Cheese and Cardamom Cocktail Puffs

Of all the nibbles I have offered to my guests over the years, this one, I think, has been the most asked-for recipe.  These, my dear readers, are the cheesiest, lightest, most gloriously flavorsome tiny cocktail savories that I have ever met!  If you love cheese, please, I urge you to make these – they are like all the flavor and richness of cheese but in a light as air and gently spiced puff shape that you pop into your mouth, and… reach for another, washing it down with whatever you happen to have in your drink hand!

Alongside all their culinary virtues, they are also one of the most ridiculously easy things to make, so the reward to effort ratio nears infinity here – my favorite sort!  The only excuse for not posting it here sooner has been the fact that these are usually gone before I have a chance to grab the camera and snap a few photos.

Well, today was different – I made them to take along to an informal dinner this evening, and so they were not ravenously devoured by the hungry horde before I could sneak the camera into the kitchen.  So I did, and now I am posting about them, and then I will pack them into a box, put on a pretty top and head out into the winter night in anticipation of excellent food and a good time, and the rest is history.  Or well, at least now I can just point all the “how do you make those cheese things…?” questions here, and you, too, can make your very own savory and spiced just as you like and oh-so-cheesy and fluffy and light cocktail snacks.

Disclaimer – when I say they are light, I mean it as in not a heavy mouthful of chewy stuff people – this is no diet food of any kind, nor will I make any health claims for it, other than the fact that they are likely still better for you than all their sugary cousins.  So there.

What do you need to make your own?

(This will make about 1.5 baking sheets worth of cookies, depending on how thin you roll the dough and how small you cut them)

  • 3-3.5dl plain flour
  • 3-3.5dl grated cheeses of your choice – I tend to use a mix of about 2/3 random aged cheese such as strong cheddar or brännvinsost (a Swedish cheese made with spiced vodka of a local variety), and about 1/3 of some hard cheese such as Parmesan, Grana Padano and the like.
  • 1/3 – 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 tsp salt
  • 1/5 tsp cardamom seeds (not pods), pounded in a mortar, or a large pinch of ground cardamom.  (Note:  It can probably easily stand up to 1/2 a teaspoon of those really, if you like cardamom!)  Or you can use a little of your favorite savory spice – fennel, rosemary, lavender, whatever floats your cheese!
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 125g unsalted butter (omit salt above if using salted), cut into small pieces

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 170C (fan) or 180C (regular).  Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment.
  • Mix flour, salt, cardamom and baking powder.  Add butter and cut in till it is the size of small peas.
  • Mix in cheese and mix till fully incorporated.  Add egg yolk and mix with spatula for a while, then stick your hands in and start rubbing the crumbly stuff together till it comes together into a dough.
  • Wrap dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10-15 min while you clear the counters from the mixing clutter.
  • Flour your work surface and rolling pin thoroughly, roll the dough out to desired thickness (I go for about 5mm, approximately), and use a small cookie cutter to cut these out.  Generally 2.5-5cm is a good size for these.  The ones pictured were made on the small side.  Space cookies about 1cm apart on the baking sheet.
  • Place sheets in oven and bake for 5-10 minutes (depending on oven, thickness and size of puffs, use common sense people!) until puffed up and just barely beginning to turn golden.  You do not want them to brown much at all.
  • Cool on a rack, and place into a baking parchment lined airtight container (a tin box works really well).  Puffs will keep for 3-5 days (if they survive to keep that long!)  I have not tried to freeze them so I have no idea how well that would work, but I would hate for these to get soggy.

In my very biased view – and I am a cheese addict! – these work equally well with a glass of bubbly or a glass of a good red wine, or even a coffee if that is what you fancy.  Me, I will have it all, thank you very much!

17 thoughts on “Cheese and Cardamom Cocktail Puffs

  1. Gonna make this now! Umm, where does the cardamom come in? I’m assuming you meant cardamom instead of coriander?
    I’m a cheese addict too! And I can’t resist this anymore. No more talking. Will come back here after I’ve stuffed my face with some. Toodles.

    1. I made them!! And I think I’ve died and gone to cheese biscuit heaven …. Soooooooo good and cheesy. Don’t think I’d put in enough of the cardamom tho, didn’t smell any of it or maybe my cheeses overpowered it :D I’m hoping to get a good pic or two and maybe make a post out of it but it’s going fast … a good excuse to make more!

