I have to admit, when someone mentions the word “cheese puffs”, I usually picture these. So crunchy, so addictive, so awesome to have neon-colored, fake cheese-caked fingers. My other thoughts about cheese puffs, revolved around a “classy” 80’s party, where men in blazers and women with sky-high shoulder pads complimented their yuppie hosts on the puffy appetizers. Those strange, and opposing visuals began to change once I saw Ina Garten make them for her friend’s housewarming party. They looked slightly fancy, without being pretentious. They also looked delicious.
With no immediate event to make cheese puffs for, they went on the back-burner of my “to-try” queue. A couple months ago, however, I came across a recipe for them in an old Taste of Home magazine. The recipe seemed very simple (although I was a tad nervous about making a dough on the stove-top) and I just happened to be heading to a friend’s house for some Sunday football festivities. Wow, the planets have aligned. :P
Super simple ingredients
Boil the water, butter, salt, and pepper
Now the scary part, add the flour, all at once!, and stir stir stir
Time for the stand mixer and eggs. Don’t worry, it will stop looking like you completely messed up in a few minutes.
See? That’s better.
Add some cheese and mustard. Portion it out, more cheese (you can either line your baking sheets with parchment paper, or go au natural)
Then pop them into the oven, and watch them puff up!
This recipe can be endlessly adapted. You can swap in different cheeses (mmm cheddar, or a smoked gouda), or kick up the heat by using a spicy mustard, or add a small amount of fresh or dried herbs for flecks of color and added flavor. For these, I stuck to the recipe, but for one batch, shook it up by sprinkling the tops with either garlic powder, chile powder, or smoked paprika.
But they’re perfectly delicious just plain.
Cheese Puffs – Taste of Home
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbp. butter
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups shredded Gruyere or swiss
- 1 tbp. dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 425°.
In a large saucepan, bring water, butter, salt, and cayenne to a boil. Add flour all at once and stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat. Immediately transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and shiny (this will take a few minutes). Stir in Gruyere and mustard.
Using a small, tsp. sized scoop, scoop the dough onto parchment lined baking sheets (a dozen per half sheet pan). Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 15-20 min., rotating pans halfway through baking, until puffs are golden brown.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To serve, reheat at 350° for about 5 min.