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from "Small-Batch Baking" by Debby Maugans Nakos

Just because a dessert is special doesn't mean that it has to be difficult to make. You can make cream puffs in a few minutes, even when it seems you have nothing on hand for dessert. If you have flour, sugar, and salt in the pantry and eggs and butter in the fridge, golden pastry shells can be baking within ten minutes. Cradling a delicious filling, the pastries will taste and look impressive. A simple scoop of ice cream and a spoonful of chocolate syrup is the quickest way to serve them. But be creative with the fillings and sauces. For example, here the rich chocolate sauce is flavored with orange, coffee, and a little cardamom.

Makes 4 cream puffs; serves 2
 Small-Batch Baking

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, at room temperature
Coffee ice cream

Mocha Orange Sauce
1 medium-size orange
1/3 cup whipping (heavy) cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Pan required:
1 baking sheet

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1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
2. Pour 1/2 cup water into a small, heavy saucepan and add the butter, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium and add the flour. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan, 20 seconds. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 20 seconds. Then remove the pan from the heat and let it cool, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.
3. Pour the eggs into the flour mixture all at once, and beat well with a wooden spoon. The batter should be stiff enough to just hold soft peaks when the spoon is lifted. Spoon 4 equal-size mounds onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 3 inches apart. Bake the pastries for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and bake for 15 minutes more.
4. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and use a skewer to pierce the side of each pastry to allow steam to escape. Return the baking sheet to the oven and continue to bake until the pastries are golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven, transfer the parchment to a wire rack, and let the pastries cool completely.
5. To serve, cut the cream puffs in half horizontally (they will have hollow centers), fill the bottoms with small scoops of ice cream, and replace the tops. Place 2 filled cream puffs on each serving plate, and drizzle them with the Mocha Orange Sauce.
For the Mocha Orange Sauce (Makes about 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
1. Using a small sharp knife or a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the orange in strips. Scrape away any white pith that remains. Place the zest in a small saucepan and add the cream, sugar, coffee powder, and cardamom. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool completely.
2. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a small bowl and strain the sauce, pressing down hard on the orange zest. Discard the zest and return the strained cream mixture to the saucepan.
3. Bring the cream to a boil over medium-high heat and immediately remove it from the heat. Add the chocolate and swirl the saucepan to submerge the chocolate in the hot cream. Let it stand until the chocolate softens, 1 minute. Then stir until the sauce is smooth. (Store the sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in a microwave at medium power for 30 seconds and stir before using.)

Buy The Ingredients
Product nutrition and information
 Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
  Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream, Coffee - $5.49/ea
 14fl oz
  Navel Orange - $1.79/ea Save! 4 for $6
  Organic Valley Half & Half - $2.79/ea
 1 pint
  Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee - $6.99/ea
  FreshDirect Ground Cardamom
This product is currently unavailable.
  Scharffen Berger Bittersweet 70% Chocolate Bar - $4.29/ea plus tax
You May Already Have
  Horizon Organic Salted Butter - $6.99/ea
 4ct, 4oz ea
  Domino Granulated White Sugar - $2.79/ea
  La Baleine Coarse Sea Salt - $4.69/ea
  Just FreshDirect Unbleached All-Purpose Flour - $4.29/ea
  Alderfer Eggs Grade A Large Organic Eggs
This product is currently unavailable.
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