These cheese puffs, known as gougères in French cuisine, are made using a classic pastry called choux paste (the same dough used to make éclairs and profiteroles). They’re a great staple because they can be made ahead and frozen, and used in a number of ways: as a base for a piped cheese or smoked salmon, hors d’oeuvre, as a bun for a slider, as a substitute for croutons on a salad, as a garnish on a bowl of soup or simply as a nibble on their own with a cocktail.
Make-Ahead Tip: These puffs need to be piped and baked while the dough is still fresh and warm, but once baked, they freeze incredibly well. You can freeze them, well wrapped, for up to three months, and then re-warm them on a tray in a 325°F (160°C) oven for 12 to 15 minutes. You can store baked puffs in an airtight container at room temperature for one to two days. Do not refrigerate them or they will dry out.