1/2 cup butter (cubed)(no substitutions)
1 cup water
Bring the water and cubed butter to a boil (just until the butter melts). While it's still boiling, add one cup of flour (all at once) and stir with a sturdy spoon until the mixture turns into a thick "glob" (it just takes a few seconds).
Remove from heat and put "the glob" in your stand mixer. Mix on medium speed while you add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 tablespoon of sugar.
With the mixer still running, add four eggs, ONE AT A TIME, beating well in between each egg. The final dough will be quite sticky.
Either grease your cookie sheet or line with parchment paper (I like to use parchment paper) and place spoonfuls of this mixture (about the size of a golf ball?) on the prepared cookie sheet, making sure they are about 3-4 inches apart since, as they bake, they will puff up a lot.
Put in a PRE-HEATED 400°F oven and immediately turn the oven DOWN TO 350°F. Bake for one hour.
When you take them out of the oven, poke a small hole in the side of the baked cream puff to let steam escape. I have forgotten to poke that hole before and it didn't seem to make a lot of difference.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
They come out of the oven
LIGHTER THAN AIR!!
To serve, cut in half and fill with sweetened whipped cream or berries and whipped cream or pudding, or ice cream or anything your family likes.
Dust the tops with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate sauce.
VARIATION: If you leave out the sugar and vanilla, these puffs are delicious filled with chicken salad, seafood salad, etc.