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Cream puffs are just the perfect little snack. Not too big, not heavy, fillable with whatever your brain can come up with. They can be dipped in chocolate or drizzled with caramel…or both 🙂 . They can have their little tops popped off and be filled that way or they can be filled through a hole using a pastry bag (or a baggie). And they are remarkably simple. Five simple ingredients give you about 50 little pockets of snack happiness.
- 7 TB unsalted butter
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup flour
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- pinch of salt
Place butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is mostly melted, add the water and bring to a simmer, then add the flour and salt.
With the pot still on the heat, stir quickly with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and start forming a ball. This will take a minute or so.
Remove from the heat and let it cool down at least 10 minutes – you will be adding in the eggs and you don’t want to cook them. I had to let mine cool 10 minutes, stir it, and let it sit another 10 minutes.
Stir in the eggs, one at a time. Make sure each one is completely combined before adding the next one. Don’t be tempted to sort of mix….these take a little muscle, but will eventually mix in completely. There should be no sign of there being an egg in there when it’s mixed correctly.
Heat the oven to 390F. Find a few cookie/baking sheets. Line with parchment paper and load up a pastry bag or a plastic bag with the dough and pipe 2 teaspoons worth worth of dough into blobs about 2 inches apart (they don’t spread). It is recommended you spray or oil your pan, then put the parchment paper down over that. It helps hold the parchment paper in place while you’re piping. Since my oven is touchy, I didn’t oil or spray – I didn’t want to give it any incentive to burn anything.
I don’t have a pastry bag so I just used a medium freezer bag, loaded all of the dough into it and cut one corner of the baggie off. Probably about ½ an inch up the side. You could also spoon the dough onto your pans if you have to. The lack of a pastry bag or a plastic baggie should not impede your quest to make and eat cream puffs. If you do use a spoon, get a small bowl of water to have near by because you will probably need to scrape the dough off the spoon with your finger or another spoon. Since the dough is very sticky, you’ll need to use the water to release it.
When you’re done a pan worth, wet your finger and push down any peaks….trust me, wet your finger and do this…the dough is sticky (you won’t need to do this step if you used a spoon to drop the dough).
Bake for 18 minutes, turning around at the halfway point. If you are going to poke holes in these so you can pipe filling in, now is the time. Then put back in the oven for another 5 minutes. If not putting holes in them, just bake for another 5 minutes.
One of the recipes I found for these wanted the oven to be heated to 420F, then brought down to 350F, but, as we’ve established, my oven doesn’t do +400F very well and I didn’t have the heart to burn anything, so I just went with 390F all the way and it worked beautifully.
I did use parchment paper and I highly recommend doing so for everyone who makes these. They are just that much more cooperative on parchment paper.
Let them cool and fill them with whipped cream or custard or berries or lime cheesecake filling.
These can be frozen, filled or not. They can be reheated to get the crispiness back – put unfilled puffs in the oven at 350F for a couple minutes.