Sweet Cheese Puffs (for a Sweet Cheese Baby)

January 20, 2016
Food,Recipes

About a year ago, I was tucked away in the corner of a food blogging event when two women approached me and introduced themselves. There must be some mistake, I thought. Why would these two happy, professional, seemingly well-adjusted women want to talk to some scruffy old guy? Plus, can’t they see I’m hiding in the corner?! Well, I’m so glad they did. You see, the two women were Sarah and Alanna, and they’re now two of my favorite people on the planet! In the past year we’ve shared countless laughs, a few cries, and even made ice cream floats. In addition, while I was busy sitting on the couch, Alanna wrote/photographed a book, and Sarah is . . . you guessed it, she’s having a baby!! Sarah affectionately calls her baby-to-be Cheese Baby, so when Alanna brought up the idea of a virtual baby shower, we knew we had to cheese it up! Meanwhile, Audrey and I had been tinkering with a cheese puff recipe evocative of our childhood. There’s a restaurant and bakery here in Berkeley called Fat Apples, and they make the most deliciously fluffy little sweet cheese puffs. We were searching for something similar, and after some trial and error, I think we nailed it. The rough puff pastry dough is divine – layers upon layers of buttery magic, perfect for a cheese baby girl!! Be sure to check out the links below for other #cheesebabyshower goodness.

Sweet Cheese Puffs | HonestlyYUM

Sweet Cheese Puffs | HonestlyYUM

Sweet Cheese Puffs | HonestlyYUM

Rough Puff Pastrty Dough | HonestlyYUM

Rough Puff Pastrty Dough | HonestlyYUM

Rough Puff Pastrty Dough | HonestlyYUM

Rough Puff Pastrty Dough | HonestlyYUM

Rough Puff Pastrty Dough | HonestlyYUM

Rough Puff Pastrty Dough | HonestlyYUM

Lavender | HonestlyYUM

Lavender Sugar | HonestlyYUM

Lavender Sugar | HonestlyYUM

Sweet Cheese Puffs | HonestlyYUM

Sweet Cheese Puffs | HonestlyYUM

Sweet Cheese Puffs | HonestlyYUM

Sweet Cheese Puffs | HonestlyYUM

Sweet Cheese Puffs | HonestlyYUM

lavender.and.orange.scented.sweet.cheese.baby.puffs.1.2

Sweet Cheese Puffs | HonestlyYUM

Sweet Cheese Puffs | HonestlyYUM

Sweet Cheese Puffs | HonestlyYUM

Sweet Cheese Puffs | HonestlyYUM

Sweet Cheese Puffs | HonestlyYUM

Sweet Cheese Puffs | HonestlyYUM

SWEET CHEESE PUFFS (makes ~12)

Ingredients for the rough puff pastry dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 sticks of cold butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10-12 tbsp ice water
  • extra flour for dusting

Ingredients for the filling:

  • one package (8 oz) cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tsp orange zest OR 1 tsp lavender buds (optional)
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

  • Mix the flour and salt together and place the mixture directly on a pastry board or work surface and spread into a circle. Cut the cold butter into 1/4 inch thick slices, and lay them out on top of the flour.
  • Sprinkle the water over the flour and butter circle. Using your hands, gently mix the water into the flour and butter. Use a pastry scraper to fold the mixture in half, picking up any loose flour from underneath and adding it back in. Press down with your hands. Repeat the process of folding in half and pressing down a few more times until you have a rough dough with no more loose flour.  You should still see pads of butter and the surface will not be homogenous.  Shape into a rough rectangle, wrap loosely in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Lightly flour your work surface and remove your dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough out into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds and roll out again into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Repeat this process one more time, dusting sparingly with flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your surface. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap again and refrigerate for another 20 minutes.
  • Repeat the same process of rolling out the dough into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle on a lightly floured surface.  Fold into thirds again. Repeat this process of rolling and folding 2-3 more times. At this point your dough should look nearly homogenous with just small speckles of butter. Wrap again with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • At this point you can make your sweet cheese filling. If using lavender, take your lavender buds and about 1 teaspoon of the sugar and crush using a mortar and pestle. Sift through a fine mesh strainer to remove the big pieces that didn’t break down.
  • Add all your filling ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer (hand mixer works too!) and blend until mixed well and light in texture, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Take your dough out of the refrigerator after the hour is up and roll it out into a rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut the dough into squares, maybe just slightly bigger than 3×3 inches.
  • Gently place the squares into a muffin tin, pressing down and stretching slightly to fit into the cup. Add a heaping tablespoon of the cheese filling into each one. Pinch the corners of the dough together to close.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden.  Let cool for about 10 minutes in the muffin tin, then transfer to cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

More #CheeseBabyShower bites from around the web:

Cheesy Things

Sweet Things

Cheesy & Sweet Things

(images by HonestlyYUM)

Conversation

Lavender orange sweet cheese puffs looked soooo good, I had to try and make them. I used your suggestion and used 2 sticks of cold butter. Thx for sharing Todd!

Fat Appple’s cheese puffs
The Body Shop (now Body Time) China Rain perfume
Cocolat truffles
Bette’s Oceanview Diner omelette

Coming of age in Berkeley was a delicious and memorable experience.

