When I went to Las Vegas a few weeks ago, I made a point of visiting the famous Bouchon Bakery.
It’s located on the bottom floor of the Venetian on The Strip — it took quite a bit of wandering and getting lost in a labyrinth of hallways to find it, but was well worth the journey!
I don’t know if the bakery makes everything on site or what (it didn’t look very big from the outside…), but they had it all — macaroons, eclairs, croissants, mousse cups, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, breakfast pastries, yum!
Deciding what to try was really difficult — I knew that I had friends back in the hotel room that could help me eat anything I bought, but it’s always better to exercise a little self control and conserve money, too.
In the end I spent nearly $30 on goodies and coffee and booked it back to the seedy hotel my friends and I were staying at so that we could dig in to my haul!
What a feast it was!
Though out of all the baked goods I tried that morning, only two were particularly delicious: one was the twice-baked apple cobbler croissant that tasted just like apple pie! Mmm!
And the other delectable morsel I tried that morning was the Bouchon Bakery’s signature sweet: the chocolate bouchon — moist and sweet and oh-so-fudgy!
Although “bouchon” means “cork” in French, you won’t find this treat in any bakery in France — it’s a purely American invention by a purely American chef named Thomas Keller.
Of course, just because the bouchon isn’t authentically French, that doesn’t necessarily make it any less worth of the prestige of French baking — I was so smitten with its taste that I even bought a bouchon mold from Williams-Sonoma and tried to make my own batch of these delicious little corks (but, in a pinch, I think a mini-muffin tin would work just as well).
*adapted from Thomas Keller’s “Bouchon” cookbook
- 3/4 cup cake flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon finely ground espresso
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons chocolate or creme liqueur
- 1 & 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 6 ounces (about 1 & 1/4 cups) dark chocolate, chopped to chip-size
- icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°F (or 175°C). Grease a silicone bouchon mold.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, espresso, and salt together in one bowl. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until pale and thick — this step is essential! Make certain that all the sugar is dissolved before beating in the vanilla extract and chocolate liqueur.
Next, add the flour + cocoa mixture and the melted butter to the eggs + sugar mixture in three alternating additions, starting with the flour.
Fold in the chopped chocolate.
Using a piping bag with a large tip, pipe the batter into the bouchon molds, filling just about 3/4 of the way full.
Place in the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
Allow your bouchon to cool completely before dusting with icing sugar and serving.
For the record, I tried a bouchon hot from the oven and then I tried a bouchon at room temperature, and it actually tasted much better at room temperature!
You could also add other toppings to the bouchon if you want.
Raspberry compote or vanilla ice cream would be nice, or you could whip up some quick dulce de leche sauce and use fleur de sel to make salted-caramel bouchon! Yum!