Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong: Challenge #7

bakealong-logoWelcome to our February Bakealong challenge. Each month, we’ll announce a new recipe for you to try, along with helpful tips and step-by-step instructions here on our blog. We invite you to bake, then share a photo of your creation, tagging it #bakealong. Enjoy!

If February means Valentine’s Day, and Valentine’s Day means chocolate… does February mean 28 days of chocolate? Logicians might beg to differ, but we say yes. Thus you have plenty of time to join our Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong challenge, a heartfelt tribute to the pleasures of deep-dark chocolate.

Take the Dark Chocolate Eclairs #bakealong challenge, just in time for Valentine's Day. Click To Tweet

Now, you might think éclairs are way beyond your experience level but trust me — they’re not. If you can stir together flour, melted butter, and water, you’ve got the savvy for your shells. If you can simmer milk and cocoa in a saucepan, then mix it with egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch (plus chocolate and butter), you’ve nailed the filling. And the glaze on top? Just two simple ingredients.

Our February Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong challenge isn’t quick; but its multiple steps can be spaced out to fit your schedule. And the result?

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Deep-dark deliciousness!

Follow along with me as I show you how to make these éclairs — and share some tips I discovered in the process.

First, preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Make the pastry

Combine the following in a saucepan:

1 cup water
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/8 teaspoon salt

Heat until the butter has melted, and bring to a rolling boil.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Add 1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Return the pan to the burner and cook over medium heat, stirring all the while, until the mixture smooths out and follows the spoon around the pan. This should take far less than a minute; a few good strokes is really all you’ll need.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes. It’ll still feel hot, but you should be able to hold a finger in it for a few seconds. If you have a digital thermometer, the temperature should be below 125°F.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Transfer the mixture to a mixer, and beat in 4 large eggs one at a time; it’ll look curdled at first, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth. Beat for at least 2 minutes after adding the last egg.

If you have a pastry bag, scoop the batter into the bag, and add a 3/4″ plain tip.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

If you don’t have a pastry bag, do what I did: take a plastic bag, stuff it in a tall glass, and scoop the batter into the bag. Push the batter to the bottom of the bag, and cut off one of the two corners, making a hole about 3/4″ in diameter.

Tip: Use a plain, inexpensive plastic bag, not one with gusseted corners that open outward. Cutting the corner off a gusseted bag leaves two holes, not one — as I discovered in my first DIY pastry bag attempt!

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Shape the éclair shells

Pipe the batter onto the pan in 5″ logs about 3/4″ in diameter.

If you don’t have a pastry bag and choose not to DIY with a plastic bag, you can shape the shells using a spoon and your wet fingers; but it can be a sticky undertaking. I highly recommend piping with a bag.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Make sure to squeeze as much of the sticky batter out of the bag as possible; a bowl scraper works well here. You should be able to make about 20 éclair shells out of the recipe.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Bake the shells

Bake the shells for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until they’re a medium golden brown.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Remove the shells from the oven. Make a small slit in the top (or on the side) of each, and return them to the oven to bake for 5 more minutes, to allow any steam to escape.

Let the shells rest until they’re cool enough to handle. If you plan on filling and finishing them right away, split each in half to make top and bottom pieces.

Tip: If you’re time-challenged, set the shells aside, without splitting, for up to a couple of days before filling. Don’t wrap them tightly in plastic, but rather loosely in a partially open plastic bag, or covered with a large cake cover.

Make the dark chocolate filling

Gather these ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
4 large egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup King Arthur Triple Cocoa Blend, or Dutch-process cocoa
1/3 cup chopped unsweetened baking chocolate (2 ounces)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

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Tip: Store-bought unsweetened baking chocolate used to come in 1-ounce squares; now it comes in 1/4-ounce rectangles. Don’t be fooled into thinking each of these rectangles is the equivalent of the 1-ounce squares of old! (Luckily, they’re clearly marked.)

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a mixing bowl.

Whisk in the yolks; the mixture will look like scrambled eggs.

Bring the milk and cocoa just to a simmer in a saucepan set over medium heat.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Pour about a quarter of the hot milk/chocolate into the yolk mixture, whisking until incorporated.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Return the egg yolk mixture to the saucepan, and put the pan back on the burner over medium heat.

Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes very thick, and just barely starts to boil. Remove the pan from the heat.

Add the baking chocolate and butter, stirring until melted and smooth.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Transfer the filling to a bowl.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Cover it with plastic wrap, pushing the wrap right down onto the filling; this will prevent it from developing a tough top skin. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. The filling can chill in the fridge up to several days, so you definitely have flexibility fitting it into your schedule.

Tip: To make classic éclairs stuffed with vanilla filling, use a half recipe of our Pastry Cream, omitting the whipped cream at the end.

Eclairs are best served the same day they’re filled and iced. Let’s assume you’ve reached that day; let’s finish these éclairs.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Make the glaze

Combine 2/3 cup chopped semisweet chocolate (or chocolate chips) and 1 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup in a medium heat-safe bowl.

Heat 1/2 cup heavy cream to simmering, then pour it over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for about a minute, then stir until you’ve made a smooth glaze. The glaze may be quite thin at the outset, but will thicken as it cools. 

Tip: This amount of glaze is more than enough for the éclairs, if you simply dip their tops. Either drizzle additional glaze over the éclairs, or refrigerate any leftover glaze and pour it over ice cream.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Assemble the éclairs

At last! We’re ready to put all the pieces of this project together.

If you hadn’t already split the shells into top and bottom pieces, do so now.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Fill the shells

Pipe or spoon the filling into the pastries. You’ll use just over 1 ounce (30g) filling for each of the 20 éclairs.

See how soft my filling looks? Operator error. I inadvertently cooked the filling over high heat, and it became lumpy; then I had to put it into the blender to smooth out the lumps, and it “broke” — the cornstarch lost its oomph. Ah well, life is full of very minor tragedies… and the éclairs still tasted just fine.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Glaze the tops

You can set the éclair tops over the filled bottoms and drizzle the glaze on top. But for even application, I prefer to dip the tops right into the glaze, then carefully set them atop the bottoms.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Oh yeah.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Make gluten-free éclairs — or fill with vanilla cream

I tried a batch of éclairs using our newest gluten-free flour, Measure for Measure, and was totally impressed. The gluten-free shells are every bit as crisp and high-rising as the original version.

For those looking for a more traditional éclair, I also filled this batch with vanilla pastry cream. A half batch of our Pastry Cream recipe (sans the whipped cream added at the end) will yield enough to fill the éclairs, though not quite as fully as the chocolate filling does.

For ease of preparation, you can also substitute your favorite vanilla pudding mix prepared with cream instead of milk, and spiked with a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

A final touch

Our food photographer loves beautifying recipes — and you can see what a great job she does. Piping the filling with a star tip adds an elegant look, while a sprinkle of diced shelled pistachios adds color, flavor, and crunch to these pastries.

Are you ready to take our February Dark Chocolate Eclairs Bakealong challenge? Let us know how it goes in comments, below.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this Bakealong challenge; once you’ve baked your éclairs, remember to post a picture using our hashtag: #bakealong. And be sure to check back on March 1 for our next challenge: an engaging party dish involving yeast, butter, herbs, flour (did we mention butter?), and lots of options for your culinary creativity.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Jessica Spitsen

    I prefer to avoid corn syrup where possible. Is there an alternative method for the glaze? Can’t wait to do this bakealong!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jessica, you can make a simple chocolate ganache made of melted chocolate and heavy cream. The glaze will be a bit less shiny without the corn syrup, but it will still taste great! Kye@KAF

    2. Suzanne Ash

      I know some people think (and I’m not saying you are one of them Jessica Spitsen) that high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup are the same things. They are not! Good old Kyros syrup is HFCS-free and does not contain fructose, which is most people’s concerns with high-fructose corn syrup. Other brands may have it, but not Kyros… that’s not to say that corn syrup is good for you, but neither is sugar.

    3. Jules

      Jessica, if you’re looking to avoid corn syrup, you may want to seek out Lyle’s Golden Syrup. It’s made from cane sugar instead of corn.

