Sunday, April 17, 2011

Homemade Cream Puffs

Every holiday gathering on my husband's side of our family always has a little box of cream puffs in the corner of the spread.  He usually has his radar set to high-alert on these occasion's.  And I have to admit that I have made a few return visits to that corner myself.  That then started to remind me that I used to make cream puffs when I was a little girl -not exactly the same as the frozen chocolate iced ones, but actually better one's.  I can remember making these while I lived with my Dad in junior high.  I filled them with just chocolate pudding then, always thinking that it was too wet and heavy.  It never occurred to me to lighten it up with some whip cream.  And now that I have made them this way at home, I will never again buy them from the store.  Not ever.

1 cup of water
1/2 cup of real unsalted butter
1/8 tsp. of salt
1 cup of all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 pkg. of instant chocolate pudding
2 cups of milk
3 cups of cool whip
powdered sugar for garnish

-Preheat oven to 400*.  Toss the water, butter and salt into a medium-sized pot; bring to a boil.  Add the flour in all at once and fiercely stir.  Continue to stir while cooking until it begins to form a ball.  Remove pan from stove and let cool for only 10 minutes.  Add in your eggs 1 at a time-thoroughly stirring each one in before adding the next one (use a wooden spoon for this recipe).  For small appetizer sized cream puffs, do teaspoon sized scoops onto greased cookie sheets (I used stoneware).  Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a bright golden color (be careful to watch them so not to burn them).  Meanwhile  for the filling, whisk together the pudding mix and the milk.  Once slightly firmed, fold in the cool whip.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  After cream puffs are completely cooled, you need to create a "piping tool" for your filling.  I just spooned some of my filling into a zipper closure sandwich bag, sealed it tightly and just barely snipped the bottom of 1 corner.  Using the pointed end of a spoon, I pierced the side of a puff in towards the center-stopping in the middle.  Then I just pushed the snipped corner of my "pastry bag" into the hole that I made and squeezed a little bit.  It may take you 1 or 2 to get the hang of how much to squeeze in, but this actually worked extremely well and made no mess!  Once they are all filled, place onto a platter and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  These need to be either eaten immediately or covered and refrigerated for no longer than 20-30 minutes or else the pudding makes the bottoms all soggy and yucky.  I have never attempted to freeze them, I'm sure you can-they sell them that way-but mine never even make it into the fridge!  Makes 25-30.  Enjoy!

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