Many people that I know are scared of making fancy french pastries. This is probably a valid concern when talking about puff pastry with layers of butter between each layer of thinly spread dough, but cream puffs are seriously very easy. (That can be our little secret. You can let the people you are serving think they are some intricate dessert you have labored over all day.)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
pinch of salt
2 Tbs granulated sugar (if making sweet instead of savory cream puffs)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Bring water, milk, butter, salt, and sugar to a boil. Stir constantly until bubbles appear and add all of the flour at once. Remove from heat and stir vigorously until all of the flour is incorporated into a smooth paste. The mixture will form a ball and the sides of the pan will be clean.
Mix in eggs one at a time. It is very important that the liquid is completely absorbed before adding the next egg. Once all of the eggs are added, transfer the dough into a Ziplock gallon bag and cut the tip off to form a hole approximately 1/2 inch in diameter. Brush with milk or egg wash.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pipe 1 inch circles, leaving at least an inch between each. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown, then turn oven off and crack the door slightly. Let the puffs (Haha. I don't know what else to call them) bake for an additional 10 minutes to dry out.
For the filling, you can use vanilla ice cream, custard, or whipped cream. We did whipped cream and loved them. Just whip some heavy cream with a few Tbs. of powdered sugar and a tsp. of vanilla until stiff, then pipe into the cut shells.