sugar-puffs Recipes

sugar puffs

I have been wanting to make the sugar puffs known as chouquettes forever, or at least as long as it has been since I read about them for the first time on Chocolate and Zucchini. I loved Clotilde’s descriptions of buying them by weight in French bakeries and how the best part is eating the sugar crystals (by licking your finger and reaching in, of course) that have collected in the bottom of the bag. They’re apparently the after-school goûter, or snack of choice, for the French schoolkid set and though I might be getting a late start on them, I am quickly making up for lost time.

mini chips and pearl sugarblending in the flourpiping the moundschouquettes, ready to bake

Chouquettes are actually really simple: they are based on the “paste” or pâte à choux dough that is also used to form cream puffs, éclairs and gougères — a simple mix of water, melted butter, flour and eggs. There’s only a smidgen of sugar in them, which is why that craggy pearl sugar on top, or — who are we kidding — a deluge of miniature chocolate chips, are so essential. And it was precisely the absence of that pearl sugar that caused my, ahem, five-plus year delay in making them.

sugar puffs

I finally grabbed some at G. Detou, a bakers paradise, in Paris in October, blind to the fact that there is a store in my neighborhood that sells them and an Internet full of sites where they can be ordered as well (I’ve listed sources at the end.) I don’t regret holding out for them. They are texturally different than I’d expected; I imagined a large, hard sugar crystal, instead, they’re more like a million tiny ones squished together — they crunch like toast crumbs. If I ever get that chocolate pretzel cookie recipe right, I will be using them there as well, because I much prefer them to coarse sugar, but of course, in a pinch, it will do as well.

chouquette, puffy!

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Sugar Puffs [Chouquettes]
Adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini and David Lebovitz

Makes about two dozen, depending on the size

1 cup (250 ml) water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (90 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup (135 gram) flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Glaze: 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 teaspoon milk

Toppings: Pearl sugar [see places to buy them at the end] and/or miniature chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a cookie sheet with a reusable nonstick baking mat or parchment paper.

Heat the water, salt, sugar, and butter in a meduim saucepan, stirring, until the butter is melted. Remove the pot from the heat heat and dump all the flour in at once. Mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a smooth ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Let the dough cool for five minutes, then briskly beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the dough is smooth and shiny. [At this point you can cover the pot and chill it in the fridge for up to a day.]

Using two spoons, a piping bag fitted with a wide tip, a zip-lock bag with a one-inch corner cut off or a spring-loaded large cookie scoop, pipe or scoop the dough into walnut-sized mounds spaced evenly on the baking sheet.

(If you find your dough to be a bit thin at this point, as you can see mine was in the photos, do not fret. They still puff just fine. And if they don’t, David says he sees bakeries all over Paris selling flat ones, so perhaps you’re just being trendy!)

Brush the top of each mound with some of the egg glaze then press coarse sugar crystals or miniature chocolate chips over the top and sides of each mound. You want to be generous because the puffs will expand a lot, and you’ll want that area to be covered.

Bake the cream puffs for 20 to 35 minutes, or until puffed and well-bronzed. (Yes, this is a rather long range in baking time but I know that in choux recipes especially, baking times can greatly vary depending on the heat of an oven and how fast it browns the top of items. Watch for that nicely bronzed color rather than a precise cooking time.)

Do ahead: Sugar puffs are best the day that they’re made. I find if they’re stored overnight in an airtight container, they get damp on top and the sugar and chips will slide off, though you can easily re-crisp them in the oven If you can deal with them being a bit dryer on day two you can leave them out unwrapped. Chouquettes can also be frozen in a freezer bag for up to a month, and re-crisped in the oven once defrosted.In addition, you can store the unpiped/scooped dough in the fridge for up to a day.

Places to buy sucre perlé or coarse white sugar: The Baker’s Catalogue, L’Epicerie, Ikea (!), Amazon and if you’re in New York City, the Cake and Baking Supply store on 22nd Street.

I bought mine at G. Detou in Paris in October, tra-la-la, along with a vial of the fattest vanilla beans ever, more Dijon mustard than normal people would go through in a decade yet regrettably not the 3-kilo super low-priced box of Valrhona cocoa, because I had no room left in my suitcase. And yes, I am still kicking myself.

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126 comments on sugar puffs

  1. Kaley

    Ahhh, so I am not the only one who develops giant crushes on people I only know through their writing? Wonderful! :)

    Longtime reader; I may have commented once or twice. Anyway, I’m a college student who wishes she could cook like you do, but my general state of not wanting to spend much money/time on food prep limits me. However…I did just make your almond vanilla rice pudding from a while ago, and ’tis wonderful.

