Sponsored by Cabot Creamery
There’s no better combination than smoky bacon and salty, melty cheddar cheese. Whether that’s in an omelette, on a sandwich, or in a quiche, the melding of the two flavors is iconic, with the nutty aroma of an awesome cheddar cheese throughout.
When we were thinking up ideas for an appetizer for a recent family dinner, we wanted to find a way to combine Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese with bits of smoky bacon in a hand-held snack. Creating a puff seemed like a great solution– a tasty dough that will evenly suspend the shredded cheddar and bacon pieces, while remaining compact and easy to handle.
This recipe might seem complicated at first glance– creating a pate a choux includes a few minutes over your stove and a strong stand mixer. But do it once and you’ll be hooked on these cheesy, bacony, tasty bites that are perfect for a party snack, a picnic, as a side dish to smoked meat, or quickly reheated for a delicious breakfast on the go.
A pate a choux is a cooked paste dough that is often found in French cooking. From eclairs to cream puffs to gougères, it is often used in sweet applications, but cheesy, bacon-y ones are also common. The dough has no rising agent, but the moisture that is incorporated in the dough is what makes them rise and puff up, creating delicate layers within. If your puffs puff up sufficiently, you can also cut them in half and stuff them with something delicious– like homemade pimento cheese or smoked salmon spread. But at our house, they don’t last long on a platter, so we serve them as-is. We use more cheese (because is there really such a thing as too much cheese?) than you might find in other gougeres recipes, so they won’t puff as much, but the cheesiness will be unmistakable. Our selection of Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese from Caboth Creamery provided a really strong, sharp cheddar flavor with incredible melting properties.
Our recommendation is to get all your ingredients ready to go before you start the cook. The dough will come together pretty quickly, and you’ll want to get them into a hot grill quickly once you’ve spooned them on to the tray. While you can certainly cook these in a preheated oven, as with everything we cook, we prefer to use our Traeger grill for things like this (the accurate temperature, the convection-like cooking, and not heating up the kitchen are just three of the perks). In this recipe, I substituted spices and seasonings for my Spicy Bloody Mary rub from Spiceology. It has a strong cayenne kick, with a bit of tang and some garlic notes. You can definitely just use spices and herbs from your kitchen if you don’t have that blend on hand.
Follow along on our recipe and be sure to have some extra Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar ready for sprinkling at the end.
Begin the recipe by having everything you need for this cook on-hand. Pull out the eggs from the fridge, measure the flour, milk, etc. and have your stand mixer plugged in and ready to go. Once you start the pate a choux, things go kind of quickly. Get your grill preheating to 400°, line the cookie sheets you plan to use, and you’re ready to go!
First step is to begin creating the pate, which is the cooked paste dough that makes up some of our favorite French treats like cream puffs and eclairs.
Combine the water, cream and butter in a saucepan and place on heat. Allow the butter to melt and the entire mixture to begin to boil. Stir a few times to combine.
Then dump in all of the flour and using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until well combined. This step is super important, and you will want to keep stirring until the dough is incorporated and the mixture begins pulling away from the sides of the pan as you stir. It may go as far as forming a ball, but you can move to the next step once it’s clearly incorporated and pulling from the sides of the pan.
Transfer the dough to your stand mixture and allow it to cool for a few minutes. While it’s cooling, begin cracking your eggs, separated, as you’ll need them for the next step.
Beat the slightly-cooled dough mixture on high for a few minutes. Then incorporate the eggs, one at a time, until well blended.
Stir in the massive amounts of shredded cheese, the chopped cooked bacon, scallions and seasoning. Mix until well combined.
Then transfer by heaping spoonfuls to your prepared cookie sheet and bake for about 20-30 minutes. They should be slightly puffy, golden brown and extra delicious!
Bacon & Cheese Puffs
- Smoker grill preheated to 400°
- Medium sauce pan
- Wooden spoon
- Stand mixer with a flat beater attachment
- Cookie sheets lined with parchment or a silicon mat
- 8 ounces Cabot Creamery Seriously Sharp Cheddar shredded (1 whole block)
- 6 slices bacon cooked and chopped finely
- 3 scallions thinly sliced
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup cream we used 1/2 heavy whipping cream and 1/2 milk
- 8 tbsp butter cut in pieces
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp Spicy Bloody Mary seasoning* you can substitute ½ tsp each of garlic, onion, cayenne, salt, pepper
- Preheat your grill to 400° and line the cookie sheets.
- In your saucepan, combine water, cream, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter has melted. Allow to come to a boil,
- Stir using a wooden spoon and add entire cup of flour. Stir constantly until fully incorporated and dough forms a loose ball.
- Move dough from saucepan to stand mixer bowl. Allow to sit for 4 minutes.
- On low speed, beat dough for 1 minute.
- Begin adding eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
- Stir in shredded cheese, bacon, scallions, and Spicy Bloody Mary seasoning.
- Spoon tablespoon balls of dough onto prepared cookie sheets.
- Smooth with moistened finger if there are jagged points on the balls.
- Place in preheated grill and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove from grill when puffed and golden brown. Sprinkle with additional Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese and serve.