The Sensitive Kitchen

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cheddar Gougeres

This classic appetizer starts with the same dough used to make cream puffs and takes them for a savory spin. I like to have gougeres ready for last-minute holiday guests by freezing them (unbaked) well ahead of time, then popping them into the oven when I need them. Make sure you use the strongest-flavored, tastiest cheese you can find; as with most recipes, the finished product is only as good as its ingredients.
1 c water 
1/4 c (1/2 stick) butter, cut into 4 pieces 
1/4 tsp. cayenne (optional)
1/2 tsp. coarse kosher salt, plus additional for sprinkling 
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour 
4 large eggs 
1 1/2 c (packed) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese 
2/3 cup minced scallions, arugula, basil or fresh green flavoring of your choice
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring water, butter, cayenne and salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat; mix in flour. Stir over medium heat until mixture becomes slightly shiny and pulls away from sides of pan, about 3 minutes. Transfer to stand mixer fitted with paddle. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition to form sticky dough. Mix in cheese and scallions. 

Using 2 teaspoons, form dough into 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" ovals. Drop onto baking sheets 1" apart. (Can be made ahead. Place baking sheets in freezer, remove gougeres to a container or Ziploc bag when hardened, keep frozen up to 1 month.) 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes if at room temperature and 35 minutes if chilled or frozen. Serve immediately. Makes about 36.

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