Cream Puffs are so easy to make, delicious to eat, and work with so many different fillings. Did you know cream puff shells are great for dessert, lunch, and as an appetizer? I like making mini-cream puffs as in the recipe below and using them in a variety of ways. Flavor your pudding or whipped cream filling with lemon zest, minced peaches, or toasted coconut and your guests will love them for dessert. There is nothing like indulging in several mini-cream puffs rather than just one large dessert. The fillings are truly endless. But, yes there is always a ‘but’, cream puffs are not just for dessert. For me, they are the best vehicle for your favorite sandwich filling. Whether it is egg salad, chicken or tuna salad, or even ground ham spread, cream puffs are perfect. They add the extra touch to make a lunch or buffet unique. Add a bit of your favorite fresh greens and these cream-puff sandwiches are perfect. Fill them with a spinach-artichoke spread, or chopped shrimp and water chestnuts and you have a great appetizer. However you use them, try these easy to make, mini-cream puff shells and fill them any way you like.
The recipe below makes 12, two-inch cream puffs. The recipe is easy to double.
¼ cup cold butter
½ cup water
½ cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 400˚. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and set aside. In a pan on medium bring the water, salt, and butter to a boil. Turn off the heat, but keep the pan on the stovetop. Add the flour and stir continuously until the dough forms a ball and does not stick to the side of the pan. Allow the dough to cool 8 minutes. Stir in the eggs one at a time and mix until the dough is smooth and creamy. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a small cookie scoop drop the dough onto the pan or portion into 1-tablespoon mounds. Bake at 400˚ for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Turn off the oven, open the door, and allow the puffs to cool completely in the oven. Slice the tops off the cream puffs to open and remove any soft dough from the center. Fill and replace the tops. Garnish with powdered sugar if using as a dessert, or garnish with finely grated cheese if using as an appetizer or sandwich.