It’s my birthday. It’s not a big deal, really. I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve survived quite a few. One involved being snowed in but that was okay. I just pretend I’m Laura Ingalls Wilder (we share a birthday and we’re soul sisters). I’m pretty much a first-born introvert so that birthday was easier to get through than the one which involved a rotating restaurant, a piano and singing waiters. Or the surprise party which actually was a surprise.
My favorite birthday might have been the one that included Polynesian fire dancers. And grass skirts. And a roasted pig. It’s a toss-up between that one and the year I discovered Baskin Robbins ice cream cakes. It’s hard to choose, really. This year I’m starting my day with a Diet Coke, chocolate covered strawberries, a Facebook post from Dotter that made me cry and a boiled egg so things are looking up. If anyone would like to send over a Polynesian fire dancer, I’ll roast the pig. But I digress. Laura Ingalls would not approve.
Once you begin being naughty, it is easier to go and on and on, and sooner or later something dreadful happens. – Laura Ingalls Wilder
Speaking of things that are nice to look at, part of my birthday celebration this year is sharing a beautiful and super easy recipe with you. Cream horns. You’re welcome.
To prep strawberries, rinse a small container of them off then drip dry on a paper towel until very dry. Dip in chocolate and allow to cool while you make the cream horns. Dipped strawberries can be made the night before.
Remove a box of puff pastry from the freezer (Puff pastry is found in the freezer section of the grocery store). Puff pastry is moody. There are two things you must know before going any further… First, you can only defrost puff pastry by placing in the fridge overnight or by setting it out on the counter for 40 minutes. If you defrost it too long in either place, it will stick together. Second, preheat oven to 400°F. This step is not optional with puff pastry. Not preheating will give you limp puff pastry. Don’t ask me how I know these things, I just do.
Cover a thin rolling-pin or sugar ice cream cones in foil. Ice cream cones will give you a cone shape which is also very fun. Spray foil with baking spray and place on a baking sheet.
Cut puff pastry into 8 long strips. A pizza cutter works well for this. Roll puff pastry strips around rolling-pin (or cone). You don’t have to roll terribly tight. When one runs out, attach another. It will take about 4 strips to make one cream horn. Beat one egg in a small bowl and brush on the puff pastry as you go to help it stick together.
Perfection not necessary. Brush each cream horn with the beaten egg for a glossy finish.
If you have leftover puff pastry, just roll in parchment paper and then wrap in plastic. Keep in fridge for up to a few days (since it’s now rolled in parchment, that’s okay) or return to freezer for another birthday.
Sprinkle with Wilton’s White Sparkling Sugar for a classy touch. If you don’t happen to have this in your cupboard, you can use a little bit of regular sugar. But I do recommend getting some as soon as possible. I mean if you can’t have fire dancers, at least you can enjoy some big, sparkly sugar.
After at least 20 minutes, you will have this. It is normal and healthy to feel a sense of joy and pride in this moment for it is glorious.
After cream puffs cool, remove carefully from rolling-pin or cones. Place them on a parchment paper and drizzle chocolate over them. But only if you’re obsessive about your desserts. And chocolate. And drizzles. Like me.
If you’re in a hurry or if your room is too hot for the chocolate to cool – you know, from fire dancers – just place cream horns in the fridge to harden chocolate.
Make whipped cream. Using a pastry bag (no decorating tip needed), fill cream horns with goodness.
Adorn cream horns with freshly dipped chocolate strawberries. Laura Ingalls would approve.
It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all. – Laura Ingalls Wilder