Let the partying begin!! I love this time of year! The approaching holidays here at the Circle B Kitchen mean lots of family around, lots of parties and well…lots of eating and lots of cooking. And it’s my favorite kind of cooking, really. Party food is just as fun for me to cook as it is to eat. Well, almost. But for the next few weeks I will be sharing some of my favorite party foods with you, and we’ll start here with some cheddar puffs that just sit on that little plate crying out for a glass of cabernet or pinot or zinfandel…actually just a glass of wine, any wine.
The French cousin of this cheddar puff is a “gougeres” and is usually made with gruyere cheese. The dough is called pate a choux and they’re really, really good. I’ve made both versions and like them equally.
They’re really pretty easy to make…the dough is cooked in a saucepan first and then transferred to a mixer where the eggs and cheese are added.
Then they can be spooned onto baking sheets or piped for a more refined look. I'm sort of thinking that a gougeres should be piped, but a cheddar puff should be spooned.
Then you just bake them....
...cool, and eat. So good. They're sort of a cross between a popover and savory, cheesy, cream puff with a hollow center that just begs to be filled (another post).
And one of the really great things about them is that you can make them ahead and freeze them and then re-heat when needed. So it's on you to think of a reason to throw a party, then pour a glass of wine and get yourself some cheddar puffs made. Here's the recipe...
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups water
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 to 2½ cups all-purpose flour
4 cups of extra sharp Cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Combine butter, water, sugar, salt and cayenne in a large saucepan. Cook until butter melts. Add 2 cups of flour all at once. Reduce heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon about 1 minute. Pour into mixing bowl; using a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat 1 minute at medium-low speed to cool the mixture. Increase speed to medium; add eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate before adding the next. Batter should be firm, not runny. If necessary, blend in an additional ½ cup flour. Fold in cheese. Drop by tablespoons onto baking pan lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with paprika.
3. Bake 10 minutes, turn the pan, and bake 10 more minutes. Leftover puffs can be frozen. Makes about 60.