I love my Brad! He is not only incredibly handsome, but he is also so smart, clever, talented, hard working, loyal, honest, sweet and kind. I could go on.
Brad is currently in his last year of his Mechanical Engineering Degree and also working full time. He gets up at 4:50 am every morning to go to the gym 5 days a week, goes to school and work all day long, only to come home and hit the books to study all night. In between he makes time for me and takes time to be the BEST daddy in the world. The most amazing part is that even with his heavy and stressful load he never complains and always puts 110% into everything he does. This past Saturday as part of his degree, he had to take an 8 hour long test. It is one of those nasty tests that you have to pay a fortune to take and if you don't pass - you don't graduate. He had been sick all week and still wasn't feeling great on Saturday but again not once did I hear him complain about the stressful task ahead. I am a VERY lucky girl!
All that being said, I wanted to make sure that when he got home he had a delicious dinner and a yummy sweet treat waiting for him. For dinner I made meatloaf (one of his faves) with scalloped potatoes and green beans. For his treat I made his absolute favorite- Chocolate Éclairs. I could have gone and bought some, but I wanted these to be special. He deserves to be spoiled!
I knew that Chocolate Éclairs were his favorite and had been wanting to make them for him for some time but they always looked like they would be difficult to make and I feared that I would butcher them. This weekend I mustered up the courage and boy was I glad. Brad said they were "amazing" which thrilled me. The recipe made quite a few and while I wanted to spoil him, I didn't exactly want him eating all 20 chocolate éclairs on his own either. Again I set out and delivered some to family and friends. Everyone raved about them and my good friend Sue gave them a 5 out of 5. The best part- I was amazed at just how easy these were to make.
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
In a large saucepan, bring water, butter and salt to a boil over medium heat. Add flour all at one; stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until smooth and shiny.
Insert a 3/4-in. round tip into a pastry bag or heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; add batter. Pipe into strips (about 3 1/2 in. long) 3 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack. Poke a whole in one end of each pastry with a straw or chopstick, this hole will be used to add the filling; cool.
1 large box instant vanilla pudding (or can use other flavor if desired)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
In a large bowl, combine pudding and whipping cream. Mix together by hand using a wire whisk. Mix well to ensure a smooth mix. When the pudding starts to set, it is finished and needs to be used immediately. Place filling into a large zip lock bag of pastry bag. Squeeze out extra air and seal the top. If using zip lock bag, cut a hole, to fit into the hole in the pastry, in one corner of the bag. Pipe filling into each pastry shell. (This filling with thicken as you chill the pastries)
4 squares of semi sweet chocolate or 4 ounces semi sweet chips
3 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. hot water
In a 1 qt. microwave safe dish, cook chocolate and butter in the microwave on high for 1 to 1/2 minutes, stirring after each 30 seconds until melted and smooth. Whisk in powdered sugar and hot water until smooth. (if needed can add more hot water to reach desired consistency, I never do) Using a regular kitchen spoon, use one spoon full of glaze for each pastry. Spoon onto pastry and spread with the back of the spoon. Refrigerate pastries until ready to serve, I chill for at least 1 hour