Pops of all kinds are all the rage these days; from cake pops to pop tart pops, people are enamored with sweet things on sticks. It appeals to our inner childhood candy enthusiast, and translates well to fun yet fancy-ish parties.
And so when I was in the presence of a cream puff the other day, my mind immediately envisioned it on a stick. Not quite structurally sound enough to be skewered on its own, I imagined a thin caramel shell that would not only provide the glue to hold the puffs upright and intact, but would also provide a crunchy exterior to provide contrast and give way to the soft, creamy interior.
Often, melted sugar caramel is used to glue together piles of cream puffs to make a croquembouche — it provides the perfect foil for the plain choux pastry and whipped cream. I imagine melted chocolate would work as well, but I like the glassy effect the melted sugar gives, allowing you to see what’s inside, like a delicious fossil trapped inside amber.
And really, these are so easy. Start with a container of frozen cream puffs, which are typically two-bite size. I used wooden coffee stirrers, but try anything you like, from long lollipop sticks to bamboo skewers. Impale each cream puff, then dip it in the melted sugar caramel — if it’s nice and hot and runny, it will provide a thin coating, so they’re not at all hard on the teeth. Place on a piece of waxed paper or cookie sheet and let sit until the candy cools and hardens. That’s it.
Caramel Cream Puff Pops
1 box mini cream puffs, frozen or thawed
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup or golden syrup
1/4 tsp. lemon juice
Skewer the cream puffs on wooden coffee stirrers or bamboo skewers; set aside.
Combine the sugar, syrup and lemon juice in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring the mixture, until the mixture begins to turn golden. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook until the mixture reaches 305°F (hard-crack stage).
Remove from the heat and quickly dip each cream puff into the hot candy, tilting the pan and swirling each puff as you take it out, then place them onto a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. If you like, dip them a second time for a thicker coating. Let sit until cool. Makes as many cream puff pops as you want to make.