Baking Chouquettes

About two months ago, I wrote about a small neighborhood bakery on Grand Avenue in Oakland called La Parisienne. This was the bakery that introduced me to chouquettes. I thought to myself, if I could get a hold of pearl sugar, I would consider making these.  
My colleague and I were talking about pearl sugar for Belgium waffles and when she decided to order some from Amazon, I asked her to order a box for me as well.  

My niece came over and I gathered all the ingredients to make chouquettes. We would use a recipe from David Lebowitz.  The cool thing is that aside from the pearl sugar, you can probably find all other ingredients in your pantry or fridge.  


Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 oz of unsweetened butter
  • 4 eggs (save 1 yolk for glaze)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp milk (for glaze)
  • Pearl sugar (for topping)

In a saucepan, melt the butter, water, salt, and granulated sugar over medium. Once melted, remove from heat and add the flour to the pan. Place the pan back over medium heat and stir until it is smooth and forms a soft dough.  
Place the dough into a large bowl and wait a few minutes before beating the eggs in one at a time. The fourth egg should be separated. Add the egg white into the mixture and place the one egg yolk into a small bowl for later use. Mix thoroughly for about five minutes.  
Pour dough into a Ziploc bag. Cut about a quarter inch off the corner of the bag and start piping 1 1/2 inch dollops onto a parchment lined sheet.
Now it’s time to make the glaze. Add a tablespoon of half and half to the egg yolk that you saved earlier. Brush the top of each pastry dollop with the glaze and then top generously with pearl sugar.
Place the sheet in an oven that has already been preheated to 425 degrees. They take about 25 minutes to cook, but check your oven after the first fifteen minutes and then every five minutes thereafter. If it is already getting dark, turn the oven down to 375 degrees. I turned my oven down at 20 minutes.
That’s it! Pretty simple, right? They make great snacks. For a dessert, I would recommend piping in some fresh whipped cream with a side of sliced strawberries. Yum!

Look No Further to Find a Gem in Berkeley

 UC Berkeley students are pretty lucky because they are only a few blocks away from Little Gem Belgian Waffles. I heard about this place when it opened up last November for a soft opening, but only recently paid a visit. I took a friend with me who I consider my “Belgian Waffle” expert because she has spent time in Belgium. The type of waffle that Little Gem makes is from the City of Liege. The Liege waffle is unique because it uses a brioche-based dough and pearl sugar. The young owners learned to make the Liege waffles right outside of Brussels.  
Together my friend and I ended up eating six waffles, but we ordered them two at a time so we could enjoy them while they were fresh out of the waffle iron. My friend was adamant about ordering the LG Signature Belgian Liege Waffle, which is the plain one. I agreed because with this waffle, you could really examine the taste and consistency. We also had the Nutella waffle that was topped with the hazelnut spread. I wanted the latter waffle with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but they ran out so I got a scoop of strawberry ice cream on the side. Little Gem carries Three Twins and Strauss ice cream which are local ice creams and some of my favorites.    

Our second set of waffles were the TCHO organic milk chocolate and the Churroffles. TCHO is a Berkeley based award winning chocolate maker. The Churroffles, a mashup of a churro and a waffle, is their #1 best seller. After the waffle is cooked, it is drowned in cinnamon sugar.    

We went savory for our last set of waffles. We ordered the bacon with organic maple glaze and the garlic cheese. The flavors were good, but they were my least favorite. The bacon bits tasted a little faux and I didn’t like how the cheese didn’t melt.  

My Belgian waffle expert thought they were the best Liege waffles she has had outside Belgium. I agreed that the waffles were great. They had a nice glaze on the surface and the texture was crispy on the outside with a chewy center. It’s a matter of preference as far as toppings. I prefer the simple signature waffle. Once strawberries are in season, I would definitely order the signature waffle with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some strawberries on top to create a wonderful dessert.