I’m baking… Thursdays #1 ~ Cream Puffs

Soft, warm rolls with butter melting inside. A loaf of crusty bread for those lunch sandwiches. Buttery, moist cupcakes with sugary, sweet icing and colorful sprinkles. Big, round cookies with gooey chocolate chips. Pastries, cakes and more… that’s what I want to bake and share.

I remember, growing up, someone… my grandma, mom and aunt… baking on a Saturday morning for coffee and cake at 3 o’clock on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Kaffeeklatsch! A time for the family to get together, share something sweet and maybe the latest village gossip.

I can see it now, my mom gently pouring the gelantine over that fruit tart with a spoon, my grandma rolling out dough on a big cutting board so we could cut out the cookies and my aunt showing me how to mix the ingredients for the pound cake, letting me hold the mixer and after, letting me lick the cake batter out of the bowl.

It seems baking and the enjoyment we get from it runs in the family. I recently rediscovered my love for baking and decided to host a bi-weekly link-up for all things sweet, gooey and doughy.

Part of it is to keep track of my journey, the learning process and the joy. Another part is that I hope, you’ll share your delicious recipes so we all can enjoy some sweetness… and for me to maybe give them a try and then share that.

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My first recipe as part of my I’m Baking… series are Cream Puffs. I made them for the first time this past weekend. They were such a big hit that I got to do it all over again yesterday. My gang managed to wolf down eat six of them in short order. They were not small.

Cream Puff Shells

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup boiling water

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

4 eggs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. In a medium sauce pan, combine the shortening, salt and boiling water and heat until the entire mixture boils. Reduce heat, add flour all at once and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is thick and shiny and breaks from spoon.

Pipe or spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350° F and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until golden and sound hollow when tapped. Cool, cut in half and fill with pastry cream and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

(*Note: I only baked mine for about 12 additional minutes at the reduced cycle.)

Pastry Cream

Ingredients:

2 cups of milk

1/4 cup of white sugar and 1/3 cup of white sugar

2 egg yolks, plus 1 egg

1/4 cup corn starch

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch; then stir them into the egg until smooth. When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle it into the bowl in a thin stream while mixing so that you do not cook the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don’t curdle or scorch on the bottom.

When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla until the butter is completely blended in. Pour into a heat-proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled.

I made the pastry cream first and let it chill while I worked on the shells. 

(**Note: Both recipes are courtesy of Allrecipes.com)

I would love it if you could help me spread the word about this new link-up. Please, tell your friends, tweet it, share it on Facebook and Google+. Thank you so very much. I look forward to trying and tasting your yummy additions. 

xo, Susi