Soft Baked Mini Cream Cheese Puffs

These little puffballs came to be because another recipe failed. It’s so frustrating when that happens.

But now I have a stellar recipe for cream cheese puffs that are ready in 15 minutes flat. Silver linings.

Soft Baked Mini Cream Cheese Puffs - Easy Recipe Ready in 15 minutes from averiecooks.com

The failed recipe was for vegan banana muffins with a brown sugar streusel. I have a great vegan banana muffin recipe and all I was changing was adding streusel to the top, but it was apparently too heavy for the eggless dough and the muffins collapsed. They tasted great, but weren’t pretty enough to blog about.

I still had muffins on my brain, and pulled out two mini muffin pans, without knowing what  batter I was going to make to fill them.

Something fast, easy, and fuss-free were requirements. Time was ticking. Make something. Hurry up. Daylight is burning. The days are getting shorter. Hurry up. Think. Think. Think. No more recipe fails. That was going on in my head.

Soft Baked Mini Cream Cheese Puffs - Easy Recipe Ready in 15 minutes from averiecooks.com

I looked around my fridge and grabbed a nearly used container of spreadable light cream cheese, leftover from the Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars, along with one stick of butter. To that I added 1 cup flour, baking powder, salt, and milk.

There are only 4 ingredients in these puffs, 6 if you count baking powder and salt.

The batter takes about 3 minutes to come together, and with less than 12 minutes to bake, you’ll be popping warm, fresh, soft bread in 15 minutes. They’re like 15-minute dinner rolls or biscuits, minus kneading, rolling, or cutting out. You can’t beat it.

Soft Baked Mini Cream Cheese Puffs - Easy Recipe Ready in 15 minutes from averiecooks.com

I put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl except the milk, and beat it together with my hand mixer. The batter was extremely thick and I drizzled in milk to thin it. I used 3/4 cup milk, you’ll probably use about the same, but because ingredients vary, you may need slightly more or less. The batter is very thick, pasty, dense, and far thicker than your average muffin batter.

You could likely keep them vegan by using vegan varieties of butter, cream cheese, and milk, and since there’s no egg, a vegan version seems very plausible, but I haven’t tried it. I had one failed vegan muffin recipe, and wasn’t willing to push my luck that day.

Soft Baked Mini Cream Cheese Puffs - Easy Recipe Ready in 15 minutes from averiecooks.com

Unlike my failed banana muffins, the puffs rise extremely well. Filling the cavities of your muffin pan to three-quarters full using 1 rounded tablespoon of batter is ideal.

I made 20 mini puffs, and while I’m sure you can bake them in a standard size muffin pan for a longer duration, part of the charm is the mini size. Mini food is so much more fun to eat, and I swear it tastes better.

However, mini food, especially muffins, can turn so dry, so quickly. The fat in the butter and cream cheese helps prevent that. They’re moist, buttery, and squishy soft.

Soft Baked Mini Cream Cheese Puffs - Easy Recipe Ready in 15 minutes from averiecooks.com

Be sure not to overbake them. Baking for 11 to 12 minutes was perfect for me and any longer than 12 minutes, and they would have turned too dark of a brown around the base, which you can’t see until you release the puffs from the pan. Bake until they’re set and springy to the touch, but don’t wait for the tops to turn golden. They won’t, and will stay very white.

You could add warming spices to the batter like cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg; or go savory with garlic, onion, smoked paprika. The flavor reads more buttery than cream cheesey and they’re a perfect blank canvas, receptive to many different spices and seasonings.

Soft Baked Mini Cream Cheese Puffs - Easy Recipe Ready in 15 minutes from averiecooks.com

The interior texture is a cross between an English muffin and a traditional biscuit, with lots of nooks and crannies, perfect for drenching with butter, jam, honey, or smearing on cream cheese.

Use them as the dippers for your favorite dips or chutneys, or serve them with soup.

Warm and fresh from the oven, these things were like Pringles. Once you pop, you can’t stop.

