Stuffed Cheese Puffs
Bake a batch of these puffs using all three fillings. One is never enough.
4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup all-purpose flour
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of salt
24 fillings (select one or use a variety): pimiento-stuffed green Spanish olives, bottled cocktail onions, or dates
Combine the butter, cheese, flour, cayenne pepper, and salt, in a food processor; process until the mixture begins to come together. Remove and shape into a ball.
If using olives or onions, drain them well and pat dry with paper towels. If using dates, cut them in half crosswise and press into balls.
Pinch off about 1 teaspoon of the dough, flatten slightly, wrap around the filling, and roll the ball between your hands. Place on an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat to form the remaining puffs.
Lightly cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Put the chilled baking sheet in the oven and bake the puffs for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and serve at room temperature.
The puffs can be rolled up to 1 day in advance; cover and refrigerate. Bake just before serving. The completed puffs can be made up to 2 days in advance; cover and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature or reheat in a 350° F oven for about 5 minutes, or until warmed through.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.