In the 1960s and ’70s, we ran reader-submitted recipes in a regular column titled “My Favorite Recipe.” Some dishes (Kidney Bean Relish, Liver & Rice Casserole) are best left to memory, but Holiday Cheese Puffs — a quirky appetizer from December 1974 — caught our eye. The cheese sauce is leavened with egg white so that it toasts up, a bit soufflé-like, on rounds of French bread. A fun alternative to cheese twists.
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
3 ounces cream cheese
8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter
2 egg whites, beaten to firm peaks
1 baguette, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
1 clove garlic, halved
Garnish: about 30 small sage leaves
Preheat your oven to 400°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Set a double boiler over a pot of simmering water. Add the cheddar, cream cheese, and butter, and melt, whisking continuously until creamy. Remove the bowl from the heat and let it sit 5 minutes to cool. Now fold in the egg whites in two batches. Rub one side of each bread slice with the halved garlic. Dip one side of each bread slice into the cheese mixture. Arrange on the prepared baking sheets, coated side up. Press a sage leaf into the center of each slice.
Bake until puffy and browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.