Vanilla Sugar Puffs

From Pure Vanilla by Shauna Sever. Published by Quark Books. Reprinted with permission. Photo by Leigh Beisch.

Vanilla Sugar Puffs

From Pure Vanilla by Shauna Sever. Published by Quark Books. Reprinted with permission. Photo by Leigh Beisch.

This recipe is from Pure Vanilla: Irresistible Recipes and Essential Techniques (Quirk Books, Hardcover, 160 pages, $22.95) by Shauna Sever, a wonderful cookbook that explores the history, gastronomy, and uses of our favorite spice and flavor -- vanilla. It also has 80 recipes, including this one.

This recipe is made using a dough called pâte à choix that creates light, airy puffs like that of creme puffs or eclairs.  The recipe calls for Swedish pearl sugar which is a baking sugar in the form of little white lumps of sugar that add both sweetness and an appealing finish.  Swedish pearl sugar can be bought at a baking supply store or at specialty on-line merchants like KingArthurFlour.com.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan, combine milk, 1/2 cup water, vanilla bean, butter, sugar, and salt. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Carefully remove vanilla bean and scrape any remaining seeds into liquid.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil. Add flour, lower heat to medium, and immediately begin stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon-don’t let up until the dough starts to come away from the sides of the pan and form a loose ball; a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring quickly to dry the dough, about 2 minutes more. The dough should now be very smooth and have lost most of its moist appearance.
  4. Transfer dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, on medium speed. You’ll think the dough is breaking apart and all is lost, but it will come together again when all the eggs have been added. Beat in vanilla extract. Drop dough by the tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between dollops.
  5. In a small bowl, beat together egg, vanilla extract, and salt, and 1 teaspoon water until well blended. Brush each puff with egg wash and sprinkle generously with pearl sugar.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking until puffs are deeply golden and sound hollow when their crisp exteriors are tapped, another 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully transfer puffs to a wire rack to cool a bit before serving.

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FrenchCookies

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