Creative Cream Puffs: Swans, Anyone?

I know, I know. It’s nearly Mother’s Day, and I’m explaining how to take cream puffs to a whole new level by crafting the dough into swans.

Here’s the thing. For me, an afternoon baking, undisturbed is nearly as relaxing as an hour of yoga. But even if you don’t enter a baking zen when you break out the flour, there’s another reason I like to make these eggy animals: They look impressive. There are some desserts that you make, they taste great – but there’s no “wow” factor. No worries about that on this recipe. The swans will illicit “oohs” and “aahs” from your family and friends.

Now, I didn’t dream up the swan cream puffs on my own. Years ago, I was at a friend’s baby shower where she’d bought some at a high-end New York City bakery. My first thought, after I did my own “ooh,” was, “Hey, I bet I could figure out how to do that.” (I noticed at the shower everyone was reluctant to take a swan because they looked so delicate and almost too pretty to eat). When I started trying to mimic the swans at home, it took several tries to master constructing them – my kids were more than happy to eat each and every crooked-necked mess up.

So if you’re ready for a little baking challenge, these swan cream puffs are fun to put together. They require more than a little patience, but the end results are tasty – and cool. Make sure to read through the directions completely before you get started. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to whip up the puffs for all sorts of occasions. I even made them once as sandwiches for my daughter’s third grade class. Instead of a creamy dessert filling, I used chicken salad. The sandwich swans were an instant success!

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