  2. Wow- those look great- light and delicious!

    I saw your name attached to some text about cupcakes in Martha Stewart. I got really excited when I realized who it was. I said to myself, “Hey, I know her.” But then I realized that I really don’t know you . . . I just stalk you on your blog. Congrats on the Martha gig- I feel like once you make it into Martha you have pretty much “arrived.” Thanks for all the good recipes and helpful hints on cooking!

  3. Those look mouth watering! I was totally sold by the photo where you can see the moist yet fluffy looking inside. I think I may have to give these a try with the easy-to-get chocolate first, before I go hunting around for sugar crystals. Absolutely delicious. Oh to be a Paris schoolchild.

    And in the back of my head I feel like I’ve seen a savory version of these somewhere…

  4. liz

    the imported pearl sugar on amazon costs a pretty penny – but it’s also there (called “hail sugar”) for $6.99 for a pound and a half, sold by chefshop. is this really the same thing?? thanks so much for the beautiful post, i am totally inspired.

  5. Debra,
    Chouquettes are my FAVORITE thing to buy in Paris!!!!
    Each patisserie makes them a different way. I love the ones with just sugar on top and that stick together. You buy them by the seven in most places.
    I eat the whole bag in one shot! Just pop em in!

    Clotilde has a great little cookbook with nice recipes.
    When is YOURS coming out?????
    Congrats on your articles!
    Stacey Snacks

  6. Kim

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing about where I can buy pearl sugar. I am quite obsessed with the Belgian waffle truck in Park Slope each Saturday and when I looked up the recipe I lamented how inaccessible pearl sugar was. Alas, no longer! Thank you! Liege waffles at home here I come!

  7. Okay, yum. That looks decadent, but light at the same time!
    And, it is a relief to know that other people’s baking sheets get all brown and spotty and can’t be scrubbed back to their original stainless steel/nonstick glory… I’ve given up on mine. ;)

  8. Bill Cunningham is amazing –I’ve loved his work for years and it’s such a kick to have his voice added to the pictures; his glee, his willingness to be delighted, is practically contagious. (Sometimes I wish he would shoot somewhere besides the corner of 57th and 5th, though.)

  9. One thing I do if I’m able to visit Paris is stock up on chouquette sugar. I love these little puffs and they are actually quite easy to make. I like the addition of little chocolate chips. YUM!

  10. Okay so I was looking for something to make for dinner… now I just feel like forfeiting dinner altogether and instead eating a whole tray of these. Would that be wrong?

  11. Victoria

    Finally, something that’s hard to find in the US but is everywhere in Sweden – usually it’s the other way around! Pearl sugar is very common in Swedish baking; we put it on our cinnamon buns and various cookies, so no wonder Ikea has it really.

    The sugar puffs are adorable – I have to give this recipe a go sometime soon!

  12. Teresa

    Never heard of kichel? It’s a staple “dessert” at my husband’s family’s Jewish holiday dinners. I can’t believe these would taste anything like kichel, because to me kichel has no taste – it’s like baked wallpaper paste…

  13. ooooh!! these look like profiteroles. they’re simply gorgeous. would so love to have a whole tray of them as they look like they’d go down easily.

  14. deutlich

    Mine definitely turned out flat. I’m sure I didn’t follow the recipe correctly.

    Either way – they are deeeelicious.

    Thank you!

  15. Hi Deb,
    Would it be very wrong from me to interpret this post as a sign you miss Paris and its bakeries? I know you and Alex already had a week there in October, but maybe you’d like to go back… Or maybe this post will convince your readers to go. I’m planning to go to NY end march – beginning of April, and I was wondering if an apartment exchange could make someone as happy as me. My place is surely not as nice as where you stayed last time, but I promise to fill the fridge with baratte butter and other French goodies! :-)
    Let me know if you’re interested and want to know more
    Mélanie (nanni_33@yahoo.fr)

  16. Nancy from PA

    Your description of pearl sugar rang a bell. After a search, I found a 500g box of Swedish ‘Pärlsocker’ in the back of my cupboard. It’s a good thing sugar doesn’t have a shelf life. Yum….just yum. Thanks for another keeper.

  17. Oh my soul how cute are these! I had a friend visit Paris last year and I’ve been longing to go ever since.

    And don’t I wish Melanie wanted to visit Nova Scotia, Canada ;) I’d trade in a heartbeat!

  18. Confession: I have a cookbook from Chocolate & Zucchini that I got from a friend. Right on the front it says “From the maker of chocolateandzucchini.com”. Did I notice that before? Nope, I’m clueless. Thanks for leading me to another great cooking blog.

