I have a weekend project for you that involves chocolate chip cookies. Well sort of, but not really. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve taken everyone’s beloved cookie, the chocolate chip cookie, and mashed it together with one of my favorite desserts, the cream puff. Chocolate Chip Cookie Cream Puffs is what you make when you want to impress not only your family and friends but really, yourself. Because you deserve to be impressed just as much as anyone else. A little while ago I made a Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake on the blog that was insane and over the top (but completely necessary) and you all really seemed to like it, especially on Instagram. Since then, I’ve been trying to think of new ways to chocolate chip cookie-fy everything and anything. I was thinking chocolate chip cookie cake, or chocolate chip cookie cupcakes, or chocolate chip cookie brownies. Then I came across a Chocolate Chip Cream Puff recipe in Cooking Light’s cookbook Incredibly Decadent Desserts and I was like, yup this is it. This is what you’ve been searching for Jonathan. Maybe it was a little weird that I was speaking to myself in first person, but I don’t know. I changed the recipe a bit from the book because as I’ve said before when I baked something from it, I’m not one for “diet” or “lite” desserts at all. I adapted it so that it was full fat because if you’re going to have a dessert you might as well go all the way and have a great dessert.
Let’s start by making the choux pastry for this. Choux pastry, in case you’re not familiar with it, is a dough made of water, butter, salt, flour and eggs. It’s cooked over a stove for a bit and stirred vigorously. It’s the same stuff you make when you want to bake eclairs. Some people think it’s complicated, but I promise it’s super easy!
Once the butter has melted and the water has come to a simmer, add the flour all at once, and then stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes away from the sides of the saucepan, about 3 minutes.
**Tip: You want to cook it over moderate heat so that the mixture doesn’t stick and burn to the bottom of the pot. It’s crucial to keep on stirring for the full three minutes. Play your favorite song and continue to cook and stir until it’s over.**
Remove from the heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer. Let the dough cool down for about 10 minutes before adding in the eggs. It’s important to let it cool so that the eggs to cook from the heat of the pastry at this point. Turn the mixer on medium and stir for about 1 minute. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for about 1 minute in between each addition. After the final egg has been added, the pastry should be smooth and somewhat sticky.
**Note: If your choux is still slightly warm at this point, let it cool down some more before adding in the mini chocolate chips. If you were to add it in while it is warm, the chips are so small that they’ll melt instantly, and they’d streak the dough chocolate and you don’t really want that.**
Transfer the mixture to a piping bag, fitted with a small plain circle tip. Pipe out small rounds onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, making sure to space them out evenly because they do rise and spread in the oven.
**Tip: If you don’t have a piping bag, you can also using a small or medium ice cream scoop and scoop out the dough onto the baking sheets as well!**
While the pastry bakes, lets make the pastry cream filling. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and egg and egg yolks until smooth. Warm the half and half, 3 tablespoons sugar and salt over medium heat on the stove. Slowly pour the warmed milk mixture into the egg mixture while constantly whisking. Then pour the mixture back into the pot and cook over medium heat until thick, about 4 minutes. Make sure to whisk nonstop so that the mixture doesn’t curdle.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl, through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps from the pastry cream. Then cover the top directly with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge or freezer until completely cooled down, about 1 hour in the fridge and 30 minutes in the freezer.
Once the chocolate chip pastry is baked, they’ll be puffed, lightly golden brown and sound hallow when you tap the bottom. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
**Note: It’s important that the pastry is completely cooled before filling so that the cream doesn’t melt when you try to sandwich it inside.**
Once the pastry cream has chilled, fold in homemade whipped cream in batches. To make homemade whipped cream, beat heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract on high until soft peaks form.
Cut the pastry in half using a sharp serrated knife and then fill with the cream filling. You can either use a piping bag to evenly pipe it into the center or you can use a spoon and just dollop it in. Either way works just fine.
Place the top half of the pastry on top and set the baking sheet off to the side while you make the chocolate glaze on top. Because this dish just isn’t chocolatey enough just yet.
To make the glaze, combine corn syrup*, 1 tablespoon half and half, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a heat proof bowl. Then nuke in the microwave on high for about 15 seconds. Whisk in the powdered sugar and cocoa until smooth. The glaze will be sticky and thick, but that’s okay. Pour a spoonful on top of each pastry, allowing it to run down the sides.
**Note: I know what you’re going to say, corn syrup?!!? How could you!?!? It’s just a tiny bit of corn syrup, really it’s nothing. But if you’re so adverse to using it, you can just make a simple ganache out of warmed cream and butter poured over chocolate and whisked until melted.**
My one regret with this recipe is that I wish I hadn’t used dark cocoa powder to make the glaze. I only had dark chocolate cocoa powder on hand and I was too lazy to go to the store to buy regular unsweetened cocoa powder so I ended up with this super dark topping that looks like tar to me, but it’s still super delicious. When you go to make it, use the regular cocoa powder and your topping will like brown (as it should) instead of black.
Cream puffs are best when eaten the day you make them. So plan on sharing, handing some out to friends or unsuspecting neighbors. If you can’t eat them all or give them away fast enough, you can put them in the fridge and eat them the next day. Just note that they won’t be as fresh, but not the worst thing in the world.
If you’re not feeling the cream filling, you can take this over the edge by filling it with ice cream instead. How insane would cookie dough ice cream be in these cream puffs?! I think that’s a good idea as well. Make this your next weekend baking project!
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup mini chocolate chips
- 1 cup half and half
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar, divided
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh whipped cream (3/4 cup heavy cream beat with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon half and half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder or regular unsweetened cocoa powder
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
- To make the choux pastry, combine the water, butter and salt in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the flour all at once while constantly stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Return the pot to the stove and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth, glossy and pulls away from the sides, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and transfer the dough into the bowl of your stand mixer and let it cool down for about 10 minutes. Using the paddle attachment, beat the mixture on low for about a minute. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating for about a minute after each addition. The batter will be smooth and glossy. Make sure to beat the mixture for 2 minutes after adding the last egg. Stop the mixer and let cool down to room temperature. You want to make sure the choux pastry isn't warm at all before adding in the chocolate chips. Fold them in at the very last minute, so that they don't melt and leave streaks throughout the pastry.Transfer to a large disposable piping bag, fitted with a medium plain circle tip.
- Pipe out small rounds, evenly spaced out, onto the prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave space because they do grow. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking for another 20 minutes. They should be a medium golden brown and sound hollow. It's important to not open the oven door while the puffs are baking because if you do, you run the risk of them deflating from the change in temperature. Once done, remove the baking sheets from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- To make the custard cream filling, combine 1 cup half and half, 3 tablespoons sugar and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer. Combine 2½ tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, egg and egg yolks in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until completely smooth. Gradually drizzle warm milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking nonstop. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into a bowl through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps. Cover the top directly with plastic wrap and then let chill in the fridge or freezer until completely cooled down. Once cool, fold the whipped cream into the custard in batches until smooth. Transfer this mixture into a piping bag.
- Cut each cream puff in half using a serrated knife. Then pipe out the cream filling onto each bottom, sandwiching together with the top half of the pastry. You could also just spoon the mixture into the puffs if you don't have a piping bag.
- To make the topping, combine corn syrup, 1 tablespoon half and half and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a heat proof bowl. Heat in the microwave on high for 15 seconds. Add in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. The glaze will be thick and sticky. Pour over each pastry and allow to set before serving. Cream puffs are best when eaten the day of but leftovers can be kept in the fridge for the next day. Enjoy!