I took a morning off from what seems to be constant busyness and enjoyed a cappuccino and pastries with a friend. One of my all-time favorites is chouquettes, made from choux pastry dough that is piped into little mounds and topped with a large course-grained sugar. I was first introduced to chouquettes in Paris by our friend Maria. She would purchase a little bag full of them from a patisserie for snacking while we walked the city. It's another one of those "when you can't be in Paris" treats that is easily made at home, but gives me the feel of being somewhere special.
adapted from a recipe on Chocolate & Zucchini
• 50 g of unsalted butter
• 125 ml water
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• pinch of salt
• 75 g flour
• 2 eggs
• chouquettes sugar or pearl sugar
1. Combine the butter, water, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and pour all of the flour in at once. Stir quickly with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and forms a ball.
2. Place the dough into the bowl of an electric mixer and let cool for 2 minutes. Turn on the mixer and add the eggs, one by one, until totally incorporated. You will have a nice, shiny dough.
3. You can either drop small mounds of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, or use a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch tip. You should have enough dough for approximately 25 chouquettes. Make sure to leave space between the dough mounds so they have room to expand and puff up. Take the coarse sugar and press grains gently onto the top of each chouquette.
4. Bake on the middle rack of a preheated 425˚F oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375˚ and continue to bake for another 10 minutes. You want the chouquettes to be golden brown and dry. Take out of the oven and pierce each chouquette with a toothpick or wooden skewer to let the steam escape.