  19. i get my kids their supply of Chouquettes from a local french bakery in Melbourne called Filou’s. To date i have never dared to make them as i thought it would be way to complicated, but after looking at yours i’m inspired!

  20. deb

    Hi Melanie — How cool is my life that total strangers offer me apartment swaps in Paris? Alas, we have a whole mess of plans in the March to April zone, so it wouldn’t work out. But, I think there are about 1,000 readers out there that might jump to take my place! :)

  21. Leland Paul

    Hello!

    So, I just can’t seem to get this recipe to work, which is very sad, given that they look delightful and every other recipe of yours I’ve ever tried was absolutely delightful. I’ve tried this twice, and both times completely failed to have the dough pull away and form a ball after adding the flour. The first time around I stirred (vigorously!) until the whole thing had cooled to room temperature, and nothing happened; the second time around I just added more flour (I ended up almost doubling this), which certainly got it to form a ball, but still didn’t make it dry enough to hold up to the eggs (which reduced back to a completely watery state).

    I’m very confused – is there something I’m missing?

    -Leland

  22. Cameron Baum

    I’ve seen pearl sugar at Asian groceries, especially ones that sell Indonesian food. It’s quite inexpensive too, something like $3-4 for a 1lb. box.

  23. My last trip to France included a few days in Lyon for work, and around the corner from the office on the main pedestrian plaza there was a chain bakery that sold chouquettes four/euro and good lord, I ate bags of them. I can’t wait to make them myself! (And yes, the sugar is the best part, but since I’m someone who sort of thinks cream puffs are ruined by filling them with cream, the puff is pretty awesome too.)

  24. These sound awesome, and I love the addition of teeny chocolate chips. It figures that the after school snack for French children is something like this, they do everything right.

  25. Not that you necessarily want this comments section to become a laundry list of places to buy pearl sugar, but I did pick some up at Sur La Table a few weeks ago. My intention was to use it as the crunchy-sweet topper for homemade panettone, but Christmas came and went, panettone-less, and I still have the pearl sugar. Looks like I will be putting it to use on these beauties!

  26. These are absolutely beautiful! And perfect! I am amazed at how your baking is always so neat and tidy. Always spaced perfectly on the pan. No smears of dough … no huge blobs of anything where it doesn’t belong. I fling flour and dough and sugar crystals all over the place when I cook. Does Alex come behind you and wipe up your blobs or are you really that neat? :)

    Thanks for posting such a great variety of foods. You have provided so many new things to try…I love it!

  27. Mireille

    I tried making gougeres once, but they turned flat ( I formed them using a spoon). I was just curious, do you think it depends on the thickness or the thinness of the dough? Would you have any tips? Thanks. Love how your puffs turned out!

  28. alicia

    1, These look delicious – perhaps I’ll give these a try for my next book club meeting.
    2, I LOVE Bill Cunningham’s voice! And I LOVE that he just wanders around NYC taking pics of anyone & anything he finds interesting. But really it’s his voice that keeps me coming back!

  29. deb

    Teresa — Just being Jewish does not mean that someone grew up eating traditional Yiddish foods. I also never ate kreplach, tsimmes or borscht growing up!

    Leland — Unfortunately, it’s so hard for me to say what is happening in your kitchen without being there. You’re looking for something like you see in the third picture (the top right one of the 4-photo collage) — seeing as the recipe is mostly butter and water at that point, it really should never stick to the sides of the pot.

    Dianne — Thanks, I will add that to the list. I learned when giving feves-buying advice while making chocolate chip cookies that you can never have enough sources.

    Michelle — Thank you. I am using a 40D these days and am renting this lens this week. The rest of our photo information is in this post.

    Mireille — Unfortunately, the only feedback I can give from afar is that these guys can be tricky and because there are so few ingredients, even something like a slightly mismeasured cup of flour or water or extra large instead of large eggs can curse them.

  30. Martha in KS

    I’ve made thousands of mini puffs for my catering business & have found that the cooked dough can be plopped into a food processor & eggs added one at a time. Saves a lot of hand beating & works just as well.

  31. Susan

    In my Joy of Cooking cream puff dough they have you cook the paste for up to a minute after flour is added to the butter and water. That dough doesn’t have the sugar in it though. I’ve never had it fail. Is the added sugar the reason it’s taken off the heat before the flour is added?

  32. SmartCookie

    Deb, I have tried this recipe twice already this morning and the mixture is more like batter than dough. What gives? The first time I thought I might have measured incorrectly (would not have been the first time), but the second time I was extremely careful. Since I am plotzing to taste these adorable treats, any suggestions on how I can get the right consistency for the dough would be greatly appreciated. Love your site, by the way.

