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Gluten-Free Mini Cream Puffs

Cream puffs can be intimidating—gluten-free or not. But when gluten-free pioneer Carol Fenster is teaching you how to make them, you know you’re in good hands! I first meet Carol when I was in Chicago doing a doughnut cooking demonstration (I made these Maple-Glazed Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Pumpkin Doughnuts) at the Gluten-Free & Allergen-Free Expo. I watched as she taught an audience full of people how to make gluten-free baguettes. Her calmness and baking expertise made me feel like it was possible to make any of Isaiah’s favorite foods gluten-free.

Gluten-Free 101 Cookbook

I’m excited to support her new cookbook, Gluten-Free 101: The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Easy Gluten-Free Cooking and share her recipe for Gluten-Free Mini Cream Puffs. Here are some of Carol’s tips and confidence-builders for cream puff–making:

1. Cream puffs may look hard to make, but in reality, they are really quite simple.
2. Serve these dainty little gems filled with whipped topping and dusted with powdered sugar.
3. Or drizzle with chocolate for a French touch.
4. Stir cocoa powder into the whipped topping for a chocolate filling.
5. Larger cream puffs (made with a larger ice cream scoop or spoon) make great sandwiches with savory fillings such as chicken salad, egg salad, or ham salad. Drop a dozen 2-inch mounds of dough on the baking sheet and bake as directed in Step 5, then slice in half just like a hamburger bun.

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Makes: 24 cream puffs

1⁄2 cup white or brown rice flour
1⁄4  cup potato starch
3⁄4  cup water
5 tablespoons butter or buttery spread
2 teaspoons sugar
1⁄4  teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whipped cream or whipped topping
1⁄2 cup gluten-free chocolate syrup
Powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Line a 9×13-inch baking sheet (not nonstick) with parchment paper. Whisk together the rice flour and potato starch and have it ready by the stovetop.
2. In a medium heavy saucepan, bring the water, butter, sugar, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the flour mixture all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon until the flour is no longer visible. Return the pan to the heat and continue stirring until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and a film forms on the bottom of the pan.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Beat in the eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed, one at a time, mixing well after each addition until smooth before adding the next egg. (Or, use a food processor to blend everything together.)
4. Using a 11⁄4-inch-diameter spring-action metal ice cream scoop or a small spoon, drop 24 mounds of dough (11⁄4 inches each) onto the baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. With a wet finger, press in protruding bits of dough so the top is smooth and the puffs will brown more evenly.
5. Bake for 15 minutes (20 minutes for large cream puffs), then reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF and continue baking until the cream puffs are deep golden brown, about another 10 minutes (another 15 minutes for large cream puffs). Remove the cream puffs from the oven. Immediately cut a 1-inch horizontal slit in the side of each cream puff, right where you will eventually cut them completely in half. Cool the cream puffs on the baking sheet on the wire rack. When completely cool, cut in half horizontally along the slit and fill with whipped cream or topping, about 2 teaspoons per cream puff. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon chocolate syrup and dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve immediately.

Reprinted with permission from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt by Carol Fenster (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, © 2014). Photo credit: Jason Wyche


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