Soft Baked Mini Cream Cheese Puffs - Easy Recipe Ready in 15 minutes from averiecooks.com

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Soft Baked Mini Cream Cheese Puffs

These mini cream cheese puffs are soft, light, buttery and fast to make. From start to finish, just 15 minutes separates you from warm, fresh bread. The interior texture is a cross between an English muffin and a traditional biscuit, with lots of nooks and crannies, perfect for drenching with butter, jam, honey, or smearing on cream cheese. You could add warming spices to the batter like cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg; or go savory with garlic, onion, smoked paprika. They're a perfect blank canvas, receptive to many different spices. Eat them as is, or as dippers for your favorite dips, chutneys, or soup. Note the batter is very thick, dense, and paste-like; and don't overbake. They'll be prone to burning and turning too dark around the base after about 11-12 minutes so watch them closely.

Yield: about 20 mini puffs

Prep Time: 4 minutes

Cook Time: about 11 to 12 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temp
1/2 cup cream cheese (reduced fat or light cream cheese is okay; I used Trader Joe's spreadable light)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
about 3/4 cup milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F and spray  mini muffin pans with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pans; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except milk and beat with an electric mixer to combine, about 2 minutes on medium high speed. Mixture will be very crumbly, with pebbles and sandy bits.
  3. Slowly drizzle in up to 3/4 cup milk; just enough so that batter will combine and come together. Note - this batter is very thick and paste-like, and I only used 3/4 cup milk. If yours is thick to the point you can't stir it, add milk, as necessary to thin it.
  4. Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop that's been sprayed with cooking spray (helps batter slide off spoon or scoop easily), form rounded 1 tablespoon mounds and place mounds into prepared pans. Each cavity of pan should be filled about 3/4 full. The cavities are small and the batter is thick, and it's okay if  they're not all filled exactly uniformly. As the bake, batter that was placed in the pan in a very rounded fashion (like a perfect scoop of ice cream) will bake up more domed and puffed than batter that was just smooshed in. They rise very well; be careful not to overfill.
  5. Bake for about 11 to 12 minutes, or until puffs are springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don't overbake because they'll be prone to becoming dry and the bases will turn overly dark (and you can't see this until you release them from the pans). Allow puffs to cool in pans for about 10 minutes, or until they've firmed up and are cool enough to handle. Puffs are best fresh, but will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Serve plain or with butter, cream cheese, jam/jelly, honey, chutney, dips, soup.

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Soft and Fluffy Sandwich Bread averiecooks.com

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No-Knead Make-Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter - Recipe at averiecooks.com

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Challah – Light, fluffy, soft, tender, crossiant-like, and best challah ever. Extremely easy to make. No-knead, goofproof, and effortless. Dough can be made in advance and stored for up to five days prior to baking it

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Any notable baking fails you can remember?

   

68 Responses to “Soft Baked Mini Cream Cheese Puffs”

  1. #
    1
    Ellen — October 24, 2013 at 2:30 am

    Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bread recipe quote like this! I’m thoroughly intrigued. Bookmarking for the day I have excess cream cheese around…

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 24th, 2013 at 10:28 am

      You mean you don’t always have at least 3 containers on hand? :)

      Reply

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    Belinda @themoonblushbaker — October 24, 2013 at 3:09 am

    they look pretty tasty to me! reminds me of crumpt toast bites. sorry about your muffins but that is the joy of baking isn’t it? the Surprize recipes like this!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 24th, 2013 at 10:27 am

      Crumpt toast bites – never had those! I’m making Anzac biscuits/cookies later today after trying some at a potluck yesterday. Been wanting to do them forever but never have been motivated but these were so good. Thought of you!

      Reply

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    Jamie@Milk 'n' Cookies — October 24, 2013 at 3:21 am

    I’m sorry your banana muffins didn’t turn out the way you wanted them to. But these little cream cheese puffs look so soft, fluffy, and buttery. A cross between an English muffin and a biscuit? Sign me up!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 24th, 2013 at 10:26 am

      Every once in awhile there’s a silver lining with a recipe fail!

      Reply

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    Paula — October 24, 2013 at 3:48 am

    How did you know I was thinking about what kind of bread/rolls to make this weekend to go with some butternut squash soup?!? Your timing for this post is perfect and these look like tasty little gems! I’d love to make a yeast bread but won’t really have the time so a 15 min recipe will be so handy. I may take a look at some of the flavored cream cheeses and see if anything jumps out at me. Glad your banana muffins still tasted good–I love visually appealing food but my taste buds don’t really care how something looks. I know it’s a totally different story with food photography. I just burned the tar out of some squash seeds a couple of weeks ago. Spent all that time picking those slippery things out of the stringy goo, dehydrated them and then proceeded to ruin the whole batch.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 24th, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Omg your seed story sounds like a nightmare! I have done things like that – really intricate recipes or that the prep work is so laborious – only to mess it up. Gah!

