I made these for my building's holiday party. They're good and not expensive. You can make them ahead; you can refrigerate the dough and bake later, or bake, refrigerate (or freeze) and reheat. I think they're best warm but mine were just room temperature and they still disappeared fast.
I used Gruyère cheese but if I made them again, I'd substitute an aged cheddar or half swiss, half cheddar for a more cheesy taste. You can use milk or water. You can make them by hand, but a sturdy mixer makes it a lot easier to beat in the eggs.
Gougeres keep, chilled in sealable plastic bags 2 days or frozen 1 week. Reheat gougeres, uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven 10 minutes if chilled or 15 minutes if unthawed frozen
Gougères [French Cheese Puffs]
MAKES ABOUT 30 GOUGÈRES
1 cup milk [can use water instead]
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick) [NOTE: or use salted
butter and omit the following 1/4 tsp salt]
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne pepper and/or ½ tsp dry mustard [optional]
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs [other recipes call for 4 eggs – have one in reserve]
1/2 teaspoon paprika [optional]
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese [reserve ~ 2 TBS to sprinkle on top]
1 1/2 cups [~ 7 oz] grated Swiss cheese (Emmenthaler or Gruyère) OR Cheddar
Combine flour and any dry spices you're using (cayenne pepper/dry mustard/paprika) in a small bowl and stir to mix.
In a medium saucepan, combine liquid, butter and salt. Turn heat to medium and bring contents to just short of a boil. Cook, stirring, until butter melts. Add flour/spice mixture all at once
and cook, stirring constantly
, until dough holds together in a ball, 5 minutes or less. Dough will get stiffer as you stir; keep stirring until dough is smooth. Transfer batter to a large mixing bowl or the workbowl of a mixer.
With a wooden spoon or sturdy mixer, beat the eggs into the dough one by one, beating thoroughly after each addition. Beat enough of the reserved beaten egg into the dough until it is shiny and just falls from he spoon, using as much egg as necessary.
Mix in the cheese(s) just to combine into dough.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter cookie sheet (or line a cookie sheet with a reusable nonstick baking mat or parchment paper). Using a tablespoon, scoop out a level tablespoon of the gougère dough, and push it off the spoon onto the cookie sheet. Continue making individual gougères, spacing them about 2-inches apart on the sheet. Sprinkle a few grains of coarse salt and a little of the reserved Parmesan cheese on each gougère. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until nicely browned and crisp. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature.
Here's what they look like