    4. Lunch Lady

      Organic Corn Syrup isn’t a problem as is HFCS. It’s not the highly processed/GMO product, you could say it’s the “old fashion” corn syrup. Just sayin’.

    5. The Baker's Hotline

      Shelly, simple syrup isn’t an invert sugar like corn syrup, so it won’t serve the same purpose here. You’d do better to just leave the corn syrup out if you prefer. Mollie@KAF

    6. Ruthann

      You can use honey in place of the corn syrup for the glaze. I work at a bakery and that is what we use.

  2. Viv

    OMG these are gorgeous! I’m so glad you’re not afraid to share your “minor tragedies” as it is comforting to know I’m not alone in my occasional (maybe I should say frequent) minor mishaps, but it all comes out OK in the end. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Heather

    I love how you add instructions for the average home cook that doesn’t have a lot of fancy equipment, even to the point of “If you don’t have a pastry bag and choose not to DIY with a plastic bag….” And here I thought a plastic bag was as nontechnical as I could get. I’m very fond of making cream puffs but have never tried eclairs, maybe because with cream puffs I can eat several without too much guilt but eclairs, my limit would be one. This recipe looks great!!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Heather, I bake in a home kitchen just like everyone else — so I know the limits space and a family budget can put on baking! I hope you’re able to try éclairs sometime — I have to say, they’re pretty darned yummy… 🙂 PJH

  4. Suzy G

    I plan to make the eclairs. But I prefer to fill with whipped cream instead of pudding—-how can I stabilize the whipped cream so it stays slightly firm?
    Thanks
    Suzy

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      I stabilize my whipped cream with a teaspoon of instant vanilla pudding per cup of heavy cream. My mother taught me this years ago. She used the cook kind too in a pinch.

  5. Julia Newman

    The filling in this recipe is basically a chocolate pastry cream and as such ~ can (and should) be poured through a mesh strainer when it comes off the stove. This step refines the custard cream and removes any lumps or bits of cooked egg. Perhaps you could have avoided your blender step PJ ? Getting a pastry cream to thicken properly is one of those things that even we pastry chefs botch once in awhile. A former boss (and experienced Pastry Chef) of mine used to use twice the recommended amount of cornstarch…creating a cream so thick after refrigeration that you could cut it into squares ! He then beat it to perfect creamy consistency before filling tarts, eclairs, etc. Folding in whipped cream at this point makes for an especially voluptuous cream. Love the “prettied up” eclairs with the pistachios. :))

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Julia, I was all set to pour the custard through a strainer, but it was actually much too thick to pour by the time I took it off the stove; it was already set-pudding consistency. I love the tip about twice the cornstarch; I may try that next time, beating it after it’s extremely stiff in order to “relax” it. Thanks! PJH

    2. Melissa

      Following this recipe my pastry cream turned out so thick that I think I would be able to cut it into squares. I’m intrigued by trying to beat it to soften the consistency. I’m guessing I could just let the kitchen aid mixer go to town on it, as I don’t think I could make a dent in it with a whisk. 🙂 Would you add any milk or cream to it in the beginning, or only fold in the whipped cream once its softened up? Thanks!

    3. PJ Hamel , post author

      Hmmm, wonder what happened? If it were me, I’d stick it in a food processor with some heavy cream, and give it a few good whirls. That should both break up the chunks and whip the cream a bit. A few more pulses will (hopefully) smooth it all out. Good luck! PJH

  6. Norene

    Seeing this Eclairs Bakealong challenge takes me back to the Making Eclairs class that I took in the King Arthur classroom last year. I enjoyed it so much and the Eclairs came out wonderful. After reading this challenge it makes me want to go bake a batch right now. Thank you for giving the reasons behind the way things are done a certain way. It helps us learn so we can apply these hints to other recipes.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Norene, I’m so glad you’ve taken a class with us. I’ll bet it was fun! And we’re super-happy to share some baking science or simply test kitchen tips, because that’s exactly what we’re here for: to share the joy of baking. Thanks for connecting here — PJH

