Herb and Cheese Puffs (Gougeres) are bite-sized breads that are light as a cloud and served warm from the oven. Surprisingly quick to mix up, these can be baked right away or frozen and baked from the freezer.
Gougeres always feel special, but every time I make them, I am reminded of just what a delightfully simple treat they are to make. And as we head into holiday entertaining season, there’s no better time to familiarize yourself with these sweet, airy, savory bites.
If you’re hosting friends or family this year, I do not recommend trying to make a batch of gougères right before everyone arrives when you’re scrambling around getting other things ready for dinner. What I do recommend is making a batch of gougeres a week or two ahead, storing them in your freezer, and popping them in the oven right before guests arrive. Set them out, still warm, while everyone has a glass of wine and you are headed into the smoothest of dinners.
Best of all, you probably already have everything you need to make these in your kitchen right now!
What are Gougeres?
Gougeres are light and airy bread-like puffs that are often filled with cheese and other savory ingredients. The base of the bread is French choux pastry, made by whisking flour into a mixture of boiling water and butter. The dough is cooled slightly and then eggs are whisked in to add richness. They can be formed into just about any shape or size and baked until golden brown, crisp on the outside, and tender in the center with large pockets of air.
How to Freeze Gougeres
The best thing you can do with gougeres is make and freeze them. Mix the batter up and pipe or spoon onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Freeze until solid, 2 to 3 hours. Transfer to a freeze-safe bag and freeze for up to 4 months. Bake as directed, straight from the freezer, but add about 5 minutes to the total bake time.
Possible Variations on Gougeres
- Mix up the herbs – Use your favorite fresh or dried herbs in the batter.
- Swap in other cheese – This recipe calls for cheddar which is savory and melts nicely into the dough as it bakes. These are also great with gruyere or parmesan.
- Add meat – For added substance, add a small amount of finely chopped prosciutto, deli-sliced ham, or cooked bacon.
Other Holiday Appetizers
- Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Brie and Balsamic Honey
- Cheese Pinwheels with Crispy Prosciutto
- Red Pepper Jelly Rugelach
- Baked Crab Rangoon
- Puff Pastry Bites with Caramelized Onions and Gouda
Herb and Cheese Puffs (Gougères)
- Half Sheet Pan
- Parchment Paper
- Stand Mixer
- 1 cup Water
- 8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (½ cup; 1 stick)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (see note)
- ½ teaspoon Sugar
- 1 cup Flour (125g)
- 4 large Eggs
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped Fresh Herbs (I like a mix of chives, parsley, and thyme)
- 1 cup grated Cheddar Cheese, white or yellow (also great with gruyere or parmesan)
- Preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Combine water, butter, salt, and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.
- As soon as the liquids are boiling, remove from heat and whisk in flour. Return the pan to heat and stir until the batter forms a smooth paste and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
- Transfer dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix a few times on low to cool (this will prevent the eggs from scrambling in the hot dough).
- Turn the mixer on low and add the eggs one at a time, allowing each to incorporate fully before adding the next. Increase the speed and beat on medium until shiny and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Gently fold in fresh herbs and cheese.
- Use a pastry bag or Tablespoon measure (spray it with nonstick cooking spray first to prevent sticking) to transfer even portions of dough to prepared sheet pan, leaving a small amount of space in between.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 375°F / 190°C.
- Bake until the puffs are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Serve warm.
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