Smoked Gouda & Pepper Cheese Puffs

So I was ready for this to be an epic fail, but shockingly these little puffs turned out great! Huge crowd pleaser!

I’ve never made anything like this before and the recipe seemed very odd to me. Needless to say I was skeptical. But they sounded intriguing and well, delicious. So I gave it a go.

The recipe is on point in every way. Your arms are gonna get a good workout from stirring the dough after the addition of each egg. Don’t be surprised and/or give up faith when the dough begins to have the consistency of playdough. It is kinda weird. But eventually the dough will come together and will be pipeable (yep, I just made that word up).

These are light, cheesy, and savory. They’re best served warm but they’re still tasty at room temperature. Perfect as a side treat for a warm and cozy soup. Enjoy!

Smoked Gouda & Pepper Cheese Puffs (recipe care of Real Simple)

INGREDIENTS: 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (plus more for garnish), ¾ cup (1½ sticks) salted butter (cut into pieces), ½ teaspoon kosher salt, 4 ounces smoked Gouda cheese (grated) (about 1 cup packed), 5 large eggs, flaky sea salt (for garnish)

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 400°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and pepper in a medium bowl. Combine 1½ cups water, butter, and kosher salt in a large saucepan; cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until mixture just comes to a boil. Add flour mixture to saucepan all at once. Stir quickly using a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms and dough pulls away from sides of pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cheese and stir until mostly melted and smooth, about 1 minute. Add eggs 1 at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition, until smooth. (Batter will appear lumpy after each egg but will smooth out as you stir.) Transfer dough to a large zip-top bag with a ½-inch tip of 1 corner cut off (or a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip). Pipe 1 ½-inch mounds, spaced at least 1 inch apart, onto prepared baking sheets (about 24 per baking sheet). Flatten any pointy tips with your fingertip. Top with flaky sea salt and more pepper. Transfer any remaining batter in bag to refrigerator. Bake until puffed and golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Repeat with any remaining dough, reusing parchment paper on slightly cooled baking sheet. Keep warm in a 200°F oven. Cheese puffs can be made up to 3 hours ahead; reheat in a 225°F oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until hot, about 15 minutes.

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