  7. Jackie Reynolds

    I have tried to post the same comment two different times and it still has not shown up. I’ll make it short and sweet this time. The chocolate filling tasted like unsweetened chocolate. I had to add some powdered sugar to make it edible. I checked at least five times to make sure I had the quantities correct. I have never had a bad result with a King Arthur recipe before.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jackie, we’re sorry to hear you’re having some trouble posting comments—we haven’t seen any other comments from you, but we’re glad this one made its way through! In regards to your chocolate filling, you’re right that there’s not much sugar in the pastry cream (only 1/2 cup for about 2 1/2 cups of pastry cream). Traditionally éclairs aren’t overly sweet but balance with the flavors. If you’re used to sweeter desserts and want to up the ante with the sugar, you can use a semisweet chocolate instead of unsweetened in the base of the pastry cream. Hope that helps! Kye@KAF

  8. Jackie Reynolds

    Thank you so much for your response. I definitely would put semi sweet chocolate in it next time. I put whip cream in some of them and I mixed whip cream with the chocolate filling for some of them. Those were pretty darn good. I like the way you showed us how to frost the tops. That worked out well for me. I also liked all of the pictures. Those were definitely helpful.
    I didn’t use nearly all the filling, so I added some cream and half-and-half to it and I am now making ice cream with it. I think it’s going to turn out pretty darn good.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Wow, Jackie, great idea making ice cream out of that leftover filling! I agree, I’ll bet it did turn out “pretty darn good.” 🙂 PJH

  9. Sarah

    I have always loved éclairs was so excited with this challenge! You’re directions are always so helpful and I have never been disappointed. I decided not only to make the chocolate filling but also Batch of the pastry cream. Both were so delicious. I thought my chocolate filling may have been a little too thick but never got one complaint. I do wonder whether putting the chocolate filling through a strainer would make it less dense? Thank you for another great challenge…I WILL be making these again.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Sarah, thanks so much for taking up our challenge — and glad to hear you tried both fillings. My chocolate filling was a bit on the thin side, but even so it wouldn’t easily go through a sieve or strainer. Going forward, if you run into this thick filling issue again, you can always simply stir in a bit of milk or cream to thin it out. Enjoy! PJH

  10. Jan

    I would love to try these but need them to be lactose free. I can use lactose free milk, but can you suggest any tips for substituting the butter that would work with this shell recipe?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jan, we’d suggest trying the vegan buttery sticks sold by Earth Balance. While we haven’t used them in this particular recipe, we typically find that they perform most similarly to butter. Best of luck! Mollie@KAF

  11. Cindy Rosenbaum

    Is it possible to freeze the shells before filling? If I just want to make this for 2 people, would you suggest just cutting everything in half or so?

    Also, how would maple syrup work instead of the corn syrup?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Cindy, while fully assembled eclairs do not freeze well, the unfilled shells freeze beautifully. Just be sure to allow them to fully cool and wrap them up airtight. You should also feel free to halve the recipe or try out an alternative to corn syrup. Lyle’s Golden Syrup often tends to be the best substitute, but you could also experiment with maple syrup or leave the corn syrup out entirely. While not strictly necessary, it helps to achieve a smooth and shiny glaze. Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      They’re diced, shelled pistachios that our food photographer added to dress up the final shot. You should feel free to make them your own by using any kind of diced nut or even drizzled white chocolate. Enjoy! Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It is, Dori! We recommend keeping the shells whole (un-sliced) and making sure they’re fully cooled before packing in an airtight container and freezing. They’re best if used within a few weeks, so don’t stuff them far enough back in your freezer that you forget all about them. Mollie@KAF

  12. Leslie

    I don’t normally make your bake-a-long challenges, but my chocoholic side saw this and said “I gotta have this”. I will make the gluten free version so I can share with my sister and her husband. Wish me luck!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Best of luck, Leslie! We hope you’ll share your progress with us by using #kingarthurflour. Mollie@KAF

  13. Elaine

    What alternative flour mix can you recommend for gluten free eclairs? I am unable to use products with xanthan gum.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Yes and yes (sort of), Jean. Feel free to halve the recipe and to freeze some of the uncut, unfilled shells. Eclairs do not keep well in the freezer once assembled. Mollie@KAF

  14. Karen

    I’m always trying to cut back on refined white flour where possible. Would substituting half or all of the all purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour work?

