Bite-size puffs are airy, yet full of cheese flavor. They can be prepared 1 to 2 days ahead and refrigerated; reheat before serving. The recipe is easily doubled or tripled for a crowd. It can be made egg-free; see instructions.
For Egg-Free Cheese & Chives Puffs, omit 4 eggs. Reduce butter to 6 tablespoons. Mix 6 tablespoons Follow Your Heart VeganEgg with 3/4 cup ice-cold water until smooth. Add 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and blend well. After flour mixture is completely cool, add this mixture in step 5. After lowering temperature in step 7, increase baking time by 5-minute increments until puffs are golden brown.
Contributing chef Mary Capone is author of The Gluten Free Italian Cookbook: Classic Cuisine from the Italian Countryside (The Wheat Free Gourmet Press) and co-author of Best Gluten-Free Cookbook (Belvoir Media Group).Yields 36 puffs
- 2/3 cup brown rice flour
- ¼ cup potato starch (not potato flour)
- 2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup grated cheese of choice (Parmesan, sharp cheddar or Gruyere), more for sprinkling on top
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives, optional
1Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.
2Combine brown rice flour, potato starch, sweet rice flour, xanthan gum and salt. Mix well and set aside.
3In a medium saucepan, heat water, butter and nutmeg over medium heat until butter is melted and water simmers.
4Lower heat and add flour mixture, stirring until dough forms. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture begins to dry and pull away from pan, about 2 minutes.
5Pour hot flour mixture into food processor and let cool 5 minutes. Add eggs, cheese and chives (if using) and pulse until ingredients are thoroughly combined. Dough will be very sticky.
6Spoon dough into a pastry bag with a large round tip or cut ½ inch from the corner of a large zip-top plastic bag and fill with dough. Squeeze out small, round mounds of dough, each about 1 inch in diameter, onto prepared baking sheets. Lightly press down the top of each mound and smooth it with wet fingers. (Alternatively, scoop portions of dough using two spoons. Drop each portion onto prepared baking sheets and smooth each with wet fingers.) Sprinkle tops with grated cheese, if desired.
7Place in preheated oven and bake 15 minutes. Then lower oven temperature to 350°F and bake 5 more minutes or until puffs are golden brown.
8Turn off oven and leave baking sheets in oven with door slightly ajar for 1 hour, if possible. This allows the inside of the puffs to become dry and hollow.