Category Archives: Pastry

Cream Puffs.

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I’m back for now. Sorry for the long hiatus; I’ve been going through a lot of stuff recently and I’ll explain it all some other time. For now, here’s a recipe (finally) for cream puffs. Cream puffs are a very versatile pastry used for both sweet desserts or savory hors d’oeuvres. The dough, called pâte à choux, is made with 5 simple ingredients, and after it is baked the outside is golden and crisp while the inside is delicately hollow, giving you ample space for various fillings such as cream, cheese, meat, or seafood. The same dough is also used for making éclairs. 

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For my cream puffs, I made a cream cheese filling with a hint of lemon. You can opt out the lemon if you prefer, or add something else in place of it, such as orange zest or vanilla extract. 

Cream Puffs (Makes 20-24) 

Ingredients for pâte à choux: 

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs

Ingredients for filling: 

  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 1 8oz. package of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest

Directions: 

1) In saucepan, combine butter, water and salt and bring to a boil. Add flour, stirring rigorously until the mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes. 

2) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add mixture to a mixer, and beat eggs in one at a time until smooth. If you don’t have a mixer, mix with a wooden spoon.  On a cookie sheet, drop batter by teaspoons about 4 inches apart. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. DO NOT open the oven to check until at least 5 minutes before bake time is over; the puffs will collapse if oven is opened too early. Cool on wire rack. 

3) To make the filling: beat 1/2 pint heavy cream with a mixer until whipped, and set aside in a bowl in the refrigerator. Then start blending the cream cheese with powdered sugar, adding a little sugar at a time until combined. Add 1 tsp. lemon zest (optional). Fold in whipped cream by hand until combined with cream cheese. 

4) Carefully cut the tops off the puffs and add a spoonful of cream cheese filling to each. Serve and enjoy! 

**If you are serving at a later time, keep the puffs and the filling separate in the refrigerator until you’re ready to combine them. That way they won’t get soggy. If serving in the distant future, the puffs can filled with filling then frozen in zip-lock bags (for up to 2 months), then defrosted at room temperature. 

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Directions with pretty pictures and elaborate jibber-jabber: 

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Melt 1/2 cup of butter in a saucepan. 

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Add salt. Don’t mind the 1/4 tsp. I used; I made a double batch. 

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Add water. 

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Let the mixture come to a boil. 

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Then add the flour. 

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Stir rigorously until the mixture forms a sticky ball of dough. 

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Like this. 

Cool for about 10 minutes. 

Preheat the oven for 400 degrees. 

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Put dough into the mixing bowl. 

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Add one egg at a time, beating until well blended before adding another egg. 

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Blend until dough is smooth. 

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On a cookie sheet, drop batter by teaspoons about 4 inches apart. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. DO NOT open the oven to check until at least 5 minutes before bake time is over; the puffs will collapse if oven is opened too early. 

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Cool on wire rack. 

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To make the filling: beat 1/2 pint heavy cream with a mixer until whipped, and set aside in a bowl in the refrigerator. 

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Then start blending the cream cheese with powdered sugar, adding a little sugar at a time until combined. 

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Add 1 tsp. lemon zest (optional). 

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Fold in whipped cream by hand until combined with cream cheese. 

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Carefully cut the tops off the puffs and add a spoonful of cream cheese filling to each. I like to put the tops back on haphazardly to show a gap of filling. It’s like a tease. 

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Serve and enjoy! 

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Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to eat the rest of the plate.

Top of the muffin to ya!

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Remember how cool and trendy my BLAST sandwich was? Here’s a new trend I’m making up, even though it was accidental. And in a way, a play off an idea in a Seinfeld episode. If you were a Seinfeld fan, do you remember the episode where Elaine only ate the muffin tops? And someone stole her idea and started a ‘Top of the muffin to ya!’ store, which only sold muffin tops? Well, whatever happened to the bottoms, you ask? They tried to give them away to homeless shelters, but the homeless shelters didn’t want the bottoms unless they had the tops, so they had to truck them to the city dump. Anyway, we won’t be wasteful here, we’ll just make the muffin tops.

My original plan was to make apple muffins, but you know me and my previous baking attempts (read baking FAIL). I always misread or miscalculate ingredients, proportions, measurements, etc. Somehow I ended up with a giant clump of batter goop with way too many apple chunks. Oh no, what did I do?! I improvised and crossed my fingers.

The outcome of my disaster was a delicious hybrid of muffin + cookie. I wanted to give my invention a new name.

Like…the muffokie!

No? Ok…I’ll work on it.

Aside from it being a disaster, it actually came out really really well. I ate 3 just to make sure. Give or take 5. Then I hid the rest from Chris so when he got home, there was no evidence of any muffokies in the apartment, and I could eat and enjoy them all to myself. I didn’t want to submit him to that kind of torture of eating my muffokies. He wouldn’t be able to handle that sort of hybridist awesomeness.

Muffokies (makes 24 muffin tops)

printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups chopped apples

*whip cream (optional)

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 large baking sheets.

2) In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3) In another large bowl, beat butter, white sugar, brown sugar and eggs together until smooth. Add vanilla, cinnamon and apples. Gradually stir in flour mixture until all combined.

4) Using a spoon (or 2), form balls of dough and plop onto baking sheet. Sort of like you are making cookies. Space them apart so they have enough room when they bake up. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin top; if it comes out clean it’s done. Set on wire rack to cool. Serve as is or with whipped cream if you prefer.

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

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All the ingredients you need for a disaster.

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Here was my partner in crime. He likes to sit on the chair as I cook. Most of the time, I don’t notice he’s there unless I sit down and hear a loud angry MEEEOOOWWW!

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Here lies my big mistake. I was supposed to use 1 1/2 cups of chopped apples. Somehow, I wanted to double that to 3 cups, and wrote a note to myself previously.

SOMEHOW, I ENDED UP USING 3 LARGE APPLES INSTEAD OF CUPS. Came out to about 4 cups.

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What’d you wake me up for?! To get my revenge on you, I will scribble out cups and write apples. Muhahaha….

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In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

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In another large bowl, beat butter, white sugar, brown sugar and eggs together until smooth.

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Add vanilla, cinnamon and apples. Gradually stir in flour mixture until all combined.

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Grease 2 large baking sheets.

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Using a spoon (or 2), form balls of dough and plop onto baking sheet. Sort of like you are making cookies. Space them apart so they have enough room when they bake up.

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Bake for 15-18 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin top; if it comes out clean it’s done. Set on wire rack to cool.

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Enjoy as is or with whipped cream if you prefer.

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