    Reply
  15. Eileen

    I want to try this – can I substitute Arrowroot for the cornstarch? I am allergic to corn, and I cannot eat anything with it – including cornstarch. I already have excellent substitutes for corn syrup – even a beautiful, clear, thick sweet syrup from vegetables (other than corn) from the Asian Food Mart near me. I often sub arrowroot for cornstarch, but it’s usually a much smaller quantity than in this recipe. What do you think?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Eileen, we haven’t experimented with an arrowroot substitution ourselves, but it seems to us like it should work. Let us know if you give it a try! Mollie@KAF

  16. Shane C

    Simply lovely and great suggestions! A little trick for the eclair pastry (pate a choux): once you have piped them, to smooth out the little points on the raw dough, take some water in a little bowl and wet a finger just tapping the irregular area and it will flatten and not burn. Makes them pretty!

    Reply
  17. Ben D

    I didn’t know that there was just corn syrup as well as high fructose corn syrup. Other than getting into trouble with Jessica, is it ok to use high fructose corn syrup here?
    Also is Hershey’s Cocoa an ok, albeit inferior substitute for King Arthur Triple Cocoa Blend?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Ben, we’ll leave the corn syrup choice up to you since it’s a personal one, but know that the ingredient isn’t strictly necessary in the first place. It helps to get an especially smooth and shiny glaze, but you can make a simple ganache of chocolate and cream without it too. If you go with Hershey’s cocoa, we’d recommend getting your hands on the special dark version, as it tends to have a much deeper chocolate flavor than their regular unsweetened cocoa is (unsweetened is also key here). Mollie@KAF

  18. Jan

    I love the fact I can make the eclairs gluten free but I am not able to have dairy either so could I use almond milk original in the batter?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      The éclair shells can be made with margarine instead of butter. And the glaze can be made with almond milk instead of heavy cream (although you’d use less; perhaps 1/3 cup). But the filling is problematic. It might work with full-fat coconut milk, though I haven’t tested it. If you don’t want to take the chance, try filling the shells with chocolate sorbet for the same effect as chocolate pastry cream, but in a “chillier” version. Good luck — PJH

  19. Jenny Javier

    Wow, I think I can do this. How long will these last in the refrigerator? If I plan on serving these for dinner guests, I would prefer that I had already assembled them prior to their arrival.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You can, Jenny, and your dinner guests will be so impressed! Refrigerated immediately, unwrapped, eclairs will be good for several hours. Any longer than that, and they should be wrapped up airtight once the glaze has hardened. They can last up to a few days when stored this way. Mollie@KAF

  20. Frieda Nagel

    A tip from a patisserie – pipe the eclairs using a large star tip -1 to 1.5 cm in diameter. The ridges create stability and help avert cracking. It also gives a more even bake because of the ridges. Additionally, cause they tend to be more stable they are easier to fill using the 3 small holes on the bottom method. I LOVE making these whimsical guys….any filling,sweet or savoury. I make mini ones for cocktail parties. Thanks to the author. Well written. Well illustrated. No need to feel intimidated by these.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Theresa, I’m sorry, I can’t speak to your son’s health needs, as we’re not qualified to give that type of advice. I can tell you, though, that you can make the shells with margarine instead of butter; and you can make the glaze with a non-dairy vegetable-based milk, using about 1/3 cup in place of the cream. The filling is an issue; I think a good solution would be to Google a non-dairy chocolate pudding recipe (there are a lot out there), and use that in place of the chocolate pastry cream. Good luck — PJH

  21. Nancy

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your directions! Im an experienced home cook and I still learn things every time! You are masters at explaining how- to -do- it! Have you thought about expanding to quilt pattern instructions? Ha!

