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I was shopping at Sur la Table the other day when I overheard a saleswoman trying to help a young French woman find a specific type of sugar for a recipe she wanted to make. There was a little bit of a communication problem taking place and as I listened in (I happened to be standing next to them and also looking at baking products, not simply trying to eavesdrop!) I realized what the girl was after: pearl sugar. It turned out that she wanted to make a batch of chouxquettes and needed the coarse sugar to lend them a crunchy exterior. I politely suggested the pearl sugar, and the saleswoman was able to find her a box and send her on her way – and I was left with a desire to head home and make a batch of chouquettes myself!

Chouquettes are cream puffs that have been rolled in pearl sugar before baking to give them a crisp, crunchy exterior. They’re not filled with cream of any kind, unlike regular cream puffs; they simply start out with the same choux pastry that cream puffs do. I didn’t see them when I was in Paris last year, but I first heard about them a few years ago when David Lebovitz mentioned making a batch of the popular French snack.

Choux pastry is not difficult to make and you can whip these treats up in just a few minutes at home, although you will have to wait a bit as they bake to indulge yourself in them. They’re light and eggy, with a lovely sweet crunch to them. They are absolutely at their best when they are fresh out of the oven. Use pearl sugar for the best sugary crunch and to get the same speckled look that these have. If you don’t have any and can’t find it, use another coarse sugar, or even some crushed sugar cubes, and generously sprinkle some on before baking.

1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
3 1/2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup pearl sugar (or other very coarse sugar)

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Combine milk, water, butter, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until dough comes together in a ball. Continue to cook, stirring continuously, for one additional minute.
Transfer dough to mixer or clean bowl and let mix at a low speed for 2-3 minutes until slightly cooled. Beat eggs in eggs one at a time, waiting until each egg is fully incorporated to add the next one. Increase mixer speed to medium-high for 1 minute to ensure that batter is very smooth.
Using a spoon, form the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each in the pearl sugar, then place onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for about 18-22 minutes, or until golden brown.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes about 20 chouquettes.

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  • Alli
    March 3, 2010

    This is the third post I’ve seen today about chouquettes! I’m choosing to view this as a sign that I need to make them tonight! I don’t have pearl sugar or course sugar on hand, but maybe mini chocolate chips will do in a pinch?

  • Trish Barton
    March 3, 2010

    These look a lot like a Jewish baked good called Kichel, only shaped differently!

  • LAmonkeygirl
    March 3, 2010

    I had no idea what chouquettes were until I read Muriel Barbery’s Une gourmandise (“Gourmet Rhapsody is the English title). Now I think I have to make them!

  • Kara
    March 4, 2010

    YUM! Quick question – are they ideally served straight from the oven? Or can they be stored for a day or so (and how)?

  • rainey
    March 4, 2010

    I think C&H’s washed raw sugar makes a good substitute.

  • Nicole
    March 4, 2010

    These are so good! I love picking them up in a cute package at our local french boulongerie/patisserie!! I’m making them tomorrow afternoon:)

  • kyra
    March 9, 2010

    I love Pearl Sugar. We always use it for Swedish Kringla around Christmas time. I find at most of the stores around here (Colorado) they a) don’t have it b) don’t know what it is c) because of A & B, they always direct me to the shiny round sugar balls. d) I have to get my mom in MN to mail it!

    I still have some left from this last Christmas, so I’ll be making these tonight! Thanks for the new recipe!!

  • Anupama
    March 9, 2010

    I love these little chouquettes, not only because they look so dainty but because the method to make them is so simple.

  • SEO Company
    May 21, 2010

    OMG! My kids just absolutely LOVED these. I think they ate about 5 each, lol. The only problem now is they constantly are asking me to make them for them. I brought a batch to school today for a last day of school treat – they were a huge hit!

  • SEO Professionals
    May 21, 2010

    I made these yesterday and they were absolutely delicious! My nieces loved. Thanks for the great recipe.

  • Snickerdoodles are one of my dad’s favorite cookies. We always had a ball making them as kids and now I am going to enjoy baking them with my 4 yr old daughter. Thanks I am bookmarking you!

  • Hazel Shade
    June 13, 2010

    I’m surprised — I’ve made these a few times, and my recipe involves piping the batter out with a bag, which is a total pain. But your method with the spoons produces ones that looks exactly like mine! I might have to try it your way next time…

  • larry
    December 5, 2010

    you could use sanding sugar instead of pearl sugar.i know dawn baking supply has it.

  • Renoir
    June 28, 2012

    Nice but I tried to make this in Australia and found it impossible to find pearl sugar until I finally run into this website: http://swaffels.com/pearl_sugar.html
    I hope this helps all you cooks down under…

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