These sexy cheese puffs are the perfect bite for cocktail hour, especially when paired with our Ginger Tangerine Crush.

If down-home and sophisticated are possible, this is it.

Bourbon and cheese puffs. OK, they’re really called gougeres and I learned to make them when I was a young chef at Restaurant Daniel. These insanely good puffs- always served warm out of the oven- kicked off each of the elegant meals that I helped to create in the private dining room at Daniel. But that’s not why I always think of them as the ultimate party starter. I love them because, well, they make my wife happy and because they’re crispy, cheesey and super pop-able.

The trouble is, it’s easy for anything small and fancy-looking to get a reputation for being hard to make. But I promise you that if you can work a mixer and fill a pastry bag (or the home cook’s solution- a Ziploc bag) you can make these and be the hit of this year’s holiday party. If you’re still a little nervous, click here to check out our gougere tutorial.

And now that you’ve taken the time to bake the perfect cocktail nibble, it’s only natural to pair it with a drink that’s so perfectly crafted, it takes over seven years to make it. Click Here to check out our favorite holiday cocktail recipe made with Maker’s 46, the new, specially aged bourbon from the fine folks in Loretto. Get this- it’s so smooth even Brooke will drink it!

Gougere aka Cheese Puffs
Recipe type: hors d'oeuvre
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6+
  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 oz Gruyere Cheese, grated (or substitute parmesan)
  • 7 Eggs
  • Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
  1. Combine the milk, water, butter and salt in a large sauce pot and bring to a boil.
  2. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour.
  3. When the liquid reaches a boil add all of the flour at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.
  4. Continue to cook- stirring often- over a very low flame, 3 minutes more. You should now have a very smooth, shiny ball of dough.
  5. Remove the dough to the work bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (this can also be done with a hand mixer) and begin beating to release some of the steam. With the mixer still running add all of the cheese and beat until incorporated.
  6. Next, add the eggs one at a time- waiting for each to be fully incorporated before adding the next. When all of the eggs have been added, place the dough in pastry bags fitted with a large round tip or a zip top bag with the corner cut off.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 400
  8. Using baking sheets lined with parchment or silpat, pipe the dough into small, mounded domes, no more than one-inch in diameter. When all of the dough is piped, wet the tip of your finger and smooth the top of each gougere. Go back over the sheet and sprinkle a small amount of cornmeal and Parmesan over each mound of dough. Place the sheet in preheated oven to bake. After 6 minutes, turn the pan 180 degrees and drop the temperature to 350. Bake 10 minutes more until golden brown and cooked through (the inside should not be “doughy”).