    Reply
  22. Diane

    I will definitely try this recipe using the gluten-free version. Do you think substituting coconut milk for the 2 cups of whole milk in the filling would work? Thank you!!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Diane, sorry — haven’t tested this with coconut milk. I know soy and rice milks don’t set in pudding applications. However, Googling “jello pudding with coconut milk” I found some data indicating that full-fat coconut milk might work. I guess your best bet is simply to try it. Good luck — PJH

  23. Marc D

    Thank you very much for a great recipe and “how to” article. I always enjoy them. Though I know how you are using the whipped cream at the end, my copy I received via email doesn’t actually include any directions or ingredients for making and adding whipped cream to the pastry cream. It simply has a mention it a tip about possibly omitting it. You may want to take a look at what was sent to some for a possible omission of this part.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for double checking, Marc. The omission of whipped cream is only relevant if you opt to make our regular Pastry Cream instead of the chocolate version included as part of this recipe. We’ve already left out the whipped cream in the version here. Hope this helps to clarify! Mollie@KAF

  24. Susan

    Do you have a recipe for a Strawberry Whipped Cream to be used instead for the filling. A Chocolate strawberry Eclair just sounds so amazing!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Susan, the Strawberry Cream portion of our recipe for Strawberry Cream on Shortbread could be just what you’re looking for. Whipped cream alone may have a little difficulty holding up, though, so another option would be to flavor your pastry cream differently. Take a look at some of the variations we’ve suggested in step 8 for guidance. Mollie@KAF

  25. Sharon D

    I know I’m asking a lot, but is there any way to lower the carbs in the pastry part of this recipe? I can do so in the pastry cream and glaze by subbing with Stevia and stevia-based syrup. However, substituting white flour with a non-white “flours” is a bit trickier. But, boy do I love éclairs!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Phyllis, you can use our Measure for Measure Flour to make the shells gluten-free, and margarine in place of butter to make them dairy free. And you can use soy or another vegetable-based milk in the glaze; but the filling is an issue, since non-dairy milks don’t set like dairy milks. I’d skip the pastry cream, fill the éclairs with chocolate sorbet, and call them profiteroléclairs! Good luck — PJH

  26. Patricia A Fodor MD

    I don’t see any nutrition info on this recipe. Did I miss it or is it too frightening to print?
    Always love your pics even if I don’t make the product!

    Reply
    1. Baker's Hotline

      Hi Patricia, you’re correct that this recipe does not have nutritional information attached. In times like this we often recommend this website for calculating the nutritional information in any recipe. Barb@KAF

  27. Judy

    I bought some of your Black Cocoa, and would love to use it in the dark chocolate filling. Would it be best to replace half of the Dutch process with the black cocoa? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Baker's Hotline

      Hi Judy, for an extra dark chocolate filling I think it would be fine if you go half and half with the Black cocoa, but I wouldn’t recommend going any higher than that. Barb@KAF

    2. Marcia

      I use the Black Cocoa in everything I make that is chocolate — I just throw some in. Maybe it is psychological but I think the darker color is more chocolatey.

  28. Levramosis

    I’m baking dairy free due to milk protein allergy. Unsweetened almond milk subs in for the whole milk in the pastry cream. Also earth balance sticks for the butter. From past experience reducing the cornstarch to about 1/2 usually works, this time it ended up a touch too thick. I lighten the pastry cream with whipped coconut cream. Turned out tasting great but needs a bit more sugar for all but the most chocoholic. Also subbed Nutpods cream for the whipping cream in the icing with great results. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  29. Ann Dryden

    i’m catching this exciting challenge just before Valentine’s Day- could I pipe into hearts? how would that change baking time?
    thank you, looking forward to trying this recipe!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      I don’t think it would change the baking time,Ann, so long as they’re not mega-hearts; make them about 3″ across and they should be about equivalent to the 5″ logs. Sounds sweet! Good luck — PJH

  30. Carrie Brickner

    Getting ready to make the glaze and I don’t have the heavy cream. Can I use FF 1/2&1/2? Also, added 1/3 c of mixed berry puree to the cream for B-day and shaped the puffs like hearts <3

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Sure you can use the half and half; you’d just want to use less — probably 1/3 cup? I haven’t tested it so not sure exactly, but if that’s too thin, just stir in a few more chocolate chips to help it thicken. The berry version sounds both yummy and lovely! Good luck — PJH

