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Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Delicious Cheese Puff Recipe Makes a Special Holiday Tradition

My youngest daughter wrote in her journal at school the other day about her grandmother's cheese puffs and her delighted anticipation of visiting her grandmother that very night, then going home with her Aunt Jo and mother to make batches and batches of cheese puffs for family Christmas parties.

This is our third year of making them together now that my mother isn't able to make them anymore.Here's what always happens, this is what my daughter witnesses at the big family Christmas party, with all the cousins and aunts and uncles, the cheese puffs - little cheddar and bread appetizers - coming hot out of the oven, quickly placed on plates, passed from guest to guest, greedy hands grasping, the plate emptying, another sheet pulled from the oven, another plate passed, "Shirley's cheese puffs are ready! Did you get a cheese puff? Are there any more?" There are never enough to satisfy demand.

My mother made these by herself, but it takes three or more, a group is ideal. There are wonderful challenges to be met: Unsliced bread must be found, and not all stores have it available. This year I found five loaves, first try. The crusts must be sliced from the loaves, then the bread is cut into fluffly white cubes, bite-size. (My sister Joanna is an excellent crust trimmer.) We improvise a double boiler to melt the blocks of cheddar cheese, butter, and cream cheese. (There's nothing low-fat about this treat.) Eggs are separated, whites are whipped stiff, and must be every so gently folded into the melted cheese. (Joanna taught Franci how to separate the eggs, and I showed her how to whip them 'til just right.) Dipping takes practice, patience! The cubes must be lowered by spoon, gently tossed for complete coating, and placed on cookie trays for freezing. (I've become the best dipper.) In the morning, the frozen puffs are placed in ziplock bags for the waiting period for the parties. . . .

Unable to travel, my mother will not be at the party this year, but we will bring the cheese puffs to her. Someone shared this recipe with my mother, and I'll share it with you:

Hot Cheese Puffs Recipe

1 loaf firm un-sliced white bread

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese

½ cup butter

¼ lb. sharp cheddar cheese

2 egg whites stiffly beaten

Trim crusts from bread. Cut into 1"cubes (or less). Melt 2 cheeses and the butter in a double boiler 'til of rarebit consistency. Remove from heat and fold in egg whites. Dip cubes in cheese mixture until well coated. Place on cookie sheet. Refrigerate over night or put in freezer for future use. Bake in a hot oven 400 degrees 12-15 minutes.


By Kelly Dumar

Check Out the Related Article : A Quick Guide to Cheese

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