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Cheese Puffs 2

Today is a perfect almost winter day.  The air is crisp and chilly and the sun is shining. Winters here in North Carolina tend to be very mild.  This means that when the temperature drops below 50 degrees, I feel that it is “freezing” and that I deserve and maybe even need comfort food.

Yes, I crave soups, stews, spicy things, and warm cookies.  But to me, the most comforting thing in the world is the combination of warm bread and cheese.  I have been known to enjoy many versions of this tasty treat.   Today I’m sharing my new favorite way to get the cheese and bread combo into my belly.  It has a name I can’t really pronounce, but I know that if Mama Esther ate one, she’d think it was the fanciest biscuit she ever tasted.

Cheese Puffs 1

Truth be told, they are even easier to throw together than biscuits.  No cutting butter into flour or rolling anything out.  Just stir the ingredients together, throw the mixture in your mixer (say that 5 times fast) and scoop out by the spoonful onto a pan.  The best part is that you can also make up a batch to keep in the freezer and just bake a few off as you need them.

Cheese Puff and Coffee

I made them recently to have as a treat with cocktails.  The next morning I warmed up a few, put a bit of prosciutto between each toasted half and served alongside soft scrambled eggs.  They are delicious on their own, but a slice of sweet and salty prosciutto makes it an even nicer treat.    What is your favorite comfort food?

Gougeres

Adapted from various sources including Epicurious and Saveur.

8 tablespoons good quality organic butter, cut into pieces

¾  cup milk

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 cup flour

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups grated gruyère or sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine butter, milk, salt, and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and remove pan from heat when butter has melted. Add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a thick dough and pulls away from the sides of the pan, several minutes. Return the pan to the heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes or more.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, being sure to incorporate each egg before adding another. The dough should be thick, shiny, and smooth. Add 1 cup of the cheese and beat in until well combined.

Use a tablespoon to scoop out mounds of dough and onto a nonstick baking pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  You can slice one open to check the center for doneness, it should still be a bit moist.

Makes about 2 dozen

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