Having just come back from a crazy family road trip to the Bay Area (think straight into San Fran for one day, the Wine Country for another day, and through Berkeley straight home the third), I needed some rest. So I slept in Sunday, woke up bleary and made some choux pastry. Of course. And then I spent the remainder of the day reading, watching Disney movies and drinking hot chocolate.
Pearl sugar studded Chouquettes
Adapted from David Lebovitz, "The Sweet Life in Paris"
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup pearl sugar (sold at Ikea! or at Scandinavian baking stores, I suppose)
1/4 cup chocolate chips (Optional)
1. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Heat water, salt, sugar and butter in a saucepan (it should be large enough to hold the battter). Stir until the butter is melted.
3. Remove from heat, dump all the flour in at once and stir rapidly until the mixture is smooth and forms a mound of paste that doesn't break up.
4. Cool the dough for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Then beat in the eggs one at a time, until the paste is smooth and shiny. If using chocolate chips, cool completely to room temperature and stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Drop two tablespoons of the dough onto the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
6. Press pearl sugar over the top and sides of each mound (as much as possible). Try to keep them off the parchment paper because they'll melt and burn quickly.
7. Bake for about 15 to 17 minutes or until puffed and browned.* Serve warm or at room temperature.
*The book says 35 minutes but for some reason mine were done in half the time. Check occasionally - you want the pastry browned so it will keep its shape, but not burnt.