Homemade Cream Puffs

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Homemade Cream Puffs
Happy Mother's Day!
I've been trying to hold back for quite some time now, but I guess it's finally time to share our good news :) We're having a little boy this September!!!
I'm sure that those of you who are frequent readers probably thought something was up. I have been busy with work and other projects, but I've also been lacking a sweet tooth lately. Crazy, huh?! 
This pregnancy has been really good to me so far- no morning sickness! That has been a huge blessing, especially because I work in a kitchen most of the time. I haven't had any weird cravings yet and I feel as good as I did before, just with a little person kicking, punching and tumbling in my tummy. It's been fun to feel him move- and yesterday Stephen felt his kicks for the first time, it was the perfect Mother's Day gift!

Anyway, I thought I'd share these homemade cream puffs with you today. They're easy to make and they look really elegant! I filled mine with homemade whipped cream and lightly dusted them with powdered sugar. I love how light they are- you could definitely eat a few of these in one sitting, and let me tell you, I did! I think they'd be great with a drizzle of chocolate on top or even filled with some lemon curd! Enjoy!

Homemade Cream Puffs
Pâte â choux:
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
8 tbsp. (1 stick) butter
4 eggs
1 c. water
¼ tsp. salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

Vanilla bean whipped cream:
¼ c. powdered sugar
2 c. heavy whipping cream
½ tsp. vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt

Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
2. To make the pâte â choux, place a medium size saucepan over low heat. Add butter, sugar, water and salt, stirring frequently. Turn heat up to a low boil, remove from head and add in flour. Stir vigorously until the mixture forms a thick paste and no flour pockets remain. Place over medium heat and cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly to prevent burning (a thin film will form on the bottom of your pan, and that's ok).
3. Place the hot paste into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until it becomes slightly cooler. Then add the eggs one at a time until incorporated. The mixture will look shiny and will stick to the sides of the bowl. Beat for an additional 2 minutes on medium. Scoop dough into a large piping bag fitted with a large tip (around a ½" in diameter). Pipe 1½"circles onto the prepared baking sheet (about ¾" in height), spacing each two inches apart to reduce the risk of them baking into each other. Gently brush a light layer of beaten egg over each, try not to allow any of the wash to drip onto the parchment (if this happens, just wipe it up so it doesn't make the cream puffs stick).
4. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, open the oven, rotate the pan and reduce the heat to 350˚F, bake for an additional 20 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 300˚F and bake for 20 minutes to allow the pastry shells to dry out. That makes a total of 60 minutes or 1 hour at three separate temperatures. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile to make the whipped cream, in a chilled bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla bean paste and salt. Beat on medium-high until the cream becomes stiff, about 1-2 minutes. Place in the refrigerator to keep cold until needed.
6. When the pastry shells have cooled, slice the top off of each one. Place the chilled whipped cream into a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip, pipe and fill each bottom. Place the top on each one, then lightly dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediate or store in the refrigerator for 1 day.
Recipe adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking, by Cindy Mushet | Makes approximately 25 cream puffs


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