One of my favorite things about living in Seattle, which we did for a year, was how every tiny micro-neighborhood had its own super-local businesses. Every few blocks or so you’d come across an unexpected stretch of restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques. Lucky for me, my oldest daughter took a ballet class in a small yoga studio a couple of neighborhoods over that just happened to be two doors down from the best French bakery I’ve ever been to outside of France. Every Thursday after class, we would walk over and treat ourselves. The kids would share a chocolate croissant (because it was second breakfast, okay?), and I would get a cheddar scallion scone. We’d sit outside on oversized adirondack chairs and make messes of ourselves, watching neighbors walk by. I miss a million things about Seattle, but getting that scone is up there on the list.
Since I can’t get that scone anymore, and it was too perfect to try and recreate myself, I decided to use the same flavors to make something I’d never tried before: gougeres. The Americanized way to say it would be ‘cheese puff’, but I don’t really think that does this recipe justice. ‘Cheese puff’ makes me think of cardboard covered in neon orange powder that will never come off your hands, and that is the opposite of what we are doing here. These are billowy and crisp on the outside, airy on the inside bites of cheesy perfection. Seriously, try to eat just one.
The dough comes together in minutes on the stove before being transferred over to a food processor, where eggs, cheese and scallions are mixed in with a few pulses. You could get extra fancy and transfer the dough to a piping bag to make more uniform puffs, but I preferred the ease and the rustic look of using a rounded tablespoon to transfer the dough to cookie sheets. Twenty-ish minutes later and voila! You have an elegant and delicious appetizer or side dish for your next dinner party. Although we may have polished off a dozen between the four members of our family (they went surprisingly well with leftover pulled pork), so you might want to make two batches.
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ cup milk
- 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), cut into 8 pieces
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 400°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, and butter. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together.
- Return pan to the stove over medium-low heat and stir until dough begins to dry out, about two minutes. It’s normal to have a thin film on the bottom or sides of the pan.
- Place dough into a food processor. Pulse until the mixture stops steaming and is warm to the touch.
- Add one of the eggs and pulse until it is incorporated into the dough. Scrape down the sides of the food processor if necessary, then repeat with the other three eggs. Add the cheese and scallions and pulse until just combined.
- Using a round tablespoon measure, place rounded tablespoons of dough onto the parchment paper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until firm and golden brown.