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      Cream Puffs

      Ingredients:

      1 C. water

      1 C. flour

      1/2 C. butter

      4 eggs

      Directions:

      Preheat the oven to 400. Put the water and butter in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the flour all at once and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon till the mixture forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, cool slightly, and beat in the eggs, one at a time. After adding each egg, keep beating till the mixture becomes smooth again. Drop in mounds from a tablespoon or pipe onto a greased baking sheet. Make them the size you want: small??about 1 tablespoon each??or bigger for regular desserts.

      Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, till nicely puffed, then reduce the heat to 350 and bake 30-40 minutes more, till light brown and crunchy. Cool on a wire rack.

      Wait to fill the cream puffs till right before service; otherwise, they??ll get soft. To serve, cut the puffs in half horizontally, remove any underbaked bits inside, and fill each cream puff with pastry cream, ice cream, whipped cream and fruit, or any other filling you like. Homemade pastry cream makes a huge difference, but pudding mix can be used if you??re in a hurry. Dust the filled cream puffs with powdered sugar.

      This mixture can also be used for clairs: just pipe it in straight lines about 3 inches long, ending each clair with a back-and-up motion. Fill with pastry cream and drizzle the tops with chocolate sauce.

      Since there??s no sugar in the shells, they can also be used with savory fillings: scrambled eggs, cream cheese spreads, or any other combination you like. Small puffs make great appetizers.

      Store the shells in a paper bag or unsealed plastic bag. They freeze well. If the shells get a bit soft from Missouri humidity, pop them back in a 350 oven for a few minutes to crisp them up.