The only thing better than a good recipe? When something’s so easy to make that you don’t even need one. Welcome to It’s That Simple, a column where we talk you through the process of making the dishes and drinks we can make with our eyes closed.
It’s a sign of the times that out of all of the delicious-sounding recipes in Nadiya Hussain’s new book, Time to Eat—like Sticky Coconut Rice with Tempered Pineapple and Pizza Parathas (OMG) and Speculoos Cookie Sheet Cake—I immediately gravitated toward the simplest one of all. Nadiya’s Choc Bar Puffs consist of three ingredients, all of which are easily kept on hand (frozen puff pastry, chocolate bars, one egg), and require almost no equipment. Just flaky, buttery dough encasing melted chocolate, they’re maximum comfort for minimum effort, which is sort of the premise of Nadiya’s whole book, as well as her wonderful Netflix show of the same name.
And while it would be dishonest to say that the era of project cooking has ended for me (in a fit of election-related anxiety, I made pizza, enchiladas, vareniki, and anpan over the course of one week), I can say that preparing complicated recipes, and then cleaning up the aftermath, has lost its glow. I’ve learned that just because I have no plans on Friday night (not this one, not the next one, forever and ever, amen) and can, theoretically, make croissants, that doesn’t mean I should make croissants. But the Choc Bar Puffs? They take an hour, max, and are as satisfying and impressive as anything I could bake entirely from scratch.
To make them, start by defrosting two sheets of puff pastry (from one box of Pepperidge Farm or two of Dufour). I never remember to defrost puff pastry in the fridge overnight, so I just use the shortcut in this Spinach and Feta Tarte Soleil recipe: Put it on a baking sheet and watch it carefully.
Meanwhile, break or slice eight chocolate bars in half crosswise so that you have 16 shorter pieces. The choice of chocolate is up to you, but you’ll want to make sure the bar is plain (not chock-full of nuts and other add-ins), meltable, and made from ethically harvested beans. (FWIW, I like Guittard, Valrhona, and Alter Eco.) Crack an egg into a bowl and whisk it to make an egg wash.