Homemade cream puffs are beautiful, tasty, and festive. The puffs can be made ahead and frozen, then filled before serving. Special designs are fun, such as the swan cream puff. These instructions give more details for making perfect cream puffs.
In a large pot, bring water and butter to a rolling boil. When all the butter has melter, remove from heat and stir in flour, salt, and sugar all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball.
Allow to cool 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or stand mixer with paddle attachment.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition until the mixture looks uniform. Note: if the dough is too hot, it might cook the eggs. What you want is a pasty mixture that will be thin enough to pipe. Add vanilla.
For swan necks/heads: Put about 1/3 of dough into pastry bag fitted with #10 tip. Pipe twelve 3 inch look S shapes with a dollop at the end for head. Bke at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Puncture with toothpick immediately to remove steam Otherwise these will drop flat.
For the bodies: Use a cookie scoop (1 inch or 2 teaspoons) to make mounds.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Immediately use toothpick or knife to release the steam. Allow to dry out
Place in sealed plastic bag and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw before filling.