About 60-80 prepared cream puffs (can be store bought)
2 cups sugar
Have cream puffs thawed (if frozen) and ready to use.
In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until sugar dissolves and turns a caramel brown. DO NOT overcook. Take caramel off heat.
Have a serving platter ready for the assembly process. Dip the bottom of each cream puff in the caramel and place about 18-20 in a solid circle as the bottom single layer of the crozembouche. The caramel acts as the “glue”.
Dip about 15 more cream puffs in the caramel to form the second layer, placing the second layer directly on top of the first, but a smaller circle so as to form a pyramid.
Continue with remaining cream puffs, allowing about 5-6 layers of cream puffs to create a pyramid, with only 2-3 as the final layer.
When the caramel is cooled to room temperature (but still sticky) use a fork to dip into the softened caramel and spin the caramel around the cream puffs to create “spun sugar”. This takes a little practice and the temperature of the caramel has to be just perfect. Reheat the caramel if it seems too cold. You can always sprinkle powdered sugar over the croquembouche, if all else fails.
Make this about 2-3 hours before serving. Serves about 15-20.
NOTE: If there is caramel remaining in your saucepan, heat over low heat, add ½ cup heavy cream and 1 T. butter. Cook until caramel and cream are combined, whisking often. The caramel stuck to the pan should be incorporated into the cream. Use this sauce over ice cream or as a flavoring in your hot chocolate.