      And yes if you had like a chive flavored cream cheese or any seasonal pumpkin-ish flavors or just add some spices to plain cream cheese, these little guys are so receptive to it. Blank canvas! LMK how you like them and what you end up tossing in!

      Reply

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    Tahnycooks — October 24, 2013 at 4:02 am

    These look so tasty! I’m loving how simple and quick they are! Pinning!

    Oh, I hate it when I waste ingredients on failed recipes!

    Reply

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    Ashley — October 24, 2013 at 4:05 am

    haha once you pop, you can’t stop. I have a feeling that would happen to me if I made these! I really like how simple these are – and that they have cream cheese in them!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 24th, 2013 at 10:22 am

      It happens to me every time with mini stuff!

      Reply

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    Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! — October 24, 2013 at 4:25 am

    Oh my goodness, these are so adorable! Mini anything baked is always adorable. I love how soft and airy – and easy – these look!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 24th, 2013 at 10:22 am

      super easy – the best kind of recipe :)

      Reply

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    Laura Dembowski — October 24, 2013 at 5:27 am

    These are adorable and look so light and fluffy! Great idea to add spices.

    Reply

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    Tieghan — October 24, 2013 at 5:33 am

    Recipe fails are seriously such a bummer, especially when they taste awesome but look terrible. I had one of those a few days ago, but I did not get a great recipe out of a failed one that day! These cream puffs sound and look incredible. Perfect for the upcoming the upcoming holiday season!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 24th, 2013 at 10:19 am

      I was in a jam and needed a recipe to photograph. You know how it is when have a schedule and need to stick to it so that the next day or two of cooking/cooling/pre-doing/etc isn’t wasted and scrambly!

      Reply

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    bev@bevcooks — October 24, 2013 at 7:17 am

    OOOOOOOOOmg. Opening mouth and just waiting for these to fall into it.

    Reply

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    Mallory @ Total Noms — October 24, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Recipe fail or not, these look so good! I just want to reach out and grab one… and then slather it with jam and butter… and then eat it. Fast.

    Reply

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    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — October 24, 2013 at 8:47 am

    I want to inhale that whole stack, too cute!

    Reply

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    Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent — October 24, 2013 at 9:09 am

    These cheese puffs look amazing! Kind of glad the other recipe failed, because it resulted in this one :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 24th, 2013 at 10:16 am

      I know. I didn’t really need that 37th banana recipe anyway!

      Reply

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    Shundara@SavyNaturalista — October 24, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Light and fluffy they look just like angel cake!!! Great recipe,easy and quick!!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 24th, 2013 at 10:15 am

      Angel cake – great comparison!

      Reply

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    Nora (Buttercream Fanatic) — October 24, 2013 at 11:23 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about your muffin frustration. What a pain!! But I’m also secretly grateful that they didn’t work out because I am in love with this recipe.

    Reply

  16. #
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    Ruby @ The Ruby Red Apron — October 24, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Wow these little puffs look too cute! I love how fluffy they look inside!

    Reply

  17. #
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    Chamaine @ All in a Soiree — October 24, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    These mini cream cheese puffs look so airy. Love it!

    Reply

  18. #
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    Ashley — October 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Gotta love those silver linings! These look scrumptious, and quick and easy is always welcome on the dessert front :)

    Reply

  19. #
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    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — October 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    This looks so light and airy! And their miniature size will have me gobbling up all of these!

    Oh and if you need someone to help you eat the failed banana muffins, I’m your girl!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 24th, 2013 at 4:39 pm

      We actually ate them b/c they tasted great, they just didnt have the pretty domed muffin top…sigh.

      Reply

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    Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective — October 24, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Not happy about your recipe fail, but totally happy about these little guys! Thanks for sharing! :)

    Reply

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    Lucy @ Bake Play Smile — October 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Wow these look so light and fluffy! Just gorgeous! xx

    Reply

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    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — October 24, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    I would eat all of these without even noticing it. Like, I’d just pop pop pop them into my mouth and then be all “where’d all the puffs go?”

    Recipe fails. UGH!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 24th, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      girl I’m not even a big bread eater (I mean I could be – but if it’s worthless carbs, I’d prefer cookies..LOL) but these – omg pop pop pop in they went. I swear to god half were inhaled the minute the photos were done! Puffs went poof!

