Recipe: Cheddar Cheese Puffs

I like cheese. I really like cheese. I really really really like cheese. If I had to choose between chocolate and cheese for the rest of my life, I'd pick cheese. Sure, I'd miss chocolate occasionally, but I'd still have cheese, so everything would be ok.

I'd been planning to bake some savoury snacks since Christmas (we have a lot of cake & chocolate leftover from Christmas. Like, a lot!) and on Friday I saw an article on The Guardian website about cheese puffs. A cheesy savoury snack?! Mmm...perfect!
Cheese puffs are made using p√Ęte a choux dough, which is the same used for making eclairs and profiteroles. The water in the dough turns to steam and expands in to air pockets, causing a puffy, light dough.

I closely followed this recipe and loved how simple it was compared to others.

You will need:
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 250ml water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150g plain flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 115g grated strong cheddar cheese
  • a sprinkling of dried rosemary (optional)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C. Mix the water, butter and salt together in a medium sized pan over a high heat using a wooden spoon.

2. Once the butter has melted, reduce the heat and add the flour, all in one go! Stir quickly. The mixture should start to form a doughy ball and come away from the sides. Keep stirring for a few minutes before removing the pan from the heat completely.

3. Leave the mixture to cool for a few minutes and then start adding the eggs one at a time, stirring after each. (You need to ensure the mixture is still warm but not hot before this stage, to make sure the eggs don't start to cook.) Keep stirring until the mixture is creamy.

4. Stir in the grated cheese and rosemary with a pinch of pepper. (You could also try adding thyme instead of the rosemary.)

5. Spoon out on to a lined baking tray in balls an inch apart. Cook for 10 minutes at 220°C, then reduce the heat to 180°C for another 15-20 minutes. The balls should be puffed up and golden. (I made quite big balls and managed to get 16 puffs from this mixture.) Remove from the oven & leave to cool. 

6. And lastly, enjoy these cheesy balls of goodness! They are pretty scrummy when warm...
p.s. you can also try this recipe with other cheeses. I'm pretty tempted to try it with goats cheese next...

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