I had decided on an easy crowd-pleaser (the cheese puffs, or gougères, in the title), but discovered my pastry bag is AWOL. In my house, if you can't find something, there is a very good chance it is In Storage. Problem is, Storage is in a different country. So if you do have your pastry bag (or can track one down), but lack ideas for something delicious and easy to make for New Year's Eve (or any other pretext), then by all means, take over where I have had to leave off.
Gougères are delicious finger food from the region of Burgundy, the kind of savory pastry snack that makes people forget their manners and all but two-fist the crispy little treats while hulking protectively over the serving tray. These hollow little balls go excellently with a glass of Champagne. And as long as you follow the instructions carefully, they're quite easy to make.
There are excellent, simple recipes online. I like that FXcuisine features clear, step-by-step photos (the photo above is from their recipe), while Food and Wine offers Alain Ducasse's version. Who better to stump for this French delicacy? I still think the standard Gruyère cheese makes for the tastiest gougères, but at Baking Obsession, Vera has chosen a less conventional path. It does look delicious. Let me know if you try it out.
In the meantime, I will stumble to bed now. The Nyquil has kicked in, and the rasping, consumptive-sounding cough is being replaced by jaw-breaking yawns and slightly blurred vision. (Hey, it's party central already.)
Thank you for reading this far; Happy New Year to you, with good cheer--and good health.