Craquelin is a common patisserie secret of adding a cookie topping to pate a choux cream puffs and eclairs. Once baked, this results in delicious, crunchy, cracked topped cream puffs. Try this easy recipe on your next batch of pate a choux to rival any bakery and really take your pastry game to the next level!
This recipe is very easy to make and really takes your cream puffs to the next level. The first time I had it was at a fancy cream puff bakery and it made the cream puffs so much better. I immediately went online to find out about it, but couldn’t seem to find anything. Fortunately, not too much later I came across a recipe for craquelin and realized it’s not some french bakery secret, but a super easy cookie topping. My cream puffs have never been the same since.
Definition of Craquelin
The literal translation of craquelin means cracker, but when referring to french pastries Craquelin is a sweet and crunchy cookie topping that you add to pate a choux to give it a distinct sweet and crunchy texture. Make out of brown sugar, butter, and flour, I find in addition to a delicious taste it keeps the cream puffs from getting soggy.
Types of Sugar for Craquelin
Light or Dark Brown sugar is the most common type of sugar for craquelin but I’ve heard of people using Demerara or Turbinado sugar, which have larger sugar crystals than regular brown sugar. I haven’t tried this, but I’m sure it’s delicious.
Flavors and Appearance of Craquelin
If you want to really go crazy with your cream puffs, you can add a few drops of food coloring to make a different colored topping. If you want chocolate craquelin add 2 tbsp cocoa powder.
How to Make Craquelin
This craquelin recipe is very simple. It uses unsalted butter, brown sugar, and flour. Put it into a standing mixer with a paddle attachment and mix until it starts to clump in the middle. You can see from the below picture after a few minutes of mixing it will be smooth and fully combined.
Then, you’ll roll it out until it’s about 1/4 in thick and put it in the freezer for at least a half an hour. Once it’s solid you can use a cookie cutter to cut out uniform circles and place them on top of the pate a choux. Bake as directed, and then you have beautifully crispy and delicious craquelin cream puffs.
Tips for Making Craquelin
- One thing to note is what size circle you use. Some people do a circle smaller than what is being piped. This creates a cute cookie top that doesn’t go all the way down the sides of the cream puff. So, the top has the cookie and the sides are like a normal cream puff. The bigger the craquelin circle the more of the cream puff that will be covered in craquelin. I personally like the entire cream puff covered in the cookie shell so I make my craquelin cookie circles about as big as the cream puff itself. The bigger the cream puffs, the bigger you’ll want to make the craquelin cookie.
- Make sure roll the craquelin to about ¼ in thick and freeze it for 30 minutes. The craquelin softens pretty quickly so if it gets too soft while cutting the circles, put it back in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up.
- When making craquelin ahead of time be sure to wrap tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to keep from taking on any flavors from the freezer or fridge.
Before rolling it out, this craquelin recipe can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or frozen for 6 months before rolling it out. Be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil so the butter doesn’t take on any flavors from your fridge or freezer.
Recipe altered from David Lebovitz
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup flour
- Pate a Choux
- Parchment or slipmat
- Rolling pin
- Circle cookie cutters
- Fit a standing mixer with a paddle attachment.
- Add softened butter and mix until flight and fluffy.
- Add brown sugar and flour and cream together until combined. It will ball in the middle of bowl.
- Place the mix onto a large piece of parchment that has been sprinkled with flour.
- Roll until about ¼ inch thick
- Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes
- Once you're ready to cook your cream puffs, use the circle cookie cutter to cut circles and place them on top of the pate a choux. If too hard to cut, let defrost for a minute or two.
- Cook pate a choux as normally instructed.
- Violla! Cream puffs with a crunchy cookie top.