Cream Puff Lies
Somebody lied to me. I don’t know who it was, but they lied.
Somewhere along the way, I got the idea that making cream puffs would be hard. Maybe my childhood experience with petit fours scarred me. Or maybe it was the fact that I can only recall cream puffs being made once or twice in my household, and it was a *big* deal when they were.
Those seem like rational explanations. But I still prefer to blame some unidentified person for lying to me. It’s more dramatic.
Regardless of the cause, the niggly fear of cream puffs prevented me from tackling this recipe for a while. I saw a recipe in an issue of Donna Hay magazine and was inspired, but scared. Now that I’ve made ’em, I can only wonder what in the world was wrong with me.
No joking. I made an entire batch of cream puffs in about an hour Sunday night. After I’d already had a full day of errands, cooking, cleaning and recovering from a trip to the West Coast.
And, I didn’t make just any ol’ kind of cream puffs. I made baby cream puffs. I accomplished this baby cream puff feat by dropping teaspoon-sized dollops on the cookie sheet instead tablespoon-sized dollops. Let me tell you, that was some really hard work. (okay. i’m being dramatic. but i mean, c’mon. baby cream puffs mean double the baking work of big cream puffs. right? right.)
The results were mixed. The first cookie sheet full of cream puffs came out kind of ugly and bit smooshy on the insides. I think this is because I wasn’t careful enough with the shape of the dough drops. The second batch came out of the oven looking a bit better because I took a little extra time to shape the dollops of dough into actual balls, rather than just dropping them willy nilly about the cookie sheet. The result were prettier, more consistently puffy cream puffs. A win in my book.
With all the cream puffs baked and cooling on their wire racks with no disasters apparent, I figured I should challenge the cooking gods and myself by making my own whipped cream. And I took it one step further by whisking the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into whipped cream by hand. Yes. By hand. I whisked my own heavy cream into whipped cream by hand. And I thought making homemade mayonnaise was tough. Yikes.
The sacrifice of my arm muscles to sheer exhaustation pleased the cooking gods though, apparently. My whipped cream came just right the first time. I was shocked.
The work was worth it though.
Baby cream puffs, while kinda cute, don’t taste so whoopdedoo without something else on them. I tried dipping a couple in some cinnamon sugar. That was okay, but not what I wanted.
The whisked-by-hand, homemade whipped cream was just what the baby cream puffs needed to be all that they could be.
That said, next time, I’m just going to go to the store and buy some Extra Creamy Reddi-wip (which is made by my company, for the record). Or, at the very least, I will take the time to track down the mini-beaters.
For those of you interested in the recipe, I relied on the trusty red and white checked cookbook from Better Homes & Gardens that just about eveyone has in their collection. Same goes for the whipped cream.