I’ve found there are two desserts that seem to impress people (but are actually pretty easy to make): biscotti and cream puffs. Though I have a cream puff recipe on here that I love, I’ve never made a chocolate version. By nature of choux pastry, these puffs aren’t SUPER chocolat-y but they are brown, and when filled a chocolate-bff like strawberry, they’re different enough from the original that the end result is fun and unique. Though I didn’t do it for these, next time I’ll drizzle them with some chocolate ganache (basically bring heavy cream to a simmer – about 1/4 c., and pour over 1/3 c. semisweet chocolate chips – stir until smooth). One caveat for cream puffs is that they’re best served within 1 hour of filling. You CAN make the puffs well ahead (up to several days). Keep in an airtight container at room temperature and re-crisp in a 350 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes before letting cool and filling. These are just too cute when they’re all finished and the batter was super easy – I’ll be making them again soon. I took lots of pics for these so just follow along carefully and you’ll be just fine.
Chocolate and Strawberry Cream Puffs
1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. lowfat or whole milk
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
4 oz. lowfat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 c. heavy cream
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. strawberry jam
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and set oven racks evenly spaced (one close but not at the top, the other close but not at the bottom). Line two baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
2. Whisk flour and cocoa powder in a small mixing bowl.
3. Place water, milk, butter and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When melted and boiling, reduce heat to medium and add flour mixture. Beat constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture balls up and leaves a film on the bottom of the pan. Mix for another minute or so. Remove from heat, mash into bottom of pan and let cool for about five minutes.
4. Using electric mixer, beat each egg into batter until combined and then continue beating for another minute until mixture is smooth and shiny. Spoon mixture into ziplock bag.
5. Cut corner of bag and squeeze batter onto prepared baking sheet, squeezing straight down and pulling up, leaving a point. Space batter at least 2 inches apart.
6. Wet your finger and smooth down the top of each point.
7. Bake for 25 minutes, switching location of pans at the mid point.
8. When puffs come out of the oven, use a knife point to put a hole in each puff, allowing steam to escape.
9. Meanwhile, make filling. Break up cream cheese with a fork in a medium bowl. In a second bowl, beat heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla to soft peaks. Mix a portion of whipped cream into cream cheese vigorously with a spoon until smooth, then fold in the rest, making sure to keep mixture light. When almost folded in, add jam and mix until barely combined.
10. Spoon filling into a second ziplock bag with the corner snipped. Find a space where the puff is open and squeeze filling inside, filling it completely. Dust with powdered sugar.
11. Serve as soon as possible – if you have to store them, store them in a covered container in the fridge (up to several hours).