Easy Cream Puffs with Almond Coconut Whipped Cream
June 18, 2020
My mom always said if she was ever on one of those timed cooking shows, and had to make a dessert, it would be cream puffs. They look impressive, but secretly they are super easy to make. Especially thanks to my grandma’s recipe. Plus they are super versatile. You can fill them and drizzle them with anything you want. Here’s a simple variation of these easy cream puffs with almond coconut whipped cream filling.
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What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for these easy cream puffs at your grocery store. If you want to use curbside pick-up or home delivery, check out Instacart to shop online from your favorite local grocery store.
- Pantry: Flour, Shredded coconut
- Fridge: Butter, Eggs, Heavy Cream
- Spice Cabinet: Almond extract, Salt
- Required Equipment: Sheet pan, Parchment paper, Mixing bowls, Whisk, Saucepan, Silicone spatula or wooden spoon, Cooling rack, Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Recommended Equipment: Cookie scoop, Piping bag and tip
Recipe for Cream Puffs Shells
Don’t be intimidated by cream puffs. I was for a long time, because they just seemed like something that would be difficult or time-consuming. But it turns out, they are super easy. Even the first time I made them, they were absolutely delicious.
To start, preheat your oven. Then, prepare a sheet pan by greasing it or lining with parchment paper. You will whisk together flour and salt until combined. Then heat up water in a medium sauce pan until it’s just boiling. You don’t want it to cook off, so add the butter once it reaches a boil. Then stir gently while the butter melts.
As soon as it’s all melted, lower the heat. This will keep the water from boiling off, since you want it in the dough. All that water will turn into steam in the oven, and help to give these delightful pastries their signature puff.
With the heat on low, add the flour and salt mixture all at once. At this point, be sure you are using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir. This dough just gets too thick for a whisk. Stir the mixture vigorously, until it forms into a dough that pulls away from the sides of the pan in a ball.
Remove it from the heat, and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes, to cool it slightly. You’re going to be adding eggs next, and you’ll want these to be at room temperature when you mix them in.
Add the eggs one at a time to the rested dough. Stir each one in completely before adding the next. The dough may feel a bit resistant, but just keep working at it and the egg will incorporate fully. That’s when it’s time to add in the next egg.
Use a spoon, a cookie scoop, or a piping bag without a tip to add small balls of dough to the prepared pan. I used a cookie scoop, since it was super fast. However, you can pipe small mounds (or longer stripes for eclairs!) or even just use a teaspoon.
Place them a few inches apart. These will puff up and expand plenty in the oven. The dough is very flexible, and that combined with the large amount of liquid allows these little dough balls to get really light and fluffy.
Bake them for 15-20 minutes. You’ll be able to tell they are done, because they will have puffed up significantly, and turned a beautiful golden brown. The dough will be dry, and they will feel like light clouds.
You can immediately transfer them to a cooling rack, and work on the next batch. Let them cool completely to room temperature before filling.
How to Fill Cream Puffs
There are a few ways to get the filling inside the cream puffs and even more varieties of fillings that you can use. I went with a light and simple whipped cream that has a fun combination of almond and coconut.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add heavy cream. Begin mixing on low, and then slowly increase the speed up to high. After a few minutes the cream will start to thicken up and you’ll see soft peaks.
At this point, add in the almond extract and shredded coconut. Then continue mixing for another minute or so, until the whipped cream is stiff and holds its shape on the whisk.
I tried a couple different ways of filling, and my favorite was to cut the puffs in half like a hamburger bun, and pipe the whipped cream onto the bottom half. To do this, add a large star tip to a piping bag and fill. Then you make a spiral of cream on each bottom piece. Gently place the other half on top, at a slight angle, to show off that pretty piping.
If you’re interested in truly filling your cream puffs you can do that too! Use a paring knife to slice an x-shape into either the bottom or side.
Then carefully insert the piping tip into the puff and fill it. You’ll feel the cream start to fill all the air holes, and it will firm up slightly as you’re filling. Try a few different methods to see which you find the most convenient.
These cream puffs are light and fluffy – and so easy! Try them filled with almond-coconut whipped cream.
How to Serve Cream Puffs
Now that you know how to make cream puffs, you can make these versatile little treats for everything! They work great for an impressive dessert without much prepping ahead of time.
You can fill them with anything you want, from pudding, to pastry cream, to chicken salad – for something savory! The puffs themselves have a fairly neutral flavor, and are not sweetened, so they work well however you can imagine using them.
With these, filled with the almond coconut whipped cream, they make an excellent dessert for a potluck or dinner party. Create a fun dessert tray with Earl Grey lemon bars, miso peanut butter cup cookies, and rocky road black bean brownies.
You can also include them as a side dish for brunch. Trying pairing these with something super sweet like bananas foster stuffed french toast. Or you could make mini breakfast sandwiches with vegan lentil-pecan sausage!
For a quick breakfast or snack, eat these alongside a cozy warm beverage, like chai white hot chocolate, or almond Irish coffee hot cocoa for a kick. For and even stronger evening treat, try these with chocolate turtle martinis.
Use Up Leftover Ingredients
- Heavy cream can be used for rich and creamy coffee ice cream, or strawberry ice cream sundaes.
- Use almond extract to make a fun cocktail, amaretto old fashioneds with cherry-almond ice.
- Fry up extra eggs for huevos rancheros with mango corn salsa.
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Easy Cream Puffs with Almond-Coconut Cream
Cream Puff Shells (Pâte à Choux)
- 1 Cup Flour
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 Cup Water
- 1/2 Cup Butter
- 4 Eggs room temperature
Almond Coconut Whipped Cream
- 2 Cups Heavy Cream
- 1/4 tsp Almond Extract
- 2 Tbsp Shredded Coconut
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper or lightly greasing. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt until combined.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil, and then add in the butter and stir gently until it melts. Do not let the water boil off, but as soon as the butter is melted, reduce the heat to low.
- Add the flour mixture all at once into the pot, and stir vigorously, with a wooden or silicone spoon, over medium heat, until the dough begins to form a ball and pull away from the edges. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, stirring each one in completely until the mixture is smooth, using a wooden or silicone spoon.
- Use a teaspoon or cookie scoop to drop the dough onto the baking sheets, about 2-inches apart. These will puff up and spread while they bake.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until fluffy and golden brown. Immediately move to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely to room temperature before filling.
- While the cream puffs cool, add the heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a large mixing bowl if using a hand mixer). Begin mixing on low, slowly increasing the speed to prevent splashing, until high.
- Mix until soft peaks form, then add in the almond extract and coconut flakes. Continue mixing on high until the whipped cream is stiff and holds its shape.
- Fill the cream puffs just before serving. Slice each in half horizontally, like a hamburger bun. Then spread or pipe (using a wide star tip) the whipped cream onto the bottom half, and gently place the other half on top.
- For another way to fill the cream puffs, you use a paring knife to cut a small x-shape in the bottom or side. Then use a piping bag to inject the whipped cream into the puffs.
- Make Ahead Tip: You will need to eat or freeze the shells within one day of baking. To freeze the uncut and empty shells, place them on a baking sheet, and freeze overnight. Then transfer to a zip-top bag to store for up to three months. To reheat, let the shells thaw on a baking sheet, and then bake at 350F for 10 minutes.
- Make Ahead Tip: You can make the whipped cream 3-4 days in advance, and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Variations: Cream puffs are so versatile. You can pretty much fill them with anything from pudding, to pastry cream, to frosting. Try adding different flavors to the whipped cream, using pie filling, or adding in fresh berries. You can sprinkle the filled puffs with powdered sugar or drizzle with a chocolate ganache.