Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bailey's Cream Puffs

I've got some exciting news.  It SNOWED last Thursday.  And I almost missed it, a tragedy that would have resulted in my being more than a little upset, because I love snow.  So much.

Though I consider myself a native Texan, I was born in Germany and lived there for several years before coming back to the States, so when I was growing up snow wasn't uncommon. We saw it regularly in our own backyard and when visiting relatives, and it was always a wonderful experience but nothing out of the ordinary.  Moving to Texas changed my relationship with snow.  Since we live in the central part of the state we didn't/don't see a lot of the white stuff, though I do remember sledding down the hill in our neighborhood one crazy winter day when I was about nine...

Back to my point though, it snowed and I didn't know about it until we were leaving the house for quiz.  We walked out the door and there it was, big fat flakes of snow.  Hitting me in the face, smacking against the windshield of my car.  Magic.  I personally feel that snow makes everything beautiful.  Not day-after-it's-snowed snow that's turning in to slush, but snow right after it's fallen.  Everything is quiet (maybe because we're afraid to drive in it?), and soft, and beautiful.  I love it.  Here's a picture I took, it doesn't do justice to what happened but it's all I have.

Back to the baking though.  Since it was almost Valentine's Day, I thought I'd try something a little different for this week's recipe.  I made profiteroles, or cream puffs as they're more often called.  I made these several years ago for a friend's birthday (the first anniversary of her 21st birthday, a very special occasion) and they were a hit so I thought I'd bring them back, but with a slight twist.  Can you guess what I did?  Yep, I added booze the the cream mixture and it was DELICIOUS.  Honestly, baking with booze is a terrific idea and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I did have one slight issue with the temperature of my oven and didn't follow the baking instructions to the letter.  For some reason my oven gets super hot, and I ended up pulling the first batch out of the oven and not letting them gradually cool down like the recipe tells you to.  Then I thought I'd be sneaky and lower the temperature for the next batch.  Also a bad idea, because the bottoms burned on those.  I solved that problem by just cutting the bottoms off and filling them anyway.  Here's a picture of that.

My last batch was perfect, and I can't really remember what I did...  I do know it involved putting an empty cookie sheet on the rack beneath the cream puffs to provide a little bit of insulation from the heat.  I didn't get a picture of the pretty ones though, naturally.

Moral of the story: If you have a crazy (but still better than a homicidal) oven keep an eye on these suckers!
Here's how to make them.

Cream Puffs
Bailey's Cream Filling (recipe below)
2/3 Cup water
7 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons margarine, divided
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 Cup flour
4 eggs

1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate

Prepare Bailey's Cream Filling.  Preheat oven to 400.  Lightly grease baking sheet, set aside.  In 2 1/2-quart saucepan, bring water, 7 Tablespoons margarine, sugar, and salt to a boil over high heat.  Remove from heat and immediately stir in flour.  With wooden spoon, cook flour mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, five minutes or until film forms on bottom of pan.  Remove from heat, stir in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Immediately drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet.  Place baking sheet on middle rack in oven.

Bake 20 minutes.  Decrease oven temperature to 350 and bake an additional 20 minutes.  Turn off oven without opening door and let puffs stand in oven 10 minutes.  Cool completely on wire rack.  To fill, slice off top 1/3 of puffs and set aside.  Fill with Bailey's Cream Filling, replace tops.

In small microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate and remaining two teaspoons margarine on high power for 30 seconds or until chocolate is melted; stir until smooth.  Drizzle chocolate mixture over puffs.

Bailey's Cream Filling
1 package instant vanilla pudding
1 Cup milk
3-4 Tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 Cups whipped cream or non-dairy whipped topping

In a medium bowl, with wire whisk, blend pudding mix, milk, liqueur, and vanilla.  Fold in whipped cream.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour or until set.  (I completely messed this step up and just mixed it all in at once.  Aside from it being a little less fluffy than it normally is, it was totally fine)

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