Classic Gruyère Gougères: A make-ahead party snack for holiday entertaining

I’ve spent the past two weeks preparing myself for the upcoming holidays by stocking a sizeable portion of my deep freeze with an assortment of homemade chewy caramel candies, sugar and gingerbread cookie doughs, pie crusts, soups for quick and nourishing weeknight dinners, and no less than five different varieties of gougères ready for last-minute entertaining and party-going in the coming month.

Lest you think I’m hyper-organized (okay, maybe I am a little), most of it is due to the large amount of recipe testing I’ve been doing for my forthcoming book, and the fact that December is my busiest working month of the year, and there is simply no time to let myself fall behind when it comes to holiday preparations.

While all of the items I’ve stockpiled are essential sanity-savers, none are more important to me than the gougères I mentioned above. They are my secret weapon when it comes to holiday gatherings, and I always, always have a bag ready to be baked between December and January, when surprise visitors pop by or I’m in need of a last-minute party nibble.

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Ten Guilt-Free Non-Suppers

On most days, dinner comes together quite pleasantly around here. We have a weekly menu plan, I buy just what we need for a few meals (and no more) at the market, and a well-rounded supper comes together with ease. Then…there are other days.

Occasionally, dinner just doesn’t happen for whatever reason – a delayed appointment, a webinar gone into overtime, or just plain lack of motivation (if we’re being honest here) – and we eat what I’ve come to call ‘The Non-Supper’. It’s usually something fast, requires no cooking and generates minimal dishes.

I’m generally not proud of our non-suppers, but sometimes at the end of another long strenuous day (no nanny, cleaning lady or mother’s helper around here!), insufficiently powered due to lack of sleep and fear of a coffee overdose (if there is such a thing), a non-supper takes some pressure off and frees up time for something more important, like playing with the kids. [Read more…]