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Dorie Greenspan's Cream Puffs With Crackle And Cream

Makes 12 large puffs

I think of these as the gold standard of cream puffs. They’re both light enough to merit the name puff and sturdy enough to hold—and hold up to—a filling. They’re made with a dough I’d fiddled with for years—I stopped tweaking it after I discovered that the addition of an egg white was the secret to baking in the firmness you need for the puffs to hold their shape when you cut and fill them. The filling is vanilla whipped cream and the crown is a cloak of cookie crackle. Called craquelin, it seems like a trick: You make a brown sugar cookie dough, roll it very thin, cut it out and then balance it on top of the unbaked puffs. As the puffs grow in the oven, so does the cookie dough—it spreads over the tops, speckling the puffs with crunch and giving them a distinctive look, some sweetness and another terrific texture. The two classic fillings for cream puffs are whipped cream and pastry cream, but lemon or another curd or curd mixed with whipped cream is good too. Fill the puffs with ice cream, and you can call them dessert profiteroles—just add hot fudge sauce.