An ingredient I’ve had a lot of fun with this year is baker’s ammonia. Baker’s Ammonia, aka hartshorn, is a specialty leavener made of ground deer antlers. It is often called for in old Swedish cookie recipes, which proves just how resourceful those Scandinavian grandmothers were! Whoever decided to throw the antlers in the cookies was a baking genius, because the end result is an unbelievable crispness you won’t find in other cookies.
So far, I’ve used ground antlers in Swedish Dream Cookies, an oatmeal cookie recipe I made up but completely forgot, and a lemon wafer recipe that was somewhat disappointing due to what was probably operator error. I put the baker’s ammonia away….until yesterday.
Somewhere between 10:00AM and 1:00 yesterday, Emma developed a cold. Forced to cancel all our day’s activities and lay low, I took some time to try baker’s ammonia in another recipe — cream puffs.
Whipping up a batch of cream puffs reminded me just how easy they were. The antler powder gave the puffs crispy edges and a tender inside, but you can still make a perfectly good cream puff without it.
Cream puff shells are nice to have around. They freeze well and you can fill them with anything you wish. I filled a few of last night’s cream puff with a mixture of pistachio pudding mix, milk and whipped cream. The rest are in the freezer waiting for their turn, and I have my eye on a few ice cream recipes already.
Here’s the cream puff recipe I used. If you don’t have the antler powder, just leave it out.
Cream Puff Shells
1 /2 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Bakers’ Ammonia (if you have it, otherwise just leave it out)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Place water and shortening in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the flour and salt all at once and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Blend in the milk.
Remove pan from stove burner and stir in the eggs, one at a time, stirring until completely blended. Mix in the Baker’s Ammonia
Drop onto lined cookie sheets about 3 to 4 inches apart. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before filling.
Yield — 8