Welcome 2022!

Well, we made it through another crazy year…I hope that we all have a less crazy 2022, but one filled with love and light and delicious food!

This is going to be short, I just wanted to pop on here quick and share a couple of things!

First, I FINALLY made Gougères! I have wanted to make these for SO long! I was listening to one of my many food podcasts and heard the brilliant Dorie Greenspan talk about how these are one of her favorites things to make when she is entertaining. I read this recently:

Gougères is the French name for cheese puffs, the nibble that’s become Dorie Greenspan’s signature. Visit her, and she’ll greet you at the door with a glass of cold white wine and a bowl of hot-from-the-oven gougères.” Makes me want to go visit her!

A couple notes about the following recipe. First, I used all milk, no water…and then we added Gruyere, aged white Cheddar and parmesan as the cheeses. Also, I used salted butter, and then skipped the salt, but I would, in hindsight, suggest using the unsalted butter and adding salt as the recipe says to do. I did add a bit of smoked salt to a few of the puffs, but they needed a little something else. I would also play around with adding pepper or cayenne and even some fresh herbs. I included the bit about freezing the puffs, as I did that with about half the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./120 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./120 ml) milk
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./113 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 cup (4 1/2 oz./136 g) all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 oz. (85 g) Gouda, preferably one with a little age (see headnote), shredded or grated
  • A few Tbs. cumin seeds for sprinkling
  • Maldon or other flaky sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). If you want to bake all of the puffs at once, position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mats. If you’re going to freeze half or more of the batch, center a rack in the oven and line just 1 baking sheet.

Put the water, milk, butter, fine sea salt and ground cumin in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour all at once, grab a sturdy flexible spatula and begin beating. Beat until you’ve got a dough that pulls away from the pan and leaves a film on the bottom (you might not get a film if your pan is nonstick), about 4 minutes.

Turn the dough out into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or into a large bowl that you can use with a hand mixer (or the spatula). Add the eggs one by one, beating for a minute after each goes in. You’ll have a smooth, shiny dough. Beat or stir in the cheese.

Scoop out balls of dough with a small cookie scoop (one with a capacity of 2 teaspoons) and arrange on the baking sheet(s), leaving a scant 2 inches (5 cm) between them, or use a teaspoon to portion out rounded spoonfuls of dough. (You can make the puffs ahead and freeze them on the baking sheets until solid, then pack airtight and freeze for up to 2 months.)

Sprinkle the tops of the puffs with cumin seeds and top each with a few flakes of sea salt. Bake the puffs for 30 minutes; if you’re baking 2 sheets, quickly rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back after 15 minutes.

Turn off the oven, open the door a crack—prop it slightly ajar with a wooden spoon—and let the puffs dry for about 10 minutes; they should feel firm and you should be able to peel them off the paper easily. Serve immediately—although these are delicious warm or at room temperature, they are really at their best when they’re hot. Makes about 55 puffs.

Storing: Please try to serve these as soon after they’re baked as possible. If you must hold them, you can give them a few minutes in a 350°F (180°C) oven to refresh them before serving.

A Word on Working Ahead: The easiest way to have fresh puffs when you need them is to scoop out the freshly made dough and freeze the puffs on the baking sheets until solid, then pack airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to bake, arrange the frozen puffs on a lined baking sheet and let them sit on the counter while you preheat the oven. Sprinkle with the cumin and salt right before baking.

And last, I don’t know about you, but I just didn’t make enough time in 2021 for food…and I plan to change that in 2022. I came across this in my Instagram feed today and it spoke to me, so I wanted to share it with you! I love all the goals and I plan to do the very best I can to achieve them! Along with making sure I post here more often. I will admit, that I get intimidated with this blog…thinking I need to have something creative to say or post. But that’s just dumb. I should post and say what I want, as often as I want! So I plan to do just that!

Get ready for a fun ride in 2022!

Cheers,

Shawn

One thought on “Welcome 2022!

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