Cream puffs never go out of style, but we added espresso powder to give these a new flavor. To lighten them, we decreased the butter in the puffs and used fat-free milk. We also added gelatin and whipped topping to the pastry cream for an incredibly light and creamy filling that holds up well.
To prepare cream puffs, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside. Combine 1 cup milk, butter, and espresso granules in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; add flour mixture, stirring well until mixture is smooth and pulls away from sides of pan. Remove mixture from heat. Add eggs and egg white, 1 at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Drop the dough by level tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°; bake an additional 10 minutes or until browned and crisp. Remove from oven; pierce the side of each cream puff with the tip of a sharp knife. Turn oven off; let cream puffs stand in partially closed oven for 20 minutes. Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on a wire rack.
To prepare pastry cream, sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl; set aside. Combine 3/4 cup milk and next 5 ingredients (milk through egg yolks) in a medium saucepan. Place over low heat; cook until warm, stirring constantly. Stir in gelatin mixture; cook over medium heat until thick (about 8 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl; let stand 15 minutes or until room temperature (do not allow mixture to set). Remove pan from ice. Gently whisk in whipped topping. Cover and chill 4 hours or until thick.
Cut tops off cream puffs; fill each cream puff with 1 tablespoon filling. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
As three stars suggests, this is a good, solid recipe. I thought it deserved a second chance because it only had one rating and that was of one star. The end result of these cream puffs was delicious. The outside had a wonderful texture as well as an espresso flavor, and the cream was sweet but not overly so. The problem I encountered with this recipe was when making the cream. I followed the recipe exactly, but the egg whites wouldn't mix in with the rest of the milk etc. As it got thicker, there were little pieces of cooked egg whites in the mixture. I tried picking them out, and picked out about half and it wasn't a problem. I would stir that part with a whisk, and I would stir it constantly. I would make this again if there weren't millions of other delicious recipes out there to try. But it wasn't too much trouble and a good result.
The cookie itself is bla, bitter, tasteless. I put 4 extra teaspoons of sugar in it just because the dough tasted terrible. With the cream in the middle, it's alright, but it's time consuming, a TON of work, and not really worth it. It took me so long to make them, but I don't feel like I can take them to the party I planned on bringing them to. Guess I'm bringing a cheese plate.
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