  33. deb

    So, I’d say you have three options: First, as you can see, mine were also like batter, but they puffed just as they should so I didn’t fuss. So option one is to bake a few off and see how they do. Second, you can let the dough sit for a while. By the time I was on my next batch (45 mins later), the flour had absorbed more and they were then scoopable. Third, you could add an additional tablespoon or two of flour until it gets to be the right consistency. But, I would at least bake a couple off first (option 1) in their puddle state to be sure it is necessary.

  34. Dawn in CA

    Just lovely. This is an item that is on my baking to-do list, as well. Have you ever made popovers? They are like an American, muffin-sized version of chouquettes. One of my favorite savory versions has parmesan, black pepper and lemon… yum. Half the fun is watching them puff up in the oven. ;)

  35. Karen

    These look absolutely wonderful and I will be trying these in the next few days. I made gougeres from the Zuni cookbook last week and can see how these are in the same family. One question though: when you refrigerate the dough, do you let them come to room temperature before baking? Or just bake them cool? (I saw you could refrigerate the gougere dough too.)

    I’ve seen the pearl sugar in my grocery store and I’m sure you can also get it from Sweet Celebrations (which used to be Maid of Scandinavia).

    (Thanks for a great blog. I look forward to your posts.)

  36. Smaller Than Your’s Kitchen

    FYI: You high altitude folks, keep them small or they will flop when done. I’d like to know a secret at how to get the toppings on without making a mess or getting way sticky fingers…..

  37. Hello Deb,

    I have been visiting your blog for a long time now. You are truly a talented woman :). I haven’t made cream puffs in years and now I think I need to whip up a batch of chouquettes, yours look perfect and nummy!

  38. Colin

    Hey Deb! I just finished making these, and I’m probably sure I did something wrong.

    Everything was going great until I realized the first batch, which was already 15 minutes in the oven, had no egg mixture on top. I tried to get it on, however by the time they were anywhere near okay, the bottoms were burnt (I think I used the wrong pan for it), and the egg mixture was yellow on top.

    The second attempt was better, but some, when taken out of the oven, deflated. Others had no bottom when I took them off the tray, they had burnt off whatever bottom they were going for.

    My last batch were completely fine, brown on the top, brown on the bottom, but now some have deflated. Any help? Did I overmix, or something?

    I had a strawberry curd and whipped cream prepared for them, and although the second batch had no bottoms, they did make excellent cups. As a note — failure tastes amazing with strawberry curd.

  39. Angela

    I have a recipe for pate a choux from the King Arthur cookbook that I use all the time, and it calls for the water to come to a fast boil before dumping in the flour. Maybe some of the people having problems could try that? Otherwise the recipes are very similar. I also usually let the dough cool a little more (the recipe says until you can stick a finger in it and hold it for several seconds) which I think makes them flatten out less.

  40. lauren in the tundra

    Hi Deb,

    LOVE all your recipes. I had similar troubles to Leland the first time I tried it. I went scouring the net for some clues as to where I went wrong. And tada! The 2nd time I tried it I left the pot on the stove while I mixed in the flour, although I did turn down the heat a bit. Dragon’s kitchen said it was ok if a little crust formed so I just went with it. It totally made the dough form into a ball and pull from the sides, thus “drying” out the dough. I think Leland and I just needed to have the flour enter the pot at a higher temperature. Otherwise, you end up with really (and I mean really) thin batter!!!

    p.s. I poured the mistake batching into muffin tins. We’ll see what happens!!

    Thanks,
    Lauren

  41. Susan

    I looked again at several Pate Choux recipes and would say, at the very least, to bring the water/butter to a full boil before you take it off the heat to beat in the flour. That should let it steam off enough moisture (while you mix it vigorously) to make the dough come together better.

  42. I’m making these sugar puffs as I type and my first batch turned out beautifully except that the mini chocolate bits burned. Do I need to use a higher quality chocolate? I used turbinado sugar on the others and they turned out great!

  43. I had to make these as soon as I read the bit about the french school kid set. How have I been so remiss all these years? My poor little cherubs, sans chouquettes. Thank you for rescuing their collective childhood from certain disaster.

  44. Julia

    I also loved the cupcake article in Martha Stewart! You said you got to try a bite of the cupcakes- lucky! If you could only choose one of them, which would you bake?

