Chocolate Eclairs

I'm thinking about my Joe's birthday in a couple of weeks and THESE, I believe, will fit the bill nicely.
 Makes 12 Four inch Eclairs

  • Pastry:
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • **************
  • Filling:
  • 1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1.5 cups cold milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream [ For an easier and lower fat route, add 1 cup Cool Whip instead]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • **************
  • Glaze:
  • 1 cup Semi or Dark Chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot water or milk
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring until butter melts completely. Reduce heat to low, and add flour. Stir vigorously until mixture leaves the sides of the pan and begins to form a stiff ball. Remove from heat. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate completely after each addition. With a spoon or a pastry bag fitted with a No. 10, or larger tip [**I use a gallon size freezer storage bag and cut the corner off about  2cm-1 inch from tip--making sure the hole is less than 1 inch wide**] spoon or pipe dough onto cookie sheet in 1 1/2 x 4 inch strips.
  3. Bake 35-40 minutes, until hollow sounding when lightly tapped on the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. Pierce the ends of the eclair shells with toothpick right after removing from the oven to release any steam.
  5. For the filling, combine pudding mix and milk in medium bowl according to package directions. In a separate bowl, beat the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Fold whipped cream into pudding. Cut tops off of cooled pastry shells with a sharp knife. Fill shells with pudding mixture and replace tops.
  6. For the icing, melt the chocolate and 1 teaspoon vanilla and 3 TB water or milk** I did this in the microwave [about 1.5-2 minutes]** Add bit more water or milk, one tablespoon at a time, until icing is smooth and has reached desired consistency. Drizzle over, *i.e. smother*, filled eclairs. Refrigerate until serving.

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