have been added and the pastry beaten, it is ready to be piped.
  10. Fill the piping bag with the pastry and pipe out long tubes of about 3"(8cm)
  11. Use a wet knife to cut of the ends from the piping bag.
  12. Pipe out 18 eclairs onto the parchment paper, leaving 2"(5cm) between each one.
  13. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and puffy.
  14. As soon as they are out of the oven, remove from the baking sheet and poke two or three holes
  15. at the ends to release air.
  16. Or you can also slit the sides if you prefer.
  17. Place on a wire rack and cool before filling.
White Chocolate Cream
  1. Place the white chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and heat at 30 second intervals till melted.
  2. It will only take about a minute to melt and the residual heat from the bowl will continue to melt the chocolate all the way. Set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, whip the chilled cream to stiff peaks.
  4. Slowly add half of the cooled, melted chocolate and continue to whip gently for a minute.
  5. Then fold in the rest of the chocolate, till combined all the way.
  6. Fill a piping bag with a small nozzle with the cream.
  7. Put aside until ready to fill the éclair shells.
Decorating
  1. Melt some more chocolate and divide into bowls and colour with desired colours.
  2. Have candy and sweets ready to sprinkle.
  3. Once the shells have cooled, using the piping bag filled with cream, squeeze cream into the ends of the shells using the holes you poked earlier.
  4. If you slit the sides, just pipe cream into the shell.
  5. Dip the éclair into your choice of coloured chocolate cream and sprinkle with candy.
  6. Put aside as you complete the rest.
  7. If you are not serving them right away, chill in the fridge.
  8. Éclairs are best eaten on the day they are made but I can eat them the next day too!
Notes
The times given are approximate. Depends on how long it takes to melt your chocolate, how efficient you are at piping and how much decoration you are doing.

eclairs with white chocolate cream

eclairs4

eclairs with white chocolate creamOnce again, thank you for all your support the last two years. I hope you will celebrate with me and enjoy some éclairs. These are amazing; creamy and indulgent with just the right amount of sweetness. Make them for any special occasion. I look forward to reading your juicy tidbits and picking a winner!

  1. I can’t believe I missed this post! You know what a massive sweet tooth I have right…lol. These eclairs would be gone in no time ;P

    I was born in Pak, spent my childhood in the middle east and then moved to Canada and now I am living in Chicago. So, when people ask me where I am from…I get confused too…hahah

    PS: You chose a great bok to give away. I loveeeeeee Gordon Ramsay though i don’t have any of his cookbooks! I think he’s hillarious. My husband and i laugh non-stop while watching his shows, especially Hell’s Kitchen. Plus, there is some sort of a travel documentary on Netflix where he went to India… parts of that were soooo funny!
    cakewhiz recently posted..Juicy brownies and juicy popsiclesMy Profile

    • I love Gordon Ramsay too. He’s a really cool guy and not the ass he is on tv at times. I wanted to watch his India trip show, haven’t had a chance yet.

  2. Congratulations, dearest friend, on your two successful years of your blog. As I have told you numerous times, your blogs are always so interesting and well written….and the recipes are so delicious! Those eclairs look so good…..wish I was closer to try one! That is interesting also that your giveaway book is Gordon Ramsey….as you know, I had the pleasure of seeing him when he opened his restaurant in Las Vegas last month. I look forward to all of your upcoming recipes and stories! Keep up the amazing job

    • Thank you Tammi. Your support means the world to me as does our friendship. I had picked Gordan Ramsay as my giveaway even before you mentioned you saw him, after that it was even cooler!

  3. Happy 2 Years Old to your blog! Yay! That’s a nice accomplishment. 🙂 Your eclairs are so pretty. So perfect for this celebration and Valentine’s day…great idea to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. hehehe…

    What a great way to celebrate with a giveaway. Thank you in advance. A little bit about me. I was born and raise in Hong Kong, living in Sunny California with my family and I married my junior high school classmate. 🙂 I cook Chinese dishes at least 5 days a week, but seems to blog about western or fusion recipes a lot more often on my blog than Chinese recipes. hehe….I’ll keep it short before you fall asleep.

    amy [at] utry [dot] it
    Amy Tong recently posted..Matcha Shortbread Cookies (抹茶酥餅)for Chinese New Year 恭喜發財!My Profile

    • Thanks Amy and thank you for telling me something about yourself. Loved your story.I too cook a lot of Indian at home and yet blog about Western stuff. Funny!

