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Red Velvet Cream Puffs

Every once in a while I have a delicious revelation– red velvet cream puffs? YES, please.

If red velvet cakes, waffles, crepes are a thing, why not cream puffs? And why not take it a step further to make them into hearts? I couldn’t come up with a good reason, so I did it. The best part about this recipe is that all you have to remember is that it follows the rule of “1"– you’ll see what I mean when you read the ingredients.

Red Velvet “Love Puffs” (makes ~24 cream puffs)

Choux Pastry Ingredients:

- 1 cup all-purpose flour - 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), unsalted - 1 cup buttermilk - 1 tsp salt - 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder - 1 teaspoon concentrated red food coloring, powdered

Pastry Cream Filling:

- 1 cup of milk - 2 tablespoons white sugar, plus 2 tablespoons white sugar (divided) - 1 egg - 2 tablespoons cornstarch - 1 teaspoon vanilla extract - 1 cup of heavy whip cream+2 tablespoons of sugar (for whip cream)

Choux Pastry:

1. In a medium pot, bring the buttermilk, salt, and butter to a simmer on medium heat. Add the flour, cocoa powder, and powdered coloring to the milk mixture,  and with a wooden spoon or spatula, stir very quickly.

Carefully watch and you’ll see that the flour starts absorbing the liquid — a dough will form. Keep stirring to continue cooking the flour and cook off some of the water, another minute or two. At this point,  I remove the pot from the stove. When the dough comes clean off of the sides of your pot, this is an indicator your dough is ready for step two.

2.Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or to a bowl if you’re using a hand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time mixing rapidly until each is combined into the paste. The paste will go from shiny to slippery to sticky as the egg is incorporated. The pâte a choux can be cooked immediately at this point or refrigerated for up to a day until ready to use.

3. On a parchment-lined cookie sheet pipe out the paste. You can make traditional round cream puffs by piping round “drops”, or, you can make heart shapes. Pipe a circle with the paste, and pull downwards to create a teardrop shape. Repeat again on the opposite side to create a heart. Dip your finger in water, and connect the shapes.

4. Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, then 350F for 18-30 minutes, depending on the size of your puffs. You want them to rise about twice the size, and cook until the centers are dry. The color will change as they “golden”. Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool before you severe the halves and pipe the cream.

You can dip the halves in chocolate ganache and the round cream puffs are just as cute!

Pastry Cream: (you can make the pastry cream a day in advance)

In a heavy saucepan, stir together milk, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat.

1. While the milk is coming to a boil, whisk together egg, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and cornstarch. Mix until smooth. Add a tablespoon of the hot milk to this mixture, stirring constantly. This is done to “temper” the eggs, so you don’t end up with a scrambled egg mixture.

2. When the milk comes to a boil, remove from heat, and slowly pour the egg mixture into the saucepan, making sure you have a thin stream and you are constantly stirring so you do not cook the eggs.

3. Return the saucepan back to heat and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don’t curdle. When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from the heat.

4. 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 before using.

(the day of) Once your pastry cream has fully chilled, remove plastic wrap and whisk until the mixture is smooth and well combined (no chunks).  Whip 1 cup of heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar until you have firm peaks. Fold 1/4 cup at a time of the whipped cream into the pastry cream; carefully mix until it comes together.

Fill the cream puffs with the pastry filling:

Top the heart with the matching half ❤️

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