If you’re anything like me, you are taking a look at these pretty little cream puffs and thinking, “Yum, but way too much work.” The truth is you were half correct in your thinking. They are definitely yum but they are actually fairly easy, with a very short list of ingredients that you likely have in the house.
These cream puffs have a perfectly crispy outer shell yet are still slightly chewy and egg-y and the filling, oh. my. We made two filling versions, one white and fluffy vanilla whipped cream that felt like clouds of sweetness when you bit into it and the other, with dark, dark Dagoba chocolate which tasted like a little bit of delicious naughtiness.
When my daughter had the hankering to bake, we knew we wanted something small, delicate and not so rich and heavy on that fairly oppressive summer day. Well, these guys hit the mark exactly and their light and airy insides and beautifully nondescript outer shell, made for such a sweet snack as she and her cousins sat around my parents’ table, spooning every bit of cream into their mouths, eyes sparkling with delight.
So, as usual, I try to be right up front with you guys, and therefore I am going to tell it to you straight…if you are capable of whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookies on any given day or a fresh whipped cream to top a dessert with, then you are fully capable of creating these company worthy, little cream puffs.
The batter is very forgiving as it bakes and scooping the mounds of dough onto the cookie sheet was easy peasy and despite me being an anti-perfectionist, they turned out very pretty and definitely worthy of anyone’s table. I hope you do get a chance to make these because really nothing is better in the world than sitting down with someone for a chat and a cream puff. Wouldn’t you agree?
Chocolate and Vanilla Cream Puffs +
Geni’s very favorite bittersweet chocolate sauce
This recipe was taken verbatim from King Arthur Flour’s site.
Makes about 12 small cream puffs
1 cup water
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
4 large eggs
Whipped Cream Filling
Recipe from King Arthur Flour
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/8 – 1/4 cup granulated sugar, or to taste (I like mine less sweet but it does call for 1/4 c.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Whipped cream Filling
1 pint heavy whipping cream
3/4 c. melted semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips work fine to make it easy)
Preheat the oven to 425°Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium saucepan over medium to medium-high heat, combine the water, butter, and salt. Heat until the butter has melted, and bring to a rolling boil. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously.
Return the pan to the burner and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until the mixture smooths out and follows the spoon around the pan; this should take less than a minute.
Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes. It’ll still feel hot, but you should be able to hold a finger in it for a few seconds. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the temperature should be below 125°F.
Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or use your hand beaters, and beat in the eggs one at a time; it may look curdled at first, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth. Beat for at least 2 minutes after adding the last egg.
Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop, drop the thick batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 3- to 4-tablespoon mounds. The mounds should be about 3″ apart, to leave enough room for the cream puffs to expand. Bake the pastries for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until pastries are a medium golden brown. Don’t open the oven door while the pastries are baking.
Place them on a rack to cool. When they’re cool enough to handle, split each in half to make top and bottom pieces; splitting and exposing the centers to air will help keep them from becoming soggy.
Make the cream puff fillings: Whip your pint of whipped cream with either a stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk or with hand beaters. Start on a low speed and slowly increase as it begins to thicken. As it thickens, you can whip it on a high speed. Whip until soft peaks form. For the vanilla whipped cream, simply add the sugar, a little at a time as the mixer continues to work and then add the vanilla. Stop the mixer when the whipped cream forms stiff peaks. This means that when you lift your beater the peak stays firmly in the air and does not wilt.
For the chocolate filling, while the pint of whipped cream is being beaten by the mixer, melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute in the microwave on high and then stir. Repeat the process in 30 second intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool at least five minutes before incorporating into the whipped cream. Once the whipped cream has reached stiff peaks, slowly fold in the chocolate until it is amply combined.
To fill the cream puffs, split open the cream puffs with a serrated knife and either dollop the fillings in OR use a pastry bag fitted with a LARGE star tip or circle tip and pipe the cream onto the bottom of the cream puff. Place the top on and dust with powdered sugar.
If you are in the mood to be totally devilish, make the bittersweet chocolate sauce and drizzle it over the top. OH. MY. Seriously good eats.
Bonus recipe! Geni’s very favorite bittersweet chocolate sauce
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate (the solid kind…use the best you can get your hands on)
1/2 c. water
2 T. unsalted butter
2/3 c. sugar
1 t. ground instant espresso powder
1/4 t. salt
To make the sauce: Put the water and chocolate in a medium sauce pan and turn on medium and then medium high as the chocolate starts to melt, stirring occassionally. Once the chocolate is melted, add the butter and stir. Add the sugar, espresso and salt and stir until it is a thick but pourable consistency. If it is too thick, add a tablespoon more of water and stir (you can add a tablespoon of water at a time until it is the consistency you desire). Take off of the heat and pour into a serving pitcher and drizzle over cream puffs.