3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
A few grinds of black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 large eggs
1 cup milk, at room temperature
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
3 scallions, trimmed and finely sliced or chopped
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
If you have a cast-iron muffin tin, put it in the oven when you start to preheat it and melt the butter in the cups a minute before you’re ready to add the batter. Check puffers after 15 minutes in the oven.
Center a rack in the oven and position another rack just below it. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Have a baking sheet lined with foil or a baking mat and a muffin tin at hand. (If you’re using a cast-iron pan, put it into the oven now; see above.) Put the baking sheet on the lower rack — it will be your drip catcher.
Drop one piece of the butter into each muffin cup; set aside (see above if using a cast-iron pan).
Working in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne.
In another bowl or a large measuring cup, whisk the eggs and milk together. Using a flexible spatula, stir the liquid ingredients into the dry, then blend in the cheese and scallions. Be thorough, but don’t be overzealous.
Put the muffin tin into the oven and as soon as the butter has melted, remove it and brush the butter around the sides of each cup with a silicone or other pastry brush. Using a big cookie scoop or a spoon, divide the batter among the cups and immediately return the tin to the oven.
Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until the puffers are tall and golden. The butter will be bubbling around them and a tester inserted into the center of one will come out clean. Transfer the tin to a rack, run a table knife around the edges of each cup and pop the puffers out. Serve immediately.
Storing: These are meant to be eaten as soon as they’re baked, but if they must wait for a few hours, quickly reheat them in a hot oven.
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