Entertaining this holiday season? You need cheese puffs

Entertaining this holiday season? You need cheese puffs

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By Alison Ladman
ASSOCIATED PRESS

It’s holiday entertaining season, so we say bring on the fat and carbs!

So we give you blue cheese and mushroom cheese gougeres. Or just call them cheese puffs; they’re delicious no matter what you call them. They’re basically dough balls studded with chopped mushrooms and crumbled blue cheese. They are delicious right from the oven or at room temperature. And as an entertaining bonus, they can be prepped ahead and frozen on the baking sheet. Just add a few minutes baking time when you’re ready to cook them off.

Blue cheese and mushrooms not your style? Substitute pretty much any cheese you like, ditch the mushrooms, add fresh herbs or scallions.

BLUE CHEESE AND MUSHROOM GOUGERES

Makes 25 to 30

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided

8 ounces mixed mushrooms, finely chopped

2 shallots, finely chopped

Kosher salt

½ cup water

½ cup milk

Ground black pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 eggs

¾ cup crumbled blue cheese

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

In a large skillet over medium-high, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the mushrooms, shallots and a hefty pinch of salt. Cook until tender and lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium, combine the remaining 7 tablespoons butter, the water, milk and a hefty pinch of each salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then add the flour all at once. Stirring with a wooden spoon, mix well and continue to cook until the mixture becomes a ball that separates from the pan, 1 to 2 minutes.

Scoop the dough ball into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly between additions. Stir in the reserved mushroom mixture and the blue cheese. Scooping by the tablespoonful, place walnut-sized dollops on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 1½ inches of space between each.

Alternatively, transfer the dough into a large zip-close plastic bag. Snip off one of the lower corners and pipe (squeeze) the mixture into place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.