  45. Mary

    A couple of suggestions for various commenters: Sometimes you will have trouble with this dough if you do not make sure each egg is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next. For “Smaller than Yours Kitchen,” I can’t help you with your sticky fingers, unless you want to sprinkle from a spoon, but when I am doing something that might get sugar/flour/whatever all over the place, I first spread a large dish towel over the counter. It catches most of the mess and can be swept off into the sink and tossed into the washer. Also, things like pearl sugar and sprinkles don’t bounce on it and roll behind the many impediments that necessarily live on my counter.

  46. Stacey

    My husband and I made these for dessert last night and while they tasted great, all but two ended up flat. They puffed while baking and then sank. Any ideas why they did this? Could they have been too big? Before baking, they were about 2 inches across.

  47. Denise

    These look FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC!!! Can’t wait to try them.
    You have solved a mystery for me… I have always wondered what the sweet, crunchy bits that topped my favorite mexican sweet bread (pan dulce) were and now I know… it is the sucre perle. YUM!!!

  48. Amanda

    These look great but are there ANY options out there for a vegan version of these? They look so egg-rich that I wouldn’t know where to start for substitutes.

  49. Matt

    I was also on the hunt for pearl sugar for over 2 years after a trip to Italy where I enjoyed some Liege waffles with pearl sugar. I was finally able to find some at a Cub Foods outside of Minneapolis and then recreate the delicious waffles. I made sure to buy extra, so I’ll have to try this recipe!

  50. Jill

    I made them today and while they look gorgeous and perfectly puffy, they are REALLY eggy. I should have expected that since there are so many eggs in the recipe.

  51. Aisha

    Oh my! I may sound like some sort of unearthly mutated freakish creature, but I AM french, LIVE in PARIS and couldn’t care less for – not to say, ahem, hate – chouquettes! They’re a favourite at parties in my workplace (probably because it’s easier for us med students/residents/doctors to swing by a patisserie before work and buy a bag of them than to bake stuff from scratch). I think Jill may have a point: my aversion to them probably stems from their excessive “eggy-ness”…
    However, made your Pasta puttanesca yesterday: yum yum yum!

  52. JB in San Diego

    I had an excuse to whip these out last night and got compliments on them. I didn’t have pearl sugar so I covered the tops with turbinado… it added enough sweetness but of course didn’t have the same effect of creating little explosions of sugar in your mouth as the pearl sugar. More importantly I wanted to mention that the recipe seems very forgiving. I was trying to be quick, didn’t let the batter cool for very long after melting the butter, and did a very messy job with my improvised piping bag, and had a variety of sizes and shapes on the baking sheet; but they all puffed up nicely and looked beautiful.

  53. Nan

    I’m so glad you posted this – I will be serving a French luncheon to my book club next month and these would be perfect for the dessert table…I only wish I could make them a day ahead but it sounds like they need to be eaten the day they’re made…oh well, can’t have everything! Thanks!

  54. AnotherSarah

    Just made these and they came out pretty good. I think I made them too big, they looked like little jelly donuts. Having no pearl sugar on hand, I used Turbinado on some and confectioners sugar on others. The kids seemed to like the coverage the confectioners gave, but they were definitely donut-like rather than cookie-like.

  55. Nancy

    I had the same problem…my first batter was VERY thin. I ended up adding almost 3 cups of flour to get a dough to form before I called it quits.
    The second attempt, I added the flour while the mixture was on the stove and mixed it there over a low heat. A dough formed. HOWEVER, when I incorporated the eggs, one at a time, the whole mixture got really runny again. I am baking these to see if they’ll puff, but I doubt it.
    Could you clarify the recipe perhaps a little better? I would like to make these–I think my American children attending a preschool in Japan would like to learn about France in this way. ;)
    Thanks,
    Nancy

  56. Jen

    I had trouble with this one too, so I think I must be missing something. Does the water/butter have to be a certain temperature? I saw that the butter was melted, but I didn’t see if it was warm or anything. My batter was very runny. I baked some of it, and I could tell that it wanted to puff up, but it was so liquid-y.

    I’ll keep checking back for tips!

  57. Margaret Spear

    Oh, no, you left out two really, really important things. I feel so bad for the people who had problems, and especially for the ones who then blamed it on themselves. I have made these occasionally for over thirty years so I know something about how to do it wrong and how to do it right. You absolutely must bring the water and butter to a boil. You absolutely must cook them until the tops are dry, dry, dry. If you mess up the first thing, some won’t form their bottoms right when they cook and there will be holes which is a danged inconvenience if you’re planning to fill them with custard. Additionally, they won’t puff up all perky. They will be rounded and, not to be unduly critical because, hey, you are the one with the cooking blog, but the ones in your photographs are not exactly perky. If you mess up the second thing, they will collapse as they cool, which is disappointing for looks and also because they will be a bit damp instead of crispy crunchy knock your socks off perky. Again, I know I’m not the blogger here, but it would be nice if you’d let all those disappointed cooks know it’s not their fault.