Thank you for this recipe. I’m going to bake these for my younger sister, who like me, would still willingly stand in line on a foggy morning for a Fat Apple’s cheese puff:)

These cheese puffs SLAY me. And I’m so in awe of you three (Alanna, Sarah and yourself) power blogging trio much?!

Todd, these cheese puffs are GLORIOUS! I heart the flavors going on here, as well as those tiny flakes of crust that are breaking off the bottom. (I have a strange obsession with pastry flakes.) I just want to sink my teeth into these!

Thank you so much for organizing the shower with Alanna! It was a lot of fun celebrating Sarah and Lucas’s new addition to the family with so many wonderful food bloggers!

First: Your cheese puffs look AH-MAZING… and Second: you were so sweet to help organize your awesome community of bloggers to welcome the little “cheesebaby.” I’m having a great time working my way through the list while snowed in during the DC snowpocalypse. Thank you, thank you for the post!

This has to be the coolest baby-shower idea ever…a virtual shower, all the recipes provided, links to incredible foodie/drinky bloggers and a story that is sweeter than sweet. Plus, Todd, your photographs are simply to die for. Kudos to you and Audrey and to Sarah and her sweet Cheese baby!

These are really delicious. We made them at our bakery for years. Adding fruit, lemon curd, or making them with savory fillings are equally delicious.

I’ve never truly laminated dough before and now this is making me want to try!! Gorgeous photos Todd!

Ahhhhh!!! Have I been living in a cave?! Don’t answer that. I personally have never seen puff pastry made that way and although it might not be too different from using a bowl, this is so much more clever! I can see how it would keep the pastry cold and extremely easy to work with from the get-go. I must try this or something along the lines of this very soon. And thank you for letting so many of us share in this fun event! 😀 To say that I’m honored is an understatement.

So happy we can all celebrate Sarah and her babe today. She is such a gem! Thanks for all your hard work organizing, Todd. These puffs are like dreamy, carby pillows. And I want to sleep on them every single night. Love the addition of lavender here!

This is so lovely! What an excellent way to celebrate happy occasions with blogger friends!

Holy smokes. You (and Audrey) outdid yourselves with these gorgeous puffs! Every single shot here is making my heart pitter patter. Thank you for 1. All of your baby advice (and clothes!) so far – I’m sure I’ll be calling you two with lots more “super urgent” (except probbaly not urgent at all) questions once she’s here and 2. Helping to put together this tear-jerker of a virtual baby shower in honor of cheese baby! 3. Making such beautiful cheese puff for the occasion! I’m so glad Alanna and I were successful in tricking you into being our friend.

You made puff pastry FROM SCRATCH???? Can I be you when I grow up?!?!

I got to meet Sarah and Alanna when I was in San Francisco last winter, and I totally agree – they’re such friendly sweet girls! I think it’s so lovely that you and Alanna put this virtual shower together for her, and I’m grateful to participate. Your sweet cheese puffs look amazing. I don’t often get too tempted by gluten but these … these I would struggle with!

THESE CHEESE PUFFS. I need them. Absolute perfection. And HOORAY for bloggers becoming IRL friends (speaking of, I hope we get to meet one of these days—I’m not content just knowing Karen!). What a perfect story. Thanks for organizing this sweet shower, Todd!

Such great story of how you three met. Thanks so much for putting this awesome shower together!
Also, these cheese puffs look incredible. Too good. Your photography is just beautiful.
Thanks again, Todd!

Haha that is such a fantastic meeting story–you are a lucky man to be approached by both of those wonderful ladies! These cheese puffs look like everything I want to eat, pretty much all the time. Mind-blowing photography, just gorgeous. Thank you so much for co-hosting this amazing virtual baby shower with Alanna, and for including me!!

High fives, Todd! Thanks so much for helping put this together! These puffs are RIDICULOUS. Kudos to you and Audrey – nailed it! And hahaha, Sarah and I pretty much spent that whole event being like, “Is that TODD over there? He’s so cool. How do we trick him into being our friend?” 🙂

These look absolutely divine! They look perfect for an Easter Sunday brunch! Saving for after a month of no sugar 🙂

I know after making several batches of these I should be sick of them but I’m totally not. I actually wish I had another stick of cream cheese to make a batch now! I’ll be digging out my elastic waisted pants before long…. But soooo good! Drooling over your photos as usual. XOXO. Also very excited to check out these other very tasty-sounding recipe links!

What a sweet, sweet story and yall’s float post is so inspiring! Thank you for hosting this party! I’ve been dreaming about these cheese puffs all my life. Nailed it indeed. I’ve gotta give these a go! Of course, your photography makes me want to head to the kitchen postehaste! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

This is such a special party Todd!! I love it. Definitely need to check out the other posts (and save this recipe for later). What a unique cheesy pastry!

i’m so glad we were able to meet when i was out visiting sarah and alanna. and so great to be celebrating her today! if i could eat gluten for one meal, i would eat five of these cheese puffs. i mean, whoa. swooning over your beautiful pictures!

That last shot is stunning! I love that story – I had a similar experience but Sarah Alanna and I first chatted online, and then when I went to visit my family in the bay area, I drove over to Sarah’s house and met them two in person and we baked up some pies! They’re such warm, welcoming people – thank you for orchestrating this party to celebrate cheese baby!

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