      Reply

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    Liz @Life Made Sweet — October 24, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    This is divine comfort rolled into a puff for me! YUM!!! I have so many failures some that were just failures and some that turned into yummy deliciousness! Yay for silver linings! I once left peaches and sugar cooking way longer than I should have and ended with peach gummies instead of peach jam…but good thing I LOVE peach gummies!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 24th, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      peach gummies!! How funny (thank God you didn’t have a caramelized hot mess all over your pan though – I’ve done that with sugar/jam making – what a mess!)

      Reply

  24. #
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    Yvonne @ bitter baker — October 24, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Love it when failed recipes still turn out good, although completely different from what you expected! These look yummy!

    Reply

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    Jayne — October 24, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Love how your little mish mash created something beautiful! :-) Sometimes these happy accidents are just wonderful, right? I like to think of them as rewards for all the time spent in the kitchen. :-) I happen to have a little leftover cream cheese too. Might make this tonight!

    Reply

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    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) — October 25, 2013 at 6:19 am

    how cute and tasty are theeese??!!

    Reply

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    Kate@Diethood — October 25, 2013 at 7:24 am

    The beauty of a recipe fail!! Buh bye muffins, helllllooooo puffs! Amazing little guys… how on Earth did you get through photographing them without swallowing them all at once?! Must be that incredible self-control that all food bloggers possess. :)

    Reply

  28. #
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    Valerie — October 25, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Oh, my! Beautiful recovery after a recipe fail. (When a recipe flops on me I sulk and brood for at least two days.) :D These puffs are dreamy!

    Reply

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    Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg — October 25, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    These are adorable and so simple to make. Love this recipe!

    Reply

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    Monica M — October 25, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Hi Averie! I just made these and I couldn’t resist the temptation to try tjhem warm. I love them! They are so soft and buttery and cheesy, even though I never consider cream cheese to be a cheese! :) I love recipes that are so quick and eady and that come out amazing especially after you had a failure! See? Now you’ve got an amazing recipe that takes probably half the time as the one you failed and it also tastes better! Total win! :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 25th, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      so soft and buttery and cheesy – I agree! And yes, as much as I hated that fail, I truly didn’t need another banana muffin recipe. Thanks for trying these & LMK you loved them! :)

      Reply

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    Paula — October 25, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    I made these for dinner–they are delicious and my husband loved them also! I decided to double the recipe and bake the other half in a loaf pan (it took about 23 min). I just added my own dill and parsley to the loaf and left the little puffs plain so I could have them with butter and jam. Very yummy, super quick and soft–I love the cream cheese in them!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 25th, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      Hi Paula I am so glad you tried them! I bet your own dill and parsley was awesome in what you made as a loaf (good idea if you only have 1 mini muffin pan AND wanted to double the recipe) – and leaving the little puffs plain for butter and jam, yes, I smeared PB & J on them. Sort of ‘stuffed’ them like a mini donut if you will with PB&J. Super messy and not camera friendly but sure tasted great! Glad your hubs like them as well! And thanks for the 23min cooking time info re the loaf!

      Reply

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    Allie | Baking a Moment — October 25, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Averie, I have never seen anything like these before! I am totally intrigued & I can’t wait to give them a try. I hate to say this, because I know how frustrating recipe fails can be (on so many levels), but I’m kinda glad for this one, because it’s resulted in something so unique! Pinned!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 25th, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      Thanks for pinning and glad you’re intrigued! And yes sometimes there really are silver linings stemming from a fail!

      Reply

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    Two Red Bowls — October 26, 2013 at 11:43 am

    You’re incredible! I can’t imagine just throwing together a baked goods recipe like you do and have it come out as beautiful and tasty-looking as this. And you’re TOTALLY right — everything tastes better as minis!! I’ll have to bookmark these. I make mini pizza puffs that aren’t too different, just some cheese and pepperoni mixed into the dough — I wonder how they’d taste with this as a base. My guess is, fantastic :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 26th, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      This base would be perfect to be doctored up with red sauce, cheese, basil, oregano, etc…it’s such a blank canvas! And thanks for the compliments – over the years I’ve figured out things that I know will work on the fly but other times, I am caught offguard (i.e. vegan baking! tons of surprises!)