  58. Margaret Spear

    chocolate and zucchini:

    “Make sure you have all the ingredients measured out before you start. Combine the butter, salt, sugar, and 1 cup (240 mL) fresh water in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat, add the flour all at once, and stir quickly with a wooden spoon until well blended. Return the pan over medium-low heat and keep stirring until the mixture forms a smooth ball that pulls away from the sides of the pan”

    see, simmer, aka boil. you. must. do. this.

  59. Graciela

    So I’ve made these 3 times now and here are some things that worked for me and might be helpful to others. 1.) I only used 3 eggs instead of 4 to avoid some of the runny batter and a crazy eggy taste. 2.) I brought the water and butter to a rolling boil and I did this in both a stainless steel sauce pan and a nonstick. The stainless steel works much better. 3.) I mixed the flour into the water/butter mixture while it was still on the stove, but with the flame off. 4.) I swapped out a couple of spoonfuls of APF for 100% Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, but still kept the overall flour measurement to 1 cup. 5.) My oven was very, very hot, which I read on another site is helpful in making these. I put the Chouquettes into the oven well past the preheat buzzer went off.

    One of my batters didn’t pull away into a smooth ball, but rather, was more like a very thick pudding but it still puffed up. Maybe not perfectly but I was able to fill them with pastry cream.

  60. Megan

    The recipe sounds so simple when first read but I found it quite challenging. I made the first batch before reading the comments below and ended up with eggy muffins. Yuck!

    But after a couple more batches of trial and error, I found these hints very helpful:
    1. BOIL water, butter, sugar, and salt. The mixture can be removed from heat when flour is added.
    2. I used 3 eggs instead of 4 in the batter to avoid over eggy-ness and runny batter.
    3. I used to baking stone on the lowest rack when baking.
    4. I experimented with chocolate, white chocolate, and peanut butter chips. They all burned the first 2 trials but the chocolate chips were perfect in the 3rd when I added them halfway through the baking process. (The others still burned.)

    Hope this helps!

  61. Nan

    I had the same problem very very runny. But then the recipe up top which I printed out said nothing about keeping it on the heat low OR boiling the mixture. I guess that is where I went wrong. I took it word for word. I ended up with a gigantic eggy runny mess and no eggs left in the house. Nightmare!

    I will try again when I’m over it. Which I’m clearly not. My little 5 year old kept checking the oven saying ‘no puff there, nope, no puff’. rub it in!!!

  62. Aubrey

    This recipe is awful!
    First of all, they are so bland and boring.
    It’s too difficult to brush the egg whites onto the moist little puffs before you cook them.
    They turned out looking perfect, they were really cute. But so bland and boring. Not worth making at all.

  63. Jessica

    I really think it’s true that there’s something wrong with this recipe. Deb, any chance you could take another look at it? Seriously, if you combine 1 c water and 1 c flour and 6 T butter, that ratio does not equal the clingy dough you picture. It just doesn’t! Thanks!

  64. Susan from Portland, OR

    First of all — I love smittenkitchen! I just last night finally got through all the archives.
    Secondly, if I may offer some advice to those here who have had difficulties with this recipe…
    I was excited to see this recipe because I love these when I buy them at a fancy little coffeeshop, and I was looking forward to making them at home. When I read through the recipe, I realized it was VERY VERY SIMILAR to the middle layer of a recipe I’ve made before called “Danish Puff Pastry” (from an old Betty Crocker cookbook). I ended up making two batches of this becuase the first batch didn’t make a ball of dough (which it seems was the problem for several other people). I was confused greatly because I’ve never had a problem with the Danish Puff Pastry. I double checked that old recipe and found that it had very similar ratios (namely 1 cup water to 1 cup flour). HOWEVER, the Danish Puff Pastry recipe reads: “Heat margarine and water to rolling boil; remove from heat. Quickly stir in flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute; remove from heat.” When I made my second batch of this recipe, and followed the Danish Puff Pastry instructions (that is, have water at rolling boil, and kept stirring — it does take about a minute), a ball of dough formed that didn’t stick to the pan, and the end results were perfect, and looked just like Deb’s pictures. Maybe if you guys try making them again with boiling water, it’ll work out. I know I’ve never had any problems making the Danish Puff Pastry, and again, the second batch of sugar puffs came out perfectly.
    And for the record, I tried fixing my soupy first batch of dough by heating it up on the stove, and while I did eventually get a ball of dough that looked right, the end results were all wrong. They didn’t puff at all, so I just had little disks. They were yummy, and I ate them, they just weren’t, you know, PUFFS.
    Hope this helps.

