Your guests will think you are a whiz in the kitchen when you serve these cheese puffs, but they are quick and easy to make and oh so good!!
Made from a basic cream puff dough and grated cheese, these bite size treats are FULL of air pockets and have a crispy-cheesy outer crust. You can eat them right out of the oven, or get imaginative and fill them with anything savory.
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon salt
pinch of cayenne pepper (or more if you like)
1 cup all purpose flour
3 large eggs at room temperature
½ teaspoon paprika (not the spicy kind)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (not the powdered kind)
1½ cups grated Gruyere cheese (see note)
coarse salt to sprinkle on top (see note)
Combine the milk, butter, ¼ teaspoon salt and cayenne in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once it starts to boil, remove it from the heat and add the flour all at once (mixing like crazy with a sturdy spatula) until the mixture comes together like this:Return the pan to the heat and cook over medium heat for about a minute to dry out any excess moisture (stirring).
Remove from heat and put into a food processor and let it cool for five minutes. After the five minutes, process the dough for about 5 seconds. Add the paprika and eggs (one egg at a time) mixing well after each egg.
Remove from food processor and let dough cool for about 10 minutes. Mix in grated cheese and stir just enough to mix well.
Using a measuring tablespoon, scoop out a LEVEL TABLESPOON of the dough and push it off of the spoon (with your finger) onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet (try and keep the puffs as round as possible (but it isn’t critical).
Place them about 2” apart. Top each puff with a pinch of Parmesan and just a mini-pinch of coarse salt (see note below). Bake at 375° for 30 minutes (watch them the last 2 or 3 minutes so they don’t get too dark).
Serve warm or at room temperature. Just as soon as they come out of the oven, pierce the side of the puff with the tip of a small knife (to let any steam escape), this will keep them crispy longer.
NOTE: Make sure you have everything ready to go before you start making these puffs (cheese grated, flour measured, etc.) so that the liquid volume doesn’t boil away while you are grating your cheese, etc.
NOTE: Let the batter cool a little before you add the eggs so they don’t cook when they hit the hot dough.
NOTE: Lets talk about cheese. You can use any cheese you want but your results will vary significantly, depending on what kind you use. The dough will puff up best when you use a hard, dry cheese. If you use a wet cheese, like cheddar, your puffs MIGHT try to deflate when you take them out of the oven. They will still taste good, but they might not be crispy.
NOTE: If you are going to use the traditional Gruyere cheese…note that there are several different kinds of Gruyere. You want the dry hard one, not the semi-soft one.
NOTE ABOUT SALT: The recipe calls for a pinch of coarse salt on the top of each puff, but we don’t care for that…the Parmesan and Gruyere are pretty salty already.
This sounds like a lot of hassle, but once you make these, you will see that they are a snap and I have only one warning…they are addictive!!