  4. Congratulations on two years of blogging! Its great achievement! Nazneen, I am one of that person who finds it really difficult to maintain the blog, the biggest reason is my zero participation in social media networks.
    Your chocolate eclair’s really look lovely with candy decorations.
    Balvinder recently posted..Kadai Jhinga With HarissaMy Profile

    • I agree with you Balvinder, unless you are active on social sites, it’s impossible to get your blog going. It’s harder and harder these days. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a kind comment. I appreciate it.

    • Thank you Karen! I have can struggle with 3 other languages besides English….and it really is a struggle but I can get my point across I think!

  5. You’ve outdone yourself Nazneen. Yum! Drool…
    Love your blog and congrats on 2 years 😀

  6. Ok so I just read the “what to do” in order to win the giveaway and I have a lot to say actually. First of all I would like to tell you that everything that I had ever tasted from you was “D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S”. Secondly, your style of writing attracts me very much, because I like that you write everything properly and not abbreviations like everyone is doing nowadays, not to exclude myself, I usually write very improperly but I dislike it. Also, I would like to tell you that I have admired you since I first saw you, I like your way to speaking and your way of handling things and I was always curious to know your story, like the popular where-are-you -from question and where is your hubby from. You are an interesting person indeed with so many backgrounds. I’m glad you answered this question here, because I guess I am too shy to ask anyone any personal questions.

    A little bit about myself, although you might already know that, I don’t know:
    – I am from Egypt, have been born and brought up there. I traveled to Canada when I was 23 years old for my masters, and I wasn’t married back then. I got married 6 months later but still lived for 1 more year in Toronto, Ca alone 🙁 And then I joined my hubby here in Boulder Co in Fall 2009 and ever since I have been living here with a few visits to Egypt. I am longing to go back to Egypt and live there insha’Allah. I am currently pursuing my phd at CU. Nothing else interesting about my life to share 🙂 except for Bilal of course whom I guess you know all about already.

    I guess if my hubby knew I wrote all this info on a blog on the internet he’ll kill me 😀 hahaha

    No one can beat my comment I believe.

    I love you
    -Yasmin

  7. Ohmygosh,these look delicious! You are amazing! Four kids and keeping up a beautiful blog for two years.

  8. Congratulations on the milestone! it is a great achievement indeed
    My blog turns two on the 16th :)and I started it for almost the same reasons you did
    Loved learning a little more about you Nazneen. I wish I was fluent in every language too! I think each language you learn opens up a whole new world to you.
    The eclairs look beautiful, love the pink hue you used
    Sawsan @chef in disguise recently posted..Vegan pancakes (Secret recipe club)My Profile

    • Thank you Sawsan for your sweet words. I look forward to celebrating with you on the 16th! You have done an amazing job with you blog.xx

    • Oh your ponytails would love them, especially the decorating part. They aren’t so difficult…maybe you can do pink profiteroles?

  9. Congratulations Nazneen on your second anniversary. What a terrific achievement! And your eclairs are just gorgeous. I think I’m following you on all your social media platforms. What a great giveaway; I’m amazed at how I don’t already have a copy of any of Gordon Ramsay’s cookbooks. And I can’t believe your identity – born in the Middle East, educated in London, living in the US and married to an American. My own history is boring by comparison xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..Caribbean Christmas Cake and…An AutopsyMy Profile

    • Thanks Charlie, but I disagree, you may not have such a varied history but your stories are amazing and worth telling. I love your stories. xx

  10. Congratulations, I’ve always enjoyed your blog and your long distance friendship. Long may both last. Great picture, now I must hunt it down on your Pinterest account and repin! Congratulations GG xx
    Glamorous Glutton recently posted..Convent EggsMy Profile