The name may be a little misleading. Imagine cream puffs without the cream in them. You might be thinking, “what’s the point?” but these light pastries are versatile. You can fill them with custard, sprinkle them with powdered sugar (as I did), dip them in chocolate or fill them with fruit. These can be fried or baked. I baked them because I was curious to  see how they would turn out.

It took me a few batches to get them right. The first couple times I didn’t bake them long enough and though they looked perfect coming out of the oven, the longer they sat (and cooled), the more they shrank. They looked like wrinkled balls of cooked dough. On the third try I let them bake until they were more golden brown before I took them out and made sure to leave them in the oven for at least 15 minutes.

The puffs, as their name suggests, are really light. They’re hollow inside which makes them great for filling or eating with fruit, whipped cream or sauces. With powder sugar on them they were just sweet enough to be satisfying without making me feel guilty.

Baked Puffs (from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)


  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) butter
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 425º F. Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper or grease them or use nonstick baking sheets.
  2. Combine the sugar, butter, salt and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and add the flour all at once. Stir constantly until the mixture pulls away from the pan and forms a ball, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and beat the eggs one at a time into the mixture, stirring until smooth for each addition. (see photo) 
  3. Drop spoonfuls of the dough onto the baking sheets. Bake until crisp and golden, 10 to 15 minutes.