My friend Kristine and I made these the other day. We started with a recipe from chocolate & vanilla and made it our own. A sweetened pate a choux dough is flavored with vanilla beans and coated in pearl sugar. These are very easy to make and totally addictive. I could not find a local supplier of pearl sugar. I recommend you order it online, I bought mine from the Baker's Catalogue.
Makes about 40
1 cup water
1 stick of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of vanilla sugar (you can also use regular granulated sugar)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cup all purpose flour
4 large eggs
pearl sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, sugar, salt and vanilla bean to a boil. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the flour, stirring until all the flour is absorbed and incorporated, about 1 minute. Remove the vanilla bean from the dough. Transfer the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir on medium speed for 1-2 minutes to allow the dough to cool slightly. Add 3 of the eggs, one at a time. Mix until the dough is smooth and the eggs are completely incorporated.
Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, pipe 1 inch dough mounds on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. The dough will double in size when baked, so leave about 2 inches of space in between each mound. Beat the remaining egg in a bowl to use as an egg wash. Brush the tops of the mounds with the egg wash and generously sprinkle with pearl sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until chouquettes are golden. Don't open the oven door during the baking process or the chouquettes might deflate, check the color by using your oven light. Remove from the oven and cool on the cookie sheet.