Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chocolate Caramel Cream Puffs



You guys probably always imagine me sitting around coating my teeth in gobs of frosting all day and gnawing on slabs of toffee. You probably think I work for some kind of fabulous bakery where they condone such conduct.

Well, I'm sorry to tell you, you're wrong.

In fact, I work at a dentist's office, of all places. And to make it worse, this dentist happens to be my father.


Many ignorant patients often ask me, "So, you gonna be a dentist like your dad?"

Um, do I LOOK like I want to be dentist? Do I look like a person who would lecture people on how to control their sugar intake?



That's what I thought.

You know, it's tough leading a double life. Sitting at my desk all day, not eating cookies and pretending the cough drops I'm crunching down are sugar free.

But as much as I do love sugar, even I thought these babies were a bit too sweet. I had to use powdered sugar to thicken the filling because I ran out of whipped cream. So, unless you want to be prancing around on top of the kitchen counters all night on a sugar high, don't make them the way I did. Do as I say, not as I do.

By the way, the prancing around on the table tops did NOT happen. I was just...... kidding.



Anyways, why didn't you guys tell me how easy cream puffs are to make before? All you have to do is mix it all up in a pot over a little heat till it looks kind of freaky.



 then add eggs until it's smooth.



Then plop or pipe them onto a baking sheet.

 

And after a toasty, little sojourn in the oven...


Poof. It's like magic. Now, if you want you can make extra caramel to put on the top like this one.


But I wasn't thinking ahead, so I made a little chocolate ganache for most of them instead. Either way, they're pretty awesome.


Chocolate Caramel Cream Puffs
Makes about 30

For the Chocolate Pate a Choux:
1 stick butter
1 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons dutch process cocoa powder
4 eggs
1 egg white
1 whole egg for egg wash (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425ยบ. In a pot on the stove, cook the butter on medium heat until browned, being very careful not to burn it (if you want to you can just melt it, but browning it adds more flavor). Add the water, sugar, and salt and bring to a rolling boil. Add the flour and cocoa all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until it pulls away from the sides. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and beat in one egg and white with the wooden spoon, one at a time, until it droops off of the spoon. Scoop or pipe the batter into equally sized mounds (about 1 inch wide) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (I piped it out of a ziploc bag, but I think it would have been easier to just plop them on using a spoon). If you want them to be shiny, brush them with a beaten egg. Bake for about 20 minutes.


For the Caramel Filling:

3/4 cup salted caramel sauce, cooled (recipe below)
1 cup cream

Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in the caramel


Caramel:
1/2 cup sugar
2 T corn syrup
3 T butter
1/3 cup cream
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla

In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and syrup. Cook on medium heat until caramel colored. Add the butter and mix it in. It will bubble up. Add in the cream and stir until smooth. Return to heat for about a minute to make sure you don't have any lumps. Add the salt and vanilla.

To assemble:

Cut each cream puff in half. Pipe some caramel filling onto the bottom half and then replace the top half. If you want to you can top it with another batch of caramel,  a dusting of powdered sugar, or about 1 cup of chocolate chips melted with about 2 tablespoons of cream.



P.S. I feel professionally obligated to tell you that you should probably brush your teeth when you're done.