Cheese Puffs!

 
 
If you need a last minute appetizer that is also inexpensive and will wow your guests, these "Cheese Puffs" are your answer!   These are also great served with soups, pasta dishes or salads!   You can even make them larger, split them and fill them with Mama's Pecan Chicken Salad   or  Mama's Ham Salad!   That would be great for a bridal or baby shower!  Your guests will think you went all out and are so accomplished.  We won't tell them how easy these are!  
 
The dough you make for these cheese puffs, the fancy schmancy name is gougeres, is very different than dough for other baked breads you probably usually make.  This dough is cooked stove top partially and then finished in the oven to bake.  The method is what makes it puff and a little airy.  It might sound complicated, but it's really not.  Just follow the directions and it will work out well.  
 
Here is what you will need:
 
 6 Tablespoons butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup water
1 cup all purpose flour
4 large eggs
3/4 cup shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese (could even substitute cheddar)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
 
Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray with a little nonstick spray.
 
In a large saucepan, combine the butter, salt, cayenne, garlic powder, and water.   Bring this mixture to a boil until the butter is melted.  
 
Remove from the heat and add flour, stirring to incorporate it.  Return to low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and starts to form a ball.  Remove from heat again and stir in eggs one at a time.   Be sure to remove from heat or you will have scrambled eggs and that won't be a good thing! 
 
Stir until the batter is smooth and satiny looking.  Stir in the cheeses.
 
  Drop onto the cookie sheets in about 3/4 inch mounds.  I used a small cookie scoop for this and it worked perfectly.  You can use a teaspoon or you can put the dough in a piping bag and do it that way.  Make sure they are an inch apart, because they will expand some.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes!
 
They should be golden brown!
 
You can serve these hot right out of the oven,  at room temperature or they also reheat well!
 




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