Petits Pains Au Lait Au Chocolat…and Pizza

Last weekend, Caleb, Sadie and I went over to our friend Cecile’s home, where we spent the afternoon and evening baking pain au chocolat and pizza with she and her children, Eva and Hugo. It was a magical and memorable visit.

Eva and Caleb originally met in the early days of preschool and are close friends to this day. Eva is now attending Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley, where she learned the ‘petits pains au lait au chocolat’ recipe. She was so eager to teach it to Caleb, they had us over for a baking date.

Cecile (who hails from France) and kiddos had prepared the dough the night before and when we arrived, all we had to do was knead, add chocolate, eat chocolate, and bake. Oh, and have fun! We also made an easy pancetta and cheese pizza from scratch…with a little help from TJ’s pre-made dough.

Eating the pizza for dinner, then the chocolate bread for dessert, was the best part. There’s nothing like an afternoon spent with good friends, enjoying bread and chocolate, fresh-baked pizza, and stinky cheese with baguette.

This short video really tells the story of our special afternoon spent together. Apprécier le film (with volume)!

Recipe: Petits Pains Au Lait Au Chocolat

Caleb’s Birthday Cake

We celebrated Caleb’s 5th birthday this weekend with a trailer-trash themed potluck gathering. Don’t ask. In preparing for this event, Caleb and I made his birthday cake on Saturday morning and it was a huge hit that evening. Now, I enjoy sharing my recipes with others, but this is one that I’m almost embarrassed to give out. It’s an amazing cake recipe and someone inevitably asks for it (then thanks me years later because they’re still baking it and receiving rave reviews), it’s just not entirely from scratch. Perfect trailer-trash fare, it includes sour cream, cake mix, chocolate pudding, and chocolate chips.

Standing at my side at the kitchen table, Caleb carefully added each ingredient to the mixing bowl and stirred until smooth. We then transferred the mix, which we had doubled, into two buttered lasagna pans and placed in the oven. Almost an hour later, our home smelled like a chocolate factory and we were all excited to enjoy the cake, but had to delay our satisfaction until evening.

A small group of Caleb’s friends and their families began gathering around 5pm, each arriving with a white-trash-errific dish. Soon, our table was covered with Velveeta-stuffed pigs-in-a-blanket, deviled eggs, macaroni and cheese done two ways, tuna noodle casserole, green bean casserole, vegetarian chili, quiche (we had a French friend in our midst who insisted that because she wasn’t an American, she was exempt from cooking “white-trash” – this being fine with us as the quiche was terrific, if not slightly out-of-place), ambrosia salad, and dinner rolls.

After a much-enjoyed dinner, our stomachs felt like lead weights, but despite that, the kids were running circles around the house and enjoying themselves in the basement play space. Once I had a chance to light the candles on the special cake that Caleb and I had made together, we gathered everyone around and sang to our soon-to-be five-year-old (Nov. 15). After blowing out his candles, Caleb was so proud to dig his fork into his big slice of cake, and then silently enjoyed each bite. I was so proud to have made it with him and enjoyed it with our guests.

Happy (almost) 5th Birthday Caleb!

White-Trash Chocolate Cake (passed on to me by my sister, Niki)

4 eggs

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup oil

1/2 cup sour cream

1 package chocolate pudding

1 box chocolate cake mix

1/2 bag semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven at 350F. Beat eggs, then fold all ingredients together. Pour into baking pan. Bake 45 minutes – 1hr. Toothpick should come out clean. Makes great cupcakes, but would need less oven time. Add your favorite frosting – we used Trader Joe’s boxed chocolate frosting. This cake also works without frosting – just bake in a bundt pan, then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Enjoy!