Thursday, November 25, 2010

Fancy Gems Mini Choux

I'M BAAACKK!!! Did'ya miss me??? Of course you did :P

After an amazing 3 weeks in KL that I spent shopping, eating and getting pampered once my brother's wedding was over, I was so ready to get back in the kitchen and start baking. So much so that on my last night in KL I actually dreamt about baking. And what did I dream about? Fancy Gem Biscuits. You may or may not have had these before, but here's a picture of them. Little biscuits topped with a sploge of brightly coloured royal icing. I have so many childhood memories of eating bags of these little sweet cookies, though inevitably you end up giving up on eating the biscuit part and just bite off the icing. I still see them sold at Cookie Man stores and I'm always tempted to buy a bag even though I know it's just like eating a bag of sugar.
Since I've never been a huge fan of the biscuit part of Fancy Gems, I decided to mix it up a little and bake some super tiny mini choux pastries instead. I know I've said I'm not a huge fan of eating choux pastry, but these little ones are the perfect replacement for the biscuits in Fancy Gems, they're light and buttery and not dry like the biscuits. And oh so cute as they puff up in the oven. So here are my Fancy Gems Mini Choux Pastries!
There's something about the brightly coloured icing rosettes that makes me happy. And you can never have too much icing, which is why I couldn't resist baking a few full-sized choux pastries to make some giant fancy gems. Wheeee!!! Check it out:
So much icing....oh yeah. So anyway, I used the most reliable choux pastry recipe I've come across so far, from the Daring Baker's Challenge way back in May for my Cupcake Croquembouche. I just piped really tiny rounds of batter and reduced the baking time and it worked perfectly. So if you wanna try your own fancy gems at home, this is a great simple recipe and you don't end up with dry, powdery biscuits that you don't want to eat. I can't stop popping these little babies in my mouth by the handful!
Fancy Gem Mini Choux Pastries (NOT a recipe for the Fancy Gem Biscuits)
(adapted from this recipe, makes approximately 100 mini choux)
88 ml water
3 tbsp (43 g) unsalted butter
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup (63 g) all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
For egg wash: 1 egg and pinch of salt

For Royal Icing: (you may need to make several batches of this, I made 2)
1 egg whites
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Pre-heat oven to 425◦F/220◦C degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. At boil, remove from heat and sift in the flour, stirring to combine completely.
Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon for 1 minute to cool slightly. Add 1 egg. The batter will appear loose and shiny. As you stir, the batter will become dry-looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes. It is at this point that you will add in the next egg and stir until combined.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted. Pipe very small circles of batter, about 1/4 tsp sized and a spaced a few centimeters apart on the baking sheets. Choux should be about 1cm x 1cm. Using a clean finger dipped in hot water, gently press down on any tips that have formed on the top of choux when piping. You want them to retain their ball shape, but be smoothly curved on top. Brush tops with egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with pinch of salt). Bake the choux at 425◦F/220◦C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 7 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degrees and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 10-15 minutes more. Keep an eye on them as the bottoms may start to burn. Remove to a rack and cool. Can be stored in a airtight box overnight.

To prepare the royal icing, beat eggwhite in a clean mixing bowl until it reaches soft peaks. Add cream of tartar and then gradually sift icing sugar into egg whites. Beat until mixture is shiny and fluffy and just holds its shape. Add any desired food colouring at this point, then place in piping bags (I recommend disposable ones for this part), and pipe rosettes on the top of the mini choux pastries. Leave on a rack to set for about half an hour. Can be stored in an airtight box overnight.
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  1. ahaha i love fancy gems and the icing is the best part! i always buy these when i visit the pasar malam near my grandma's house!!

    if only you blogged them a few days earlier, i would have made them yesterday :P

  2. These are seriously too adorable to eat! I remember those little biscuits but I never liked them. Gimme your version anyday! Especially with a big ol' bowl of creme patissiere to dip them in hehehe.

  3. How cute!!! These are just gorgeous! What a great idea to use the choux pastry instead of biscuit. No more cookie man for me :)

  4. che bellissimissimi! colorati, questo sono da uno tira l´altro! grazie per la ricetta!!!!

