In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil.
While stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, pour in the flour mixture until the batter starts to appear dry and no longer clings to the pan or spoon, about 2-3 minutes.
Transfer dough to a bowl and let rest for 5 minutes, stirring a few times to help release heat.
Using a stand mixer with a flat beater attachment (or hand mixer + large bowl), add the warm dough and one egg. Mix on medium-high speed until completely smooth, then add another egg, again mixing until smooth. Repeat this process for each egg. Dough is ready when it sticks up without sagging on the end of a spoon.
Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 2A piping tip or similar size. While holding the pastry bag straight down over prepared baking sheet and not moving, pipe out the dough so that it puffs up and outward, creating mounds that are roughly 2 inches wide and 1 inch high. Space each mound at least 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Repeat this step until all the dough has been used, creating 12 mounds.
To help the choux pastry puff up while baking, sprinkle water over the mounds of dough and some on the baking sheet.
Bake choux dough on a lower rack for 10 minutes. REDUCE heat to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown and firm to the touch.
Let choux pastry rest on the pan for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Using a toothpick, poke a hole in each puff to help cool and prevent insides from getting soggy. Allow to cool completely before decorating.
For the Whipped Cream
Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), add in heavy whipping cream and vanilla. Whip on high speed until bubbles form, about 1-2 minutes.
Drop mixer speed to medium-high and add 1 tablespoon of sugar, then mix thoroughly, about 1-2 minutes. Repeat this step until all of the sugar has been used and the consistency is thick and creamy.
Add whipped cream to a piping bag with a large piping tip of your choice.
Putting it all together
Slice cooled choux pastries in half, creating top and bottom halves. Pipe cream onto the bottom half and then cover with the matching top piece. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Repeat this step until all cream puffs have been prepared.
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