Chocolate Cream Puffs

22 Jun

I was a hyper kid. I always had trouble winding down. My real problem was that I couldn’t stop laughing. (And mostly I found myself hilarious.) The family would be sitting around having a jolly time, and I would start getting silly. Inevitably something would crack me up, and I would start laughing. At first, it was no big deal because everyone else was laughing too. But then the laughter would all die off, except for mine. And of course I found this even more funny. Times like these would end in tears. Laughing for a straight 10 minutes is bound to cause a bodily reaction, and I would usually be gasping for air as tears rolled down my face. Like I said, I had trouble winding down.

I was always the hyper one—that is, until my little brother came along. He is 14 years my junior, and the caboose of the family. I went home last weekend and have since decided that we are twin souls. He cracks up at himself and can’t stop laughing for the life of him. He was laughing so hard at one point that he yanked his shorts down and starting doing the underwear dance. Crazy kid. Again, twin souls. Twin silly souls.

I made these chocolate cream puffs after some begging from my mom. They aren’t silly. In fact, I’d say these are the opposite of silly. But sometimes you gotta balance out the silly with serious, mature treats such as these.

The chocolate filling is by far the best part of these. It has a rich chocolate flavor, and I’m not opposed to eating it alone like a bowl of decadent chocolate pudding.

Stir together the water, butter, and salt until it begins to boil.

Add all of the flour, and stir until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Use a 1/4-cup scoop to drop dough balls onto a cookie sheet.

It’s fine if they all look a little different. It adds character.

Bake until puffed and golden brown.

This is how your baked puffs should look.

Cut off the tops and pull out the doughy insides. Now make the chocolate filling!

Heat the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, salt, and milk, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until the mixture begins to boil.

After adding beaten eggs, return to heat and stir constantly until mixture thickens and begins to boil.

Mixture should be very thick. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.

Pour filling into a bowl and place plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the chocolate to prevent a film from forming.

Now fill the puffs with thick chocolate filling.

Dainty chocolate cream puffs.

Chocolate Cream Puffs

Makes 12 cream puffs

Ingredients

For cream puffs:
1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

For chocolate filling:
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk (I used skim milk)
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Combine water, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan, and heat over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil. Add the flour all at once, and stir constantly for 1 minute until the mixture clumps, pulls away from the sides of the pan, and forms a ball. Remove from heat and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

On an ungreased cookie sheet, use a 1/4-cup scoop to form 12 cream puffs. (It’s OK if they aren’t perfectly uniform balls. I just plopped them onto the sheet, and they turned out looking unique and fancy.) Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. While the puffs are still warm, use a knife to cut a small hole off the top. Using a fork or your fingers, pull out the soft, doughy insides. Get as much out as you can without tearing out the sides or bottom. Let the cream puffs cool as you make the chocolate filling.

In another medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, salt, and milk. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and begins to boil. Boil 1 minute without stirring, then remove from heat. Pour a small amount (about 1/2 cup) of the chocolate mixture into the beaten eggs, and stir well to combine. Now pour the eggs into the pan with the rest of the chocolate, and stir. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to boil. (The chocolate should be nice and thick by this point.) Remove from heat, and stir in the butter and vanilla until the butter melts.

Pour the chocolate filling into a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing down directly onto the surface of the chocolate (to prevent a film from forming). Cool slightly before filling the cream puffs.

Fill the cream puffs with as many chocolate spoonfuls as you can stuff in there. The chocolate should peek out a little over the top of the puff. Cover the puff with the cut-off tops, dust with confectioners’ sugar, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Adapted from Hershey’s

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