Pink. Pink. PINK! Pink ribbons. Pink jewelry. Pink pens and T-shirts and bath sponges. A pink KitchenAid mixer; pink M&Ms. Pink ribbon-shaped bagels at Panera. Pink Ribbon Barbie! Heck, even Everlast has joined the party with pink boxing gloves (I’m SO there…)
October brings not only falling leaves (and this year, a falling stock market), but a blizzard of pink-themed merchandise. It’s hard not to get cynical about this cascade of pink advertising, this rose-tinted marketing hype. Enough, already; we know, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Make a donation; save a life. Blah blah blah…
But hold on. Marketing hype it may be, but it goes beyond simply adding dollars to the bottom line. Most pink marketing is based on a solid foundation of fund-raising. And for that, I’m thankful.
Because I’m a breast cancer survivor. That’s right; I’m one of 2 million+ American women living with this disease and its after-effects. And trust me, I can be as cynical as the next gal, but I appreciate every cent that goes into the coffers of the many, many breast cancer foundations and charities and research hospitals that benefit by October’s Pink Product Parade.
Because curing cancer costs money. Lots of it. And though researchers are getting tantalizingly close, we’re not there yet. Every 3 minutes, an American woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. Every 13 minutes, a woman dies from it. Imagine how many children this year will lose their mothers; how many mothers their daughters, and women, their best friends. THAT’S what’s behind Pink October; putting an end to the suffering.
King Arthur Flour is right in there pitching pink with everyone else. I’ve made sure we’re donating to a charity—the National Breast Cancer Foundation—that gets the highest rating from Charity Navigators, a consumer watchdog group.
But I’m not asking you to buy anything from us. I’m just asking you not to be jaded. Because women’s lives are saved every year, thanks to cancer fund-raising. And I’m proof… living proof.
OK, back to baking. PINK baking (groan…) Hey, these Pink Puffs are not only tasty—they’re just 40 calories each (if you forgo the pink sugar on top). How’s THAT for putting you in the pink?
Let’s make the filling first. For the low-calorie version of these puffs, I’m partial to sugar-free vanilla pudding mix made with skim milk, and enhanced with vanilla. Whisk or blend together the pudding mix, milk, and vanilla, and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.
If you’re not averse to a bit of sugar in these puffs, combine 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring in a blender or mini food processor. Process to make pink sugar; it won’t be perfectly powdery due to the liquid food color, but you’ll be able to press it through a sieve onto the finished puffs.
Next, butter, water, and salt go into a saucepan. Heat till the butter melts…
…and the mixture comes to a boil.
Add the flour all at once, and stir, over low heat, until the mixture comes together and follows the spoon or spatula around the pan. This will only take 30 seconds or so. Remove from the heat, and transfer to a mixing bowl to cool for 10 minutes or so.
Next, take your room-temperature eggs… What—you forgot to take the eggs out of the fridge?! No worries. Just stick them in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes or so (while the dough is cooling).
Add the eggs to the butter-flour mixture one at a time. When you first add an egg, it’ll look slimy, like this.
But as you beat, it’ll become smooth.
Use a heaped teaspoon cookie scoop (or the tool of your choice, though the cookie scoop works like gangbusters), and scoop ping-pong-ball-sized rounds onto a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet. You’ll need two baking sheets. Stagger the dough balls so you can leave about 2″ between them; they’re going to expand as they bake.
Here they are, ready to go into the oven.
And here they are, puffed and light golden brown. Remove them from the oven…
…and use a knife tip to make a small slit in each puff along its fault line. Return to the oven, and bake for 5 more minutes. This helps dry the inside of the puffs, allowing them to remain crisp longer.
Cut each puff just enough to make a clamshell-type top and bottom.
Dollop in the filling…
…and close up.
Sieve the pink sugar over the puffs.
Serve at a Pink Party! Notice the sugar turns bright pink where it hits the filling. If you don’t like that look, be sure to sieve sugar only where it won’t touch any oozing filling.
Read, review, and rate (please!) our recipe for Pink Puffs.
Buy vs. Bake
Buy: Simply Enjoy Vanilla Cream Puffs, in the supermarket freezer section, 45¢/ounce
Bake at home: Pink Puffs, 9¢/ounce