      Reply

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    Julie Kono — October 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I made these today and let me tell you! Wow! Honestly they were not what I was expecting at all! I love them! I guess I didn’t fill mine 3/4 full because I had a little left over so I decided to add a little garlic powder to the batter and baked up the extra 5 and that was wow too! It’s mid afternoon and my husband is out doing yard work so I decided to make some thing from this site that is not sweet, since cookies and bars is all I ever bake these days. I was expecting little biscuit flavored muffins and so I had my butter all ready to spread on these babies when they were done from the oven, but I didn’t need butter! These are crispy on the outside and the only way I can describe the inside is like the taste of an English muffin toasted perfectly with melted butter in every crevice! Mmmm! I cannot wait to make these for a mid movie snack for my husband! He is going to absolutely love them! I want to run outside with one of these and follow him around with his lawn mower so he can taste one, but I will just have to wait, darn it! I can see these as the crust for some sort of appetizer too, just have to figure out what! I don’t know if all the other commenters tried them, but I did and I will make these again and again and again…… Thanks Averie! You da bomb! Lol

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 26th, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      the taste of an English muffin toasted perfectly with melted butter in every crevice! = YES!! That is what I was trying to describe in this post and I don’t know if it fully conveyed and from the pics, while they do look pretty good I think, the taste in reality is exceptionally good if I may say so! I totally agree with you, too, they don’t even ‘need’ butter. Of course you can always add some :)

      A regular reader/commenter who makes nearly every recipe I post (Paula, a couple comments above you) make a double batch and went savory with some, plain with the other; and baked some of it in a little loaf pan. Super versatile recipe!

      I love the image of you chasing your hubs around while he’s mowing with these…do it! LOL

      Reply

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    Jocelyn@BruCrew Life — October 28, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    I love the way your mind works!! So much like mine, it’s cray-cray!! ;) I want to inhale these cute little cream cheese puffs!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 28th, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      Jocelyn they were so inhale-able, too! :)

      Reply

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    joeinvegas — October 29, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Made them this past weekend – I thought they were very good – thank you for the idea.

    Reply

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    Amy — October 29, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Averie, I almost (but not really) wish you would fail at recipes more often if little gems of mini treats like these appear afterward! I’m really impressed that you could turn around after a recipe disaster and bake something else. I break down and dissolve into tears while sitting on my pink step stool in the kitchen, so it’s inspiring that you’re strong enough to get back at it!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 29th, 2013 at 11:44 pm

      A couple cookbooks and 5 years of blogging later, I have learned to THINK on the FLY! It’s a job requirement and to not let the fails get you down!

      Reply

      • Amy replied: — October 30th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

        It’s a talent many people want and few people have, so good for you! Hopefully someday I’ll get there too. :)

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    Alex @ Kenzie Life — October 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    These look SO good! And SO easy, which is really what helps me decide whether or not to make a recipe :) I’m going to veganize them and let you know how it goes!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 30th, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      Ok that’s awesome to hear! Please LMK how it goes!

      Reply

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    Molly D — March 8, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    What a happy mistake! These are delicious and SO EASY!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 8th, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      Thanks for trying them, Molly! Glad you enjoyed!

      Reply

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    En — October 8, 2014 at 3:06 am

    Hi! I’m going to make these little cream cheese puffs tmr! The ingredients are reall simple but i just realised there wasnt any sugar in the recipe! Will the puffs be sweet and is it okay to eat it plain?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 8th, 2014 at 3:23 am

      They’re not super sweet and more like a ‘dinner roll’ in terms of sweetness but you could easily add 3/4 cup sugar or so to make them sweet. Do whatever sounds good.

      Reply

      • En replied: — October 9th, 2014 at 5:54 am

        Hi i just made these and they tasted quite good! But mine didnt rise as beautifully as yours. I whisked all the ingredients by hand as i did not have an electric mixer and the mixture was not crumbly, is it because the ingredients were not mixed by an electric mixer?

        • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 9th, 2014 at 2:03 pm

          It’s possible; or your ingredients may not have been what I use and recommend which is King Arthur brand all-purpose flour. I find it rises THE BEST compared to other flours and my baking powder and baking soda are from Trader Joe’s – make sure yours was fresh as that could have done it, too.

    • En replied: — October 10th, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      Thanks for replying! Alright i’ll note it down, thanks for clarifying my doubts :) Love your recipes!

      Reply

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