  65. jean

    Oh no, I wish I had read the comments before making these last night! I was doing fine and got a ball of dough, but when i added the eggs, the batter became really runny. I added more flour but it didnt really help in the puffing. My poor little wannabe-puffs puffed up slightly in the oven but collasped the moment I took them out of the heat. I ended up with sugar-topped pancakes!! No one in my family likes pancakes, so I ate them all by myself *cue miserable pout*

    haha but now with these new tips I shall try again tonight! hopefully they puff up this time!

  66. JP

    After 3 failed attempts and a lot of frustration (which stems mostly from my failure to read this comment thread before attempting the recipe a second and third time), I produced a successful (and delicious) batch of poof balls on the 4th attempt because I let the water come to a rolling boil, and used 3 eggs instead of four. Thank you, Megan and Graciela! Your adjustment made this recipe perfect!

  67. Kathy

    Oh Deb, I don’t think I’ve ever read about so many disastrous results in the comments section! Ouch. I have made a similar recipe twice, with a 50% success rate (that’s a 50% failure rate too, btw). In my successful attempt, I waited until the puffs were “almost” cooked, then quickly reached in a stabbed each one with a bamboo skewer. I think this helped dry out the center and they didn’t deflate when cooling.

  68. Andrea

    I was having trouble with mine being runny too. But I looked through the comments and tried the one that said to let the liquid mixture boil and then it worked great! So if it is too runny just let the liquid boil before adding the flour.

  69. Garima

    Just made them. Good thing I did not look at the comments section beforehand else would have never tried them.What a sad thing that would have been! That being said, the first 2 batches really did not come out well.. They deflated and stuck to the sheet, by the time i made the third batch, the batter had stiffened up a bit and they were just perfect..Next time would just let the dough sit for a while.

  70. It’s too bad so many people had such a tough time with this. I made them (with a few tips from commenters: boiling water, only 3 eggs) and was surprised at how easy they were to make. I definitely don’t thinking cutting out one egg was necessary, my batter was actually too thick, although they still puffed up beautifully. I am glad I tested out the recipe once before the day I actually need to serve them.

    thanks deb for another great recipe!

  71. Mikki

    this was an epic fail for me too. i just threw my mix in the bin without even attempting to cook it and made madeleines instead. this recipe really should be amended to say that the mix should be really heated/boiling and possibly even on the heat when adding the flour as im pretty sure this was my problem too.
    sorry deb. will be trying again though another day!

  72. Scott

    I think I know what’s going wrong with other peoples attempts.

    BOIL the water butter mixture instead of having it over a gentle heat.

  73. Amber

    Just made these.
    Used 3 eggs.
    Didn’t have butter so I used oil.
    Also, boiled the water, sugar, salt, and oil.

    Instead of putting chocolate chips or sugar on top, I carved holes at the bottoms and filled the puffs with melted chocolate..I’m not even a chocolate fan, but they’re amazingggg.

    Some of them began to flatten out a little but none of them fully flattened. :)

  74. Emily

    I solved the batter-is-too-thin problem!! I tried one batch, and the batter was wayyy too thin, and wouldn’t form into a ball at all. So, I tried a second batch, and dumped everything in the pot as said in the recipe…EXCEPT, instead of a full cup of water, I put in about 3/4 of a cup. I brought everything to a simmer-boil type of thing, and immediately brought it off the heat and dumped the flour in and started stirring. This time the dough came together very quickly, and from there I added in the additional 1/4 cup of water in two splashes, continuing to stir vigorously to bring everything together. From there I followed the recipe, and everything turned out great! A note….really wait for that well bronzed look, I took my first pan out a bit too early and they fell and were slightly too doughy. Still delicious, just a tad bit underdone. And I was so pleased to tell everyone that I’d made a French pastry. It just sounds so sophisticated. :)

  75. Chantel

    I bought some pearl sugar from King Arthur Flour. Not the same as Chouquette Sucre. The individual pieces were much smaller and melts much quicker. Very disappointed with it.

    Not at Sur la Table locally. Not at IKEA locally. Not at Asian markets.

    I bought some Chouquette Sucre when I was in Paris this past May and have used almost all of it and am very sad that I can not find more to replace it!

    I put this lovely sugar on muffins and fruit breads when baking. I have also made your above recipe and love it and the results!