  5. Oh my I remember these! And I like the choux twist to yours. :)

  6. little gems are perfect for little ninjas <3 and perfect for causing little heartattacks of happiness <3333

  7. too cute! I used to eat these as a kid and I never really liked the biscuit bit either, I just liked all the pretty colours!

  8. these look so good! i love the idea of the bite size :)

  9. Welcome BACK!!! From the FB pics looks like you've had a blast! :) ... I remember those!! awww but yours are wayyy cuter!!

  10. squeeee so cute im dying from cute overload! i never liked the biscuit part either and your choux substitute is brilliant! ahaha i want the giant one!

  11. aaaw my granddad used to buy these for me as a kid! i agree with suze, i much prefer the choux pastry over biscuit :P

  12. these were one my favourite things growing up! I always ate the icing first. Think I have to go grab myself a packet now!

  13. I ate these growing up!! I recognised them immediately when I saw the first photo... and yes, I too used to eat all the icing and try to palm of the biscuit part to other people :) They are sooo adorable!

  14. very cute!! I remember these cookies and used to only eat the icing and ignore the cookies. Haha good idea!

  15. i used to eat the icing off the fancy gems too! I bought a bag recently, and honestly, it was kind of disappointing, apparently I can't eat an entire bag of sugar in one sitting without getting sick anymore, haha!

  16. So cuteeeee! Brings me back to the past!!!

  17. I used to LOVE eating these growing up. Really reminds me of home! Love it. :)

  18. These are soooo cute! What a great the colors and that cake stand, too.

  19. They are perfect!! Mega win on the piping skills, as usual.

    Of course we missed you. You've been dreaming about baking while we've been crying ourselves to sleep in your absence.

  20. These are so adorable! So glad to have you back in the country and baking again, I missed you!! xxx

  21. Welcome back Steph. We missed your gorgeous sweet posts... glad to see you back full of renewed inspiration.

  22. So cute!! Love the shot of the giant one with the mini one :)) Yay... so glad to have you back!! xx

  23. these are gorgeous and brought back so many childhood memories. We had them at tea break in kindergarten everyday and I've always known them as the colourful belly button biscuits..... stunning photos by the way!

  24. So cute and adorable as usual and WBWBWB!

  25. Okay - I Confess, i still buy these cookies from cookie man! they are my fave! Great idea! and are there any left over??

  26. Oh I remember fancy gems but I agree, it was always more fun eating the icing - I think that's what attracted me to them as a kid. Love your version of them though =)

  27. Oooo.. I grew up eating these! I like the icing more than the cookie as well LOL.

  28. grub - they're so fun! aww too bad

    Karen @ Citrus and Candy - :D I contemplated making some creme pat but laziness won out

    Gourmet Getaway - yes i think i prefer the pastry to the biscuit now!

    colores - thanks

    leaf (the indolent cook) - thanks!

    the ninja - hahaha thank you <3

    Jacq - Yes, I was always attracted to super bright coloured food as a kid!

    Leah - bite size is always the best size :)

    the dainty baker - Thanks! :D

    chocolatesuze - Yeah the biscuit part is kinda crap lol. The giant one was made with you in mind!

    vxdollface - :) for sure!

    LimeCake - Same here!!

    Honey @ honeyandsoy - haha i would just end up with a mount of plain biscuits which would go in the bin!

    Swee San - Hahaha same here!

    Noelle - Yeah things like that are never as good as when you enjoyed them as a kid.

    Jun - Thanks so much!

    Su-yin - :) Me too. Thanks!

    Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets - Thanks! The stand is actually a jewellery stand from Urban Outfitters

    Conor @ Hold the Beef - Hehe thanks :)

    Lisa - Thank youuuu! xxx

    Trissa - Thanks Trissa!

    Betty @ The Hungry Girl - Hehe the giant one was so fun! Thanks babe

    baobabs - Thanks so much!

    • friX • - thanks!

    FFichiban - Thank youu!!

    Gianna - They are so fun aren't they! I had so many I had to throw some out :(

    Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! - Kids always love colourful icing :D Thanks!

    Jenn - :) Glad it's not just me!

  29. checking through some of the food blogs i follow, in search for cream puffs.. i'm so happy you had one, and the cutest ones at that. love your recipes, and super cute photos. can't wait to try these <3


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