Coconut Choux Bites
It’s snack time, and we’re heading to France. OK, we’re lying, but it feels like we’re strolling along the Seine thanks to recipe developer Erin McDowell’s coconut choux bites. Lucky for you, the light-as-air treats are easy to make at home.
“In France, they make these delicious, tiny cream puffs but sans cream,” McDowell tells us. “They’re just little choux garnished with a course granulated sugar called pearl sugar. They’re served in little boxes and you’re meant to eat them by the handful. It’s one of my favorite things to get when I’m in Paris, and you can’t really find them here.” Until now, of course. “I added sweetened coconut along with the pearl sugar,” she says, “which just gives them a little bit more crunch and texture with that coconut flavor.”
Don’t let the fancy French term intimidate you—McDowell assures us that they’re actually really easy to make. And because the pearl sugar is the only sweetener, “these really are sweets for people who don’t like sweets,” she says. “They’re not cloying, they’re really crunchy, they’re impossible to put down and I want more people in America to make them so that I don’t have to wait until I go to France to get them!”
That’s our cue.
⅓ cup (77g) whole milk
3 tablespoons (43g) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (144g) all-purpose flour
3 large (170g) eggs
1 large (56g) egg
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 packed cup (85g) sweetened coconut
⅓ cup pearl sugar
Egg wash, as needed
1. Make the Batter: In a medium saucepan, combine ⅓ cup (77g) water with the milk, butter and salt and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Add the flour all at once, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes a slightly sticky paste and forms a ball around the spatula, about 3 minutes. (There should be a visible film of starch on the bottom of the pan.)
2. Transfer the paste to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for about 1 minute to cool it.
3. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk the eggs. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the eggs to the bowl in a slow, steady stream and continue mixing until the eggs are fully combined, about 4 minutes. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag. Twist the end of the bag tightly and place it in a tall cup. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. Prepare the Finishing Components: In a small bowl, whisk the egg and cream together to combine. In a food processor or blender, pulse the coconut and pearl sugar until the mixture is finely chopped and combined.
5. Cut a ½-inch opening from the end of the pastry bag and pipe 1-inch rounds onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about a ½ inch of space between each round. (The puffs won’t spread but require air circulation on all sides.)
6. Using a pastry brush, brush each puff with egg wash, then top with a generous amount of the coconut-sugar mixture. Transfer to the oven and bake until deeply golden brown and very crisp, 17 to 20 minutes.
Note: Optionally, when the puffs are done, you can poke the base of each puff with a skewer to make a small hole. This releases steam from inside the puffs, helping them stay crisp longer.