This post is about Baked Cheese Puffs. If you are trying to eat a wheat-free lifestyle, here is a recipe for a delicious gluten free bread that freezes well, is versatile to use as breakfast, appetizer, lunch, dinner, or snack.
I serve these to guests who are not gluten free and they never guess it is not made with wheat until they see me eat one!
Because this blog is about Cuenca, where I live at 8300 ft altitude in the Andes mountains of Ecuador, I am presenting this as a recipe for high altitude baking with a note at the bottom telling how to adapt the recipe to "normal altitudes" sea level to about 4000 feet alt. And for those who want a wheat recipe there are suggestions but not tested by me.
I'm not a nutritionist - just a good practical cook. This recipe has good protein, varied fiber, no sugar but is still kinda high in cholesterol and fat as so many gluten free recipes are.
This "puff" was a great success.
These are a bit of work and take a long time to bake but they are worth it. If you have teenagers, these will disappear at lightning speed. You can make them ahead and store in freezer for at least a couple of weeks. They hold well in the refrigerator for a few days. Try them out!
Cuenca GF Baked Cheese Puffs
Ingredients T=Tablespoon, tsp=teaspoon
c= cup 1/2 c=1/2 cup
4 Tablespoons butter
4 T shortening (I used grape seed oil instead)
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup Pamela's gluten free baking mix
or 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 c potato starch, 1/4 c tapioca starch
1/2 cup almond flour (I do not use blanched almonds but you may - either is fine)
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1/2 tsp guar gum (you may use all xantham gum but guar gum will make the texture better)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
pinch of fresh ground pepper or 1 tsp your favorite seasoning such as Italian seasoning, smoked paprika or chili powder or your choice
4 eggs at room temp
1 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar cheese grated Today in Cuenca, I doubled the recipe and used 1 cup grated cheddar, 1 cup "taco cheese" from Super Maxi, 1 cup cubed queso fresca=3 cups cheese for the doubled recipe. It made 4 cookie sheets of puffs so I packaged small batches in small zip lock bags and put them in the freezer. When I can think of nothing gf for lunch, I can pull one or two out and have with whatever I have on-hand: tuna, a fried egg, steamed veggies, etc.
1. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Boil butter and water in a medium sized saucepan on medium heat, reduce to low.
3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flours, gums and pepper.
4. Reduce the water and butter mixture to low heat.
6. Now add the entire flour mixture and VERY quickly stir with a wooden spoon until a dough ball forms (or all is well stirred together to make a gooey dough).
7. Now preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
8. Scrape the dough into your mixer bowl. Allow the dough to cool somewhat - this step may take 10 min or more. Test dough temp before continuing. If you do not allow the dough to cool, when you mix in the eggs, they will cook into little rubbery bits.
9. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix with flat paddle tool or dough hook in electric mixer. If you have a KitchenAid, mix on 4. On other mixers, use medium speed and mix until creamy or the texture of very thick soup.
10. Add cheese, mixing in the same fashion.
11. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.
12. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Lower heat to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for another 40-50 min until puffy and a medium golden brown. Test one puff by cutting into it to be sure it is baked all the way through. There should be no raw dough in the middle.
Lower Altitude cooking? If you live at a lower altitude, try these changes:
reduce flour by 1/4 cup
reduce water by 1/4 cup
reduce total baking time to 30-40 minutes.
NOTE: ovens vary greatly in temperature. Using an oven thermometer is a great way to assure you are baking at the desired temp. You can alter the baking time if your oven temp is off.
To make this with wheat flour, eliminate the gums and reduce liquid by 1/3 cup. Use all wheat flour. NOT gluten free!
In Cuenca, today I doubled the recipe and used 1 cup light cheddar, 1 cup "taco cheese" from Super Maxi, 1 cup queso fresco (a cheese common in South America) because that is what was in the refrig. The puffs came out golden brown, delicate and delicious. I believe the grape seed oil lends a wonderful lightness to the result.
***Please write a comment if you know where I can buy grapeseed oil in Cuenca. I have not found it anywhere.***
Tonight I made a light turkey salad-avocado mix to put in the baked puffs for a light dinner. (like small sandwiches)
Oh, the green figs are just for show. Ripe figs later this year.
Hey readers: I want to mention a bright new blog Cuenca Tech Life covering up to the minute technology topics. It is generated right here in Cuenca by Lenny Charnoff who is my husband and my entire IT department.
For readers interested in Cuenca as a destination, next week I will write about some of thecommon little issues that come up when living here. I LOVE Cuenca but it is not an ideal paradise of perfection. More later...