post61 // open this valentine! (psssst, it’s filled with chocolate)


heavenly chocolate cake douceur chocolat

hellooooo! greetings from my chocolate-filled valentine! since i’m far away from many friends and loved ones on this valentine’s day 2018, i’ve decided to send you a virtual valentine with chocolate creations like the stuff of dreams.

this valentine’s day landed perfectly in the middle of my pastry trimester, which is focused on chocolate work. well done, le cordon bleu scheduling! from chocolate glazes to tempered chocolate to chocolate mousse to chocolate crunch, i’ve been working with a lot (!!) of chocolate this trimester. talk about keeping my uniform supremely white while doing it — the toughest job of them all.

below you can find four chocolately creations that i’ve made in my pastry classes. i’ve listed their core components so that you (yes, you!) can go and make one for yourself!

dark chocolate choux pastry choux au chocolat noir 



this chocolate choux pastry is filled with chocolate pastry cream and a crispy praline insert. outside, you see a chocolate crunch topping, finished with a dark chocolate glaze.

to get started, check out this recipe for chocolate choux pastry. you’ll quickly see how easy it is!

chocolates (muscadine, praline) chocolats (muscadine, praliné)


these two types of chocolates are called pralines (the square) and muscadines (the baton). the muscadine is filled with a creamy praline, chocolate, cointreau paste while the praline is filled with a simple chocolate and praline paste. i dipped both in tempered chocolate and rolled the muscadine in icing sugar directly after. to make the “professional” decoration on top, simply use a fork to lightly mark the chocolate 10-20 seconds after dipping, just before the chocolate has set.

don’t have space or a big marble slab to temper chocolate at home? follow this guide for a quick microwave-tempering! thermometer required.

heavenly chocolate cake douceur chocolat



this three-tier cake is quite the showstopper. the base is a hazelnut dacquoise filled with a praline crunch paste, topped with two layers of chocolate mousse and tempered chocolate rounds. the decoration on top was made with cookie cutters and tempered chocolate.

never heard of a dacquoise? it’s a cake base that’s very popular here in france, made from egg whites and nuts. bonus: it’s gluten free! start this cake by making your first dacquoise with food network’s recipe.

opera opéra


of all the pastries seen here, you may be most familiar with the opera cake, a parisian classic! this cake alternates between layers of biscuit sponge and coffee buttercream, with a layer of chocolate ganache smack in the middle. on top is a chocolate glaze and the traditional opera writing (my first attempt at writing on cakes!).

you might be able to find this one in a high-end french bakery. but if not, Joe Pastry blog has a great tutorial that matches the authenticity of my recipe from cordon bleu.

just in case you’re wondering

while i’d love to be sharing all my cordon bleu recipes with you, they’re under copywrite. *but* i look forward to testing many of them once i’m out of school and sharing renditions that can be cooked in your home oven. stay tuned on this for next year!

in this week’s other stuff !

a hot new restaurant i’ll be trying in paris this weekend. reviews have been a+++++

books as decor is popping up everywhere (even in my house here in paris!). definitely digging this style trend

wardrobe goals

andddd that’s all for this week, folks! wishing you a very lovely valentine’s day!💖



post22 // the unfailing and nausEating union of chocolate and peanut butter takes the form of a whoopie pie


Let’s launch our minds back to a favorite childhood film of mine, The Parent Trap. I can imagine that when my mom reads said movie title, she will remember the 1960s film where two campers discover their twin identities and plot to reunite their divorce-stricken parents. While the key blocks of the plot remain unchanging, I come from a different age where The Parent Trap means a pre-house arrest Lindsay Lohan playing each twin, a dazzling love between Elizabeth James and Nick Parker, credits running as “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” blares from the television, and most importantly, a beginning to my obsession with eating chocolate and peanut butter in symphonic unison. I don’t know many girls my age who could forget the following scene:

Hallie: [takes out a box of Oreos] Want one?

Annie: Oh, sure, I love Oreos. At home, I eat them with… I eat them with peanut butter.

Hallie: You do? That is so weird.

[takes out a jar of peanut butter]

Hallie: So do I!

Annie: You’re kidding! Most people find that totally disgusting.

Hallie: I know, I don’t get it.

Annie: Me either.

I don’t get it either Hallie and Annie. Instead, I adore the peanut butter and chocolate combination, so much so, that I couldn’t resist making these ever-scrumptious chocolate peanut butter whoopie pies, adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe that dates back to her 2005 Holiday Cookies segment. As part of Bakedby2Kates, my friend Kate and I rotate who picks the recipe for each week. As my second pick, I prolonged my calorie-popping dessert choices with these two rounded chocolate cookies smushed together by a spoonful of fluffy peanut butter buttercream. The whoopie pies were nauseatingly rich but unbelievably delicious. One was definitely enough but that didn’t stop some of our friends from enjoying a second helping.

Baking the cookies was simple enough. Although we didn’t have an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, our hand-mixing of the batter—using a wooden spoon—worked perfectly well. Other changes we made to Martha’s recipe were using a store-bought vanilla buttercream mixed in a 1:1 ratio with spoonfuls of creamy peanut butter (Betty Crocker and Jif respectively), replacing our parchment paper deficiency with buttering the cookie pan, and microwaving the bittersweet chocolate in lieu of heating it on the stove. Oh yeah, and we ate the pies less than ten minutes after piping on the spiral chocolate pattern!

If you had the chance to taste one of these whoopie pies, I hope you enjoyed every bite! If not, I suggest giving this recipe a try, chocolate and peanut butter can never fail you.

Adapted from Martha Stewart, Holiday Cookies 2005:

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Peanut Butter Buttercream *we combined a store-brand vanilla buttercream with creamy peanut butter at a 1:1 ratio
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl; set aside. *You can butter the baking sheets if you don’t have parchment paper

2. Add butter, shortening, and sugars to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; cream on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla; beat until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture. Beat together, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. *You can use a wooden spoon to mix if you don’t have an electric mixer

3. Drop 12 slightly rounded tablespoons of batter 2 inches apart on each baking sheet. Use a metal spoon to slightly flatten the cookie dough into rounder circles. Bake the cookies in the upper and lower thirds of over, 10 minutes; switch the positions of the baking sheets, and rotate each one. Continue baking until the cookies spring back to the touch, 2 to 4 minutes more.

4. Remove from over; let cookies cool on baking sheets, 10 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a wire rack; let cool completely. Meanwhile, line a cooled baking sheet with a new piece of parchment; repeat process with remaining batter.

5. Spread 1 scant tablespoon buttercream on flat sides of half the cookies. Top each with one of the remaining cookies, flat side down, and gently press together. Transfer pies to a tray. *We gave our pies a little more buttercream in the middle, I’d suggest it!

6. Melt half the chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat; add remaining chocolate, and stir until melted and smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip (Ateco #2 or #3) or a small parchment cone. Pipe chocolate in a spiral pattern on top of each pie. Let chocolate set before serving, about 1 hour.