Once the dough is formed, you're ready to begin baking. For regular size puffs, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto greased baking sheets. The dough will expand as it bakes, so leave 3 inches of space between each portion of dough. For a fancier look, pipe the dough onto baking sheets using a pastry bag and 1/2-inch star tip. Or, place tablespoons of dough side by side on a baking sheet to form a pretty pastry ring for a unique after-dinner delight.
It's easy to make miniature cream puffs by using smaller amounts of dough and decreasing the baking time. If you aren't following a recipe specifically for cream puffs, be sure to watch them so they don't burn or dry out.
Regardless of the size and shape of cream puffs, bake them until they are golden on all sides. Underbaking can cause the puffs to collapse.
After removing the pastries from the oven, prick them with a sharp knife or slice them in half. This allows the steam to escape so the puffs won't become soggy. Remove the soft dough from inside the halves with a fork and discard it.
Don't have the time to fill the puffs right away? Cooled puffs can be frozen in freezer bags or freezer containers up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator a day early, then simply fill before serving.