Snack Time

This has nothing whatsoever to do with vegetables, things I grow, or things I could grow.

This one is just for the YUM.

There are times when one just needs a good snack. Maybe it’s been a long day, and you’re starving. Or, you have friends stopping by for a glass of wine before dinner. Or, the heavens have opened up and are dumping buckets of rain and your planned trip to the garden show – in a city known for its street flooding issues – looks like a really bad idea, and you need something else to fill the afternoon…

I don’t bake as much as I used to. There are only two of us now, and recipes for cakes/pies/cookies/breads are not as easy to scale-down as main dishes or sides. Rather than have a bunch of calorie-laden yummies hanging around all the time and risking an unflattering Guinness Book record for ‘World’s Heaviest Couple’, I tend to limit my baking to those time when we have Other People coming over. Lucky for me, I had one of those opportunities last week.( And, it coincided with the afore-mentioned downpour…)

So, now you’re looking at that last photo and thinking, “What a mess…” There’s a method to my sloppiness, never fear. That’s a reminder for the Visual Learners out there that, although this is a very easy recipe, it comes together so quickly that you must have all the ingredients pre-measured and all equipment close-at-hand before you ever begin.

Ready? Let’s rock…

First, pre-heat the oven to 425. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup milk, 1 stick of butter, 1 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Over medium heat, scald the milk – that is, bring it to just under a boil – stirring constantly. When the butter is all melted, and little bubbles start appearing around the edges of the pan, add 1 cup of flour – all at once. Stir vigorously, until the dough comes together in the pan. Continue to cook and stir for 2 minutes. The flour will start to cook to the bottom of the pan a little – that’s normal.

This is the part where preparation pays off. Take the dough off the stove, and dump it immediately into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add 5 large eggs, 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese, and 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese. Pulse together until everything is incorporated, and it turns into a thick, shiny dough. (No picture of this step – I gave the “crew” the day off…)

Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, and pipe quarter-sized dollops onto the prepared baking sheets. Wet your finger, and smooth down the little cowlick on top. If you don’t have a pastry bag, use a spoon and smooth them down the same way. Whatever you do, don’t try the cut-the-corner-off-a-plastic-bag trick with this one – that works for frosting, but the hot dough makes it a bad idea in this case.

Don’t ask me how I know that…

Beat one egg with 1 tbsp water to make an egg wash, and brush lightly onto the blobs of dough – makes the tops all shiny and pretty when they come out of the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  They’re done when they look like this:

Mmmm. I should have company more often!

Click here for a printer-friendly version of this recipe.

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