  31. Don Horn

    I followed the step-by-step instructions but made one terrible mistake. After baking half of the time I decided to rotate the sheet. My shells ended up being hard and dry. So I looked back to the actual recipe, not the blog, and noticed that it clearly says “Don’t open the oven door while the pastries are baking.” Now I know for next time. I was also making only half a recipe so that would affect the moisture content even further. Perhaps a shorter baking time would be good for a half recipe.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Don, making a half recipe shouldn’t mean you need to reduce the baking time, as it simply means you’re baking one pan of shells instead of two. Yes, there’ll be slightly less moisture in the oven due to less volume, but I wouldn’t recommend changing the baking time just for that. Now, understand that the shells are supposed to be fairly crisp and quite dry; that’s so they don’t become soggy when you add the filling and topping. But if you think yours were beyond pleasantly dry, perhaps the shells were baked inadvertently baked too long, and/or at too high a temperature. You might want to check your oven’s temperature with an independent thermometer, as many ovens aren’t calibrated accurately. Hope you try these again and enjoy better results! PJH

  32. EC

    My shells turned out completely flat. Not sure where I went wrong. They taste fine, but did not puff when baked at all. I followed the directions exactly except the 2 minutes of beating after the last egg was closer to 2.5 minutes.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      That’s very strange; I’m sorry that happened. Are you at regular (not high) altitude? Did you use large eggs? Are you sure your oven was thoroughly preheated, and it’s calibrated right? I always use an independent oven thermometer, as we’ve found over the years that many ovens aren’t very accurate. If you’re baking at normal altitude, and you can answer yes to the other questions, then I think you’d best call our baker’s hotline, 855-371-2253; they can help walk through what might have gone wrong. PJH

  33. Nancy Mock

    Made these today with my son! We didn’t have the right size tip, and it took us a few tries with the plastic bag to get the snipped opening to be the right size for piping. But once we got it, they baked up/puffed up perfectly. My son had the idea to fill the shells with lemon pudding, and then dark chocolate glaze on top. We gave it a try and love the flavor combination! This is definitely the most adventurous recipe we’ve made together.

    Reply
  34. carol

    Is it possible to make the batter and only bake half at a time. My oven does best when I only bake on one rake at a time. I tried using 2 racks this morning and the top of the shells came out great but the bottoms were not flat which made slicing them evenly kind of a problem. I was able to salvage enough for the 10 I actually needed so not a major disaster and I’m excited to finish putting them together with the vanilla pastry cream which came out awesome. Now I’ll have some extra cream to eat the reject shells with.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sometimes the leftover rejects are just the perfect treat for the baker, Carol! It could work to allow one tray of eclairs to rest in the fridge while the other bakes or to simply cut the recipe in half and only make one tray. If you found that the bottom of your shells were almost concave, this could also be the result of not slitting the shells and returning them to the oven to finish baking quickly enough. Without the slit/vent, the steam trapped inside can distort the shape, something we have definitely learned the hard way ourselves. Hope this helps! Mollie@KAF

  35. Jane P Borden

    Hi, I just can’t make eclairs. I have tried this recipe and others and they always come out kind of flat. The inside is kind of hallow but they never puff up. What am I doing wrong?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It can be so frustrating when that happens, can’t it, Jane? We’ve certainly experienced this kind of disappointment ourselves. If your shells aren’t puffing well, it could be that your choux may have been too thin (from not cooking the flour mixture long enough and/or overbeating) or that you’re piping your shells wide and flat rather than narrow and tall. It could also be that the oven temp is simply a bit too low. It’s important for the oven to be hot enough to create steam to leaven the pastry. If we can help troubleshoot any further, please feel free to give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE. Mollie@KAF

  36. Patsy

    I made these. I had a hard time getting the proper size for the pastry even though I cut a 3/4 inch opening in the pastry bag. I guess 3/4 inch diameter was not what the recipe meant. they came out rather hard. the inside tasted like chocolate pudding, according to one of our guests. I’m not a big chocolate fan and was sorry I’d not made any of the vanilla filling for these. Husband liked them a lot. I’d call it okay, but likely not make the recipe again. too much work and not all that great.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Patsy, sorry these weren’t up to your expectations. Piping them 3/4″ does make them smaller than the typical bakery éclair, it’s true. I prefer them with vanilla pastry cream filling myself, but thankfully there are those who love them with chocolate all the way through — like your husband. 🙂 PJH

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