      1. Hah! You, too, are a cheese slave like me and cannot resist!

        Regarding cardamom (and it IS cardamom!), I might make an edit/note there – I said a 1/5 teaspoon but I meant one of those measuring things, and it can probably stand a bit more (up to 1/2 teaspoon I imagine). They’re not supposed to be very cardamom-ey though, it is just there to provide a sharper spicy edge to balance all the cheeeeeeeeeeeese!

        And yes, please post if you took photos! I bet yours are adorably neat too!

      2. Fixed! And ye gads, I managed to write coriander in several places, I guess I must have been really tired or something! *facedesk* Thanks for telling me!

        Funnily enough, if someone used coriander instead of cardamom, I do not think those would be that bad, either. But in my view, cardamom IS the best of spices in these. :)

      3. Goodums! I did use 1/2 a tsp coz for the life of me I just cannot measure out 1/5 tsp and still couldn’t sniff any of it. Maybe will put in a whole tsp next time. Oh, btw, I used ground cardamom so maybe that’s less pungent also and I used a whole lot of cheddar and monterey mix (calico). The cheese aroma was fanyummytastic tho!

      4. Yes, the cheesiness of these is amazing! We managed to save some for today – only took about half to dinner last night, and they are good cold, the next day, too!

        I have a set of really cute measuring scoops in stainless steel which has a 1/5 teaspoon measure, 1 tsp, 1 tbsp and 1dl – very very handy (when I bother to measure such small quantities and not just dump some in without measuring…).

        Ground cardamom is a lot less pungent (sort of like black pepper but it deteriorates a little less fast), I think that may be the problem – I tend to keep a baggy of the de-podded seeds around and pound the living daylights out of them when I want to use them. Let me know how a teaspoon of cardamom works for you if it is ground! Oh and it goes in with the flour and other dry stuff, but I guess you saw that already!

  2. These look great! But where do you find unsalted butter in Sweden? I have only managed to find normal salt and EXTRA salty butter, so I use the normal in everything and just reduce or eliminate the salt in the recipe.

    1. Hey and glad you like them!

      As to the unsalted butter, it is the one with the blue label, not green or red (which are regular and extra salted)! It specifically says osaltat smör on it. Arla make it, and the Skånian producer which has a flower logo, and also there is a Finnish brand (Valio) in our ICA too! Smaller supermarkets won’t always have it, but I know for a fact that the nice ICA at Liljeholmen (in the mall basement) has all that, and the French handmade butter to boot! (latter is in the fancy cheese department though, not with the rest of the butter in dairy)

      1. I have a friend who swears she’s never going to leave Liljeholmen just because of that ICA. I haven’t been to it, but I’m only over on Söder so it’s basically stumbling distance. Thanks for the butter tips!

      2. I adore that ICA and you should absolutely visit. Just… do not expect to leave it without hugely bulging bags. I never manage, even if I bring boyfriend along to chaperon me as I run around drooling and grabbing things! ;)

        And you are welcome – if you have any Sweden and food questions, by all means, ask – I don’t guarantee I’ll know the answer, but crazy foodie that I am, I well might! My own current food dilemma is – where the heck do I find British-style double cream in Sweden? It is the stuff that is 46+% fat, not the 38-40% that the whipping cream is.

  3. Wow, great combination of flavors, I love it just from reading the recipe. First time here, and really enjoyed reading through your blog. I am so with you on your food manifesto, and I am really glad that you’ve posted it. I am a new follower of this blog.

    1. Welcome, glad you like it, and it is very flattering to hear – and even more so that you agree with the manifesto: in my very biased view, more people should! :D

  4. These sound like a really unique and special appetizer. Cheese puffs sound delicious, but with the addition of cardamom, i bet they’re fantastic!

    1. They are, though Ping, above, cautioned after trying to make them at home, that if you use pre-ground cardamom, it is best to use more if you want a pronounced flavor, as it is far less pungent than the freshly-pounded seeds!

      Hope you make them and enjoy!

    1. Hey and thanks for stopping by!

      I saw your blog when you followed mine, went to look around and liked it! As to this recipe – it’s pretty foolproof and everyone always loves it (unless they hate cardamom but that can be substituted or omitted). The dough will look really crumbly at first, like it won’t come together, but what I do is mash it well and then wrap it in some plastic wrap and stick in fridge for maybe 5 minutes. Then proceed to roll. It’ll crack and stuff, but you can keep gathering and re-rolling it repeatedly after cutting some bits out, it’s not like pie crust and doesn’t get too ‘upset’ about overworking!

      Hope you enjoy the puffs, they are wonderful – and of course, welcome back! :D

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