They are really good. My official taste tester is really happy about them too! Crunchy on the outside and sweet cream on the inside. They are really good.
All the cream puffs I’ve tried have been delicious puffs filled with a cream but this little giant puff also has a crunchy cookie layer baked on top of the puff. The extra crunch is amazing! AMAZING!
They are really good. Are you getting my point yet? I used to love the cream puffs at Costco that are sold in the freezer but I’ve stayed away for awhile for the sake of my tummy line and my sugar levels… I usually can’t stop after one and Costco sells them by the bajillion which means I’ll eat a bajillion within a day or two. I’ve been on a sweet track so this treat has hit the spot.
Anyways, there are a lot of steps to this cream puff: 1) the puff dough 2) craquelin – the cookie layer for the puff 3) the custard cream 4) the whipped cream
Why are there two creams you ask? The custard cream and whipped cream are combined beautifully together for a luscious pillow but creamy center.
For this, due to timing, I would suggest going in the order of 3 – 2 – 1- 4. You can really go in any order you want but you may just be waiting for things to cool here and there. It’s all worth it in the end though because they are so good.
For the custard cream, you definitely want to be make sure you don’t overcook it, if you do, it’ll turn into gel (oops – by experience).
The cookie layer adds to the complexity but it is SO worth it. I’m not sure I’ll ever make another cream puff without it! Well, I probably will but these were that good. The dough is really sticky though so you’ll only want to deal with it when it’s cold.
Don’t forget to sift the flour. I used cake flour but all-purpose flour will work here. This batter is heated over a stove top – adding to the complexity and the beauty!
And of course, it was my first time piping ever, so the pipes came out pretty ugly but alas, the cookie layer saved me and hid the imperfections making them pretty again. Side note – because I spent so much time in the kitchen making these delicious nuggets, my husband did the dishes for me..and well.. ran my pipe tip in the kitchen dispenser……. Note to self or to husband – be careful of these. Decorating pipe tips are small and will fall into holes. Sigh.
Once you spent so much energy and are getting tired, you’ll notice these puffs rising in the oven! So fun! I tried to take a picture of it to no success because all you could see is my eager face reflection.
Once they’re baked to a golden brown. you just wait for them to cool and fill them with cream!
These are also enjoyed slightly frozen in the freezer. Serious yums.
Crunchy and Soft Cream Puffs
Crunchy on the outside and soft with sweet cream on the inside. Perfect for dessert or an afternoon snack.
Make sure your butter is at room temperature. Using a whisk, mix up the butter and soften it up in a bowl.
When softened, add in the sugar and mix well until just combined. Sift the flour into the butter and sugar bowl. Using a spatula, mix well again into one ball.
Roll out the dough on a flat surface. This batter will be very sticky. I recommend rolling the dough out on plastic wrap or placing the dough inside a ziplock bag and rolling it out within the bag (reference image above). The dough should be approximately 3cm thick. What does this actually mean? Rolling it out into about 1 1/2 or 2 quart size ziplock bags. You may have some extra dough left over at the end which can be used the next time you make these babies again!
Place dough in freezer while you go through the other steps.
Pour milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer where the milk will bubble. Turn off the stove.
Place the egg yolks, flour and cornstarch into a (separate) bowl. Mix the batter well with a whisk. Now slowly add in the warmed milk into this batter. Be careful so the milk does not cook the eggs.
Once mixed well, pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Continue to whisk well and bring it to a boil. When it boils, continue to stir on the stove top until the mixture thickens to about a mayonnaise consistency.
Remove from heat and pour into a new bowl (prevents from continuing to be heated in the saucepan). Stir in vanilla extract. Immediately cover the surface of the cream with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
Whipped Cream and Assembly of Cream
Place the heavy cream and sugar in a large mixing bowl and mix away until stiff peaks form. This is much easier if the cream is cold. I like to make my bowl cold too to quicken up the process.
Gently mix the custard cream and whipped cream together with a spatula. These are ready to fill the choux pastries. Refrigerate until ready for use.
Choux Pastry (The Puff)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Pour in water, butter, sugar and salt into a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. (You want the butter to melt before the water beings to boil to avoid too much evaporation).
Remove from heat and sift the flour into the saucepan and mix until combined
Return the saucepan to the heat and stir constantly. The dough will start coming away from the sides and a small film will form at the bottom of the pan as you stir. (Usually 1-2 minutes).
Remove from heat again and let the batter cool slightly. You don't want the eggs to cook in the next step.
Once slightly cooled (lukewarm), slowly add the eggs. The dough will separate but not to worry - if you keep mixing, the dough will come back together again. Continue to mix until you have a smooth but thick paste.
Either using a piping bag or two spoons, make 12 balls of dough. They will be around 4-5cm round.
Now, take the Craquelin layer out of the freezer. If the batter is extremely hard, give it about 30 sec - 1 minute and it will soften. Once it's ever so slightly soft - work quickly or the dough will become very soft and hard to work with again. Use a cookie cutter (or anything circular in your home) that is around 4cm or the diameter of your puff and cut out 12 circles. Place these on top of the puff dough.
Side note - If you made any that look like bear faces with the two little ears, no Craquelin layer needs to go on top of this. If you piped though, make sure the tops are flatted down with water and no dough is angled upwards - this tip will burn if left like this
Bake for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees F.
Lower oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 20 more minutes or until the shells have turned nicely brown.
At this time - split one cream puff in half (horizontally!) and feel how dry the inside the cream puff is. If the cream puff inside is still not dry, poke a hole at the bottom of each puff (where you will later pipe with cream), turn off the oven but keep the puffs inside the oven with the door slightly open. This will let the shells dry out while cooling.
Bring out your cream! If using a piping bag, place into piping bag to fill the puffs! Or you can spoon fill the puffs.