Gougères is French for “cheese puffs.” [Don’t fact check that.]

These are perfect finger foods for cocktail parties, dinner parties, or when your wife’s out of town and you don’t want to guzzle those martinis on an empty stomach. I love having a bowl of these when guests first arrive, as we’re all huddling around the kitchen counter while I pour Champagne. You can make them earlier in the day and put them in the oven 20 minutes before your guests arrive.

Makes about 20 gougères

31⁄2 ounces (100 g) butter
1 cup (250 g) water
11/3 cups (200 g) flour
4 eggs
2/3 cups (50 g) Cheddar cheese

Add butter to a small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add water, heat to a simmer.

Add flour to the saucepan, increase heat to medium-high, and stir constantly. You want it hot enough to cook out some of the flour flavor but not too hot that it starts browning. Reduce the heat if it starts browning.

Once it comes together into a doughy ball and stops sticking to the sides of the pan, remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Add one egg, stir to fully incorporate. Add the remaining eggs, one at a time, stirring to fully incorporate.

Preheat the oven to 400 ̊F.

Scoop balls the size of Ping-Pong balls onto a parchment paper–lined baking sheet, top each ball with a bit of cheese, and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.