Thursday, March 8, 2012

Vanilla Cream Puffs

So my mother received a special bottle of vanilla from a friend at work. She has been telling me that "real" vanilla is amazing and that vanilla extract just doesn't have the same punch. I guess she's been telling other people the same thing because a week later our neighbour brought one home for us too. So, what to make with this precious elixir?
Today I decided to use this amazing vanilla in a recipe that would allow us to really notice the difference good quality vanilla makes. I thought about making a cake and using vanilla icing, or making vanilla ice cream from scratch, but in the end I made cream puffs! It had been a while since I last saw my mother make cream puffs for one of our family get togethers, but she helped explain each step and by the time I was done I was left with a delicious dessert.
I made a half batch because the recipe makes 12 large (24 small) cream puffs and there's only two of us in the house. The recipe below is for a full batch.

Vanilla Cream Puffs
-1/2 cup butter
-1 cup water
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 cup all purpose flour
-4 eggs
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-1 tsp icing sugar

Vanilla Whip Cream
-1 cup of cream (whipping cream, 35% mf)
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-1 tbsp icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and raise the rack one level so the bottoms won't burn. In a pot, bring the water and butter to a boil, remove from heat and then stir in the flour and salt until the mixture becomes a ball of dough. Put it into a large mixing bowl and flatten it out to let it cool. After about 30 minutes when the dough is still warm, but not hot, add the eggs one at a time and, using a wooden spoon, beat the egg into the dough. Repeat with each egg but, just before you add the final egg, add in the icing sugar and vanilla, and then beat in the final egg. Then take your dough and drop large spoonfuls onto an un-greased baking sheet (I used parchment paper). Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes and then lower the heat to 325 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes. The puffs will turn a light brown on top. Take them out of the oven and poke each one with a toothpick on the side to let the steam out. Once the puffs have cooled, you can cut them in half and pipe whip cream into the centre.
To make the whip cream simply put the ingredients for vanilla whip cream into a chilled metal bowl and beat with a hand mixer until the cream has become fluffy.

I know they don't look perfect, but trust me, it doesn't matter because they'll spread out and puff up when they're baking and will look beautiful in the end.
Ingredients for the vanilla whip cream.
Remember to chill the bowl and the beaters before hand.
Yummy! I didn't know if I would be able to tell, but there was definitely a difference between the vanilla extract I've been using and this wonderful stuff from Mexico. Now that I know, I'm making plans to buy ingredients for ice cream when I go grocery shopping this weekend so that I can make vanilla ice cream! Please look forward to it. : )
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  1. Oh my gosh this is amazing. I'm definitely trying this out as soon as I have time!!!! I love cream puffs~~~

    xx maggie

  2. Lovely puffs! I'd love to try them. Well done!

  3. These looks like little puffs of heaven! Yum!!!!! :)