    Any suggestions as to where I can purchase the correct Chouquette Sucre in California??

  76. Jess

    First time I made these without reading the comments first and failed miserably! They puffed up very exaggeratedly in the oven then deflated to pancakes when out of the oven. Comments definitely helped me. Made it a second time today and turned out wonderful. Not sure if 220deg Celsius is the right temp? cos mine were a lot browner than the ones pictured above, and the choc chips would burn lest i put them on AFTER the puffs were done and out of the oven. Eventually i got sick of arranging the choc chips one by one on the puffs i just melted some chocolate in the microwave and dipped the top side of the puffs in.
    They taste amazing though. yes, boring with no topping on. but AMAZING with the chocolate. Also interesting how they are so hot and crispy just out of the oven, then cools to the regular softer, more moist puff texture.
    Thanks. made this for youth’s brother night. hope they enjoy it

  77. I’ve just found you and can’t wait to try these. We were in France over the holidays and were CRAZY about these — and yes, me crazy about bying them by their weight.Can’t wait to try these

  78. Jacqueline

    Perhaps it’s me…and that is likely the case, but has anyone encountered problems with the dough not pulling away from the sides of e pan after you add in ebflour? My mixture came out really runny. Help! What am I doing wrong?

  79. Sophie

    Hi Deb,

    Do you have a quick recommendation for a gift I can bake here, bring with me to France this weekend, and give on Christmas to my boyfriend’s French relatives when I meet them at their home? For the first time? Is this really happening?

    I’ve found pretty much endless inspiration here (and.. on Martha Stewart’s website, and through endless phone calls with my grandmother…) for a holiday gift that I need to make this Thursday, which I need to then fly to France with me on Friday, which I will then need to give to my boyfriend’s French grandparents (hello, hi, nice to meet you, do I count as American if I’m from Manhattan?), aunts, and uncles as a holiday gift (and in the latter case, a housewarming present).

    At this point, I’ve settled on family biscotti (travel well) and your chocolate peanut spread.. but I keep falling in love with things like these gorgeous chouquettes! Any advice?

    Thank you so much!

  80. Diane M.

    Tried this recipe twice but batter was too runny. Chouquettes were flat. Finally third time was a charm and chouquettes were absolutely perfect. Difference consisted of using 7 tbsp of butter although six would have been good too. Added 1/2 teaspoon of active dry yeast and one 9 g pack of vanilla sugar (dr oetker brand). Instead of using four large eggs i used three. If the eggs are small or batter is dry then use four. I found three to be perfect. Process was different too. First bring water and butter to a boil (i have a gas range and did so on medium heat). Once your water/ butter is melted and boiling, remove from heat, put in salt, yeast and flour all at once and stir vigorously with wooden spoon. Trust me it will look just like the picture up top. Let it cool for five minutes or so. Then put in sugar and vanilla sugar along with one egg. Beat it in with an electric mixer. Then second egg, and then third. Smear butter on a baking sheet and you are ready to scoop one teasppon sized batter. To make sure chouquettes dont fall you preheat oven at 200 celsius (392 degrees fahrentheit) and cook for 15 minutes then lower heat to 175 celsius (347 fahrenheit) and cook for another 10-15 minutes. This dries out the dough and prevents from falling. Or if you dont want to break your head with lowering and raising oven temps you could always set your oven on convection bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 15 minutes and remove. Your call. This time i did it with convection at 375 and some did fall while most stayed nice and fluffy. Next time i will do the two step no convection process. Hope this helps.

  81. Hi Deb! I just tried making these, and had a frustrating go — but I really want to understand what I did wrong! Perhaps foolishly, I added a few teaspoons of cocoa powder and one of cinnamon to the mixture in the first step. Aside from that, I followed your recipe to the letter, but it never pulled together into a dough; the consistency is like thick melted ice cream. Could adding that amount of spice actually have thrown the whole thing off? I’d appreciate your thoughts!

  82. Melissa

    Is it possible to fill these, like you would with a regular cream puff? I’m planning to do a little gender reveal treat for my husbands coworkers next week and wanted to do something along the lines of filling them with pink/blue filling?

  83. Erica

    Just tried these, but followed the suggestions from the comments–I let the water/butter mixture come to a full boil, and immediately added the flour (but turned the burner off). It balled up almost right away. I also only used 3 eggs. I ended up with a sticky, relatively thick dough, and baked about 24 minutes at 425 (made sure the oven was all the way heated, since I heard the high heat is important for these). They puffed up great and held their shape really well. Next time I’m planning on filling them with a pastry cream or chocolate ganache