Cheddar Cheese Puffs

I like to make a batch of these in mid-November and pop them in the freezer so that I have an easy appetizer on hand for holiday gatherings. But I also like to have them at the ready for when I’m just craving a pre-dinner snack. The formal name is Gougeres, which you can use when you’re feeling fancy and want to impress your guests, and “cheese puff” rolls off the tongue just fine for when snacking. I often make these with gruyere cheese, but since the flavor is quite strong and not to everyone’s liking, here I call for cheddar. Feel free to experiment with other cheeses. Parmigiano is nice as well.

Cheddar Cheese Puffs

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
I like to make a batch of these in mid-November and pop them in the freezer so that I have an easy appetizer on hand for holiday gatherings. But I also like to have them at the ready for when I'm just craving a pre-dinner snack. The formal name is Gougeres, which you can use when you're feeling fancy and want to impress your guests, and "cheese puff" rolls off the tongue just fine for when snacking. I often make these with gruyere cheese, but since the flavor is quite strong and not to everyone's liking, here I call for cheddar. Feel free to experiment with other cheeses. Parmigiano is nice as well.
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Servings 30

Ingredients
 

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, such as Morton's
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 ounces mild white cheddar cheese, grated
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg

Instructions
 

  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 400 F.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the water, milk, butter and salt to a boil. Add the flour, turn down to medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. It should pull away from the sides of the pan when done and have a slight film on the bottom of the pot. Do not let it burn – adjust the heat lower if it begins to darken.
  • Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment for a minute or two until it is cooled off. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each one is well incorporated before adding the next.
  • Stir in the cheese, a few grinds of black pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.
  • Transfer the mixture to a piping bag, or gallon-sized plastic storage bag if you do not have a piping bag. Snip a ½ inch opening in the corner of the bag, then pipe 1-inch rounds onto the baking sheet, spaced 2 inches apart.
  • Bake in the oven for 22 minutes, until puffed and golden. Serve immediately, or let cool and freeze. Rewarm in a 325 F oven to serve if frozen.

Notes

These cheese puffs can take on any flavors you prefer. Try adding herbs, such as chopped thyme, rosemary or sage. Swap out the Gruyere cheese for a blue cheese such as Roquefort or Stilton, or an aged gouda, a smoked cheese, or other aged flavorful cheese of your liking. You can also open these and stuff them with salmon spread or simply smoked salmon and some creme fraiche.
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