I believe that a good time and laughter with friends refreshes the soul, and I'm lucky to say that I had friends to celebrate with this weekend. Last Saturday, I caught up with my friends Jeannie, Amberly and Deb for an afternoon picnic at Nashoba Valley Winery. The picturesque New England winery is one of my favorite picnic spots because it has plenty of picnic tables that overlook the rolling hills of grapevines and apple trees.
This picnic was true potluck style with each of us bringing something to the table: fresh-picked summer fruit, colorful veggie salads and chocolate chip cookies. It was such a hot summer day that the cookies even warmed a little bit in the sun which made them taste like they were fresh out of the oven.
I chose to bring these...
These puffs remind me of the cream puffs that my mom made all the time for dessert when I was little. She added strawberry and whipped cream for a sweet option. This version has a more savory twist with lots of parmesan cheese. Plus the fresh chives that are added on as a garnish before baking give the puffs a little decoration. See the full recipe below to try them yourself.
Between summer vacations and crazy schedules, it can be tough to get your friends together but here's your reminder that it's 100% worth it. I hope our photos and this recipe helps get you in the spirit to get your friends together. And when you do, be sure to share your pics and questions with us @picnicperfectco on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Recipe for Parmesan Chive Puffs
-8 tablespoons ( 1 stick) salted butter (I am loving Land O' Lakes european style salted butter)
-1/2 cup 2% milk
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 cup (4.25 oz) of all-purpose baking flour (I love King Arthur and their guide for fluffing flour)
-5 large eggs at room temperature* (see note below pic of ingredients)
-1 and 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese (a sharp cheddar works too)
-fresh chives (you just need a few handfuls of chives to place on the puffs before they hop into the oven)
First, measure out all of your ingredients above so they are handy when you are preparing the dough. This is incredibly important because the recipe comes together really quickly in the saucepan, and if your ingredients aren't ready, you'll be regretting it later.
Next preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or generously grease both pans. I prefer using parchment paper because it requires less clean up.
In a medium saucepan, melt your butter over low heat. Then add the milk, water and salt. Turn up the heat on your sauce pan to high and bring the ingredients to a boil. Next, turn the heat down to low and add all of your flour at once to the saucepan. Start stirring vigorously with a spatula for approximately 2 minutes until the dough starts to get smooth. TURN OFF THE HEAT (unless you want scrambled eggs).
Next start adding each egg (one at a time) and incorporate each egg into the dough. Don't be worried if it's starting to look a little "eggy" at the end you will have a very thick and shiny dough. Once all of your eggs are added into the dough, add the cheese and mix until it's melted into the dough.
Once your dough is made, immediately start arranging 1 tablespoon sized spoonfuls onto the baking sheets that you prepared earlier. You will need both baking sheets because this makes about 20 bites and you want to give them about 2 inches of spaces so they have room to "puff" in the oven.
After you've finished arranging your spoonfuls, garnish each puff with a few fresh chives. The chives have a tendency to fall off the puffs when you sprinkle them on so don't be afraid to push a few into the batter so they will stay on during the baking process.
Slide both baking sheets into the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 375 degrees F. Bake for 10 minutes, then switch the pans from top to bottom so the puffs are given a chance to cook evenly. Then, continue baking the puffs at 375 degrees F for another 12 minutes. They should start to look puffy. After removing the puffs from the oven, let them cool slightly before you transfer them to a tupperware container to take to your picnic. It's okay to stack them in the container. They actually hold up pretty nicely.
(PS they can be enjoyed as an indoor appetizer too, BUT let's be serious they taste better when enjoyed with friends under a sunny sky with a glass of wine in hand.)
Cheers and happy picnicking!