3/4 cup buttermilk
5 TB butter
1 cup flour
2 strips bacon, diced
1 cup cheddar, shredded
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp fresh basil, minced
1/2 tsp buttermilk dressing base powder
salt and fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425.
Step 1: Dice bacon very small, and cook in a small skillet until very crispy. Place on a paper towel to drain.
Step 2: In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter in the buttermilk. When melted, dump in the flour all at once.
Step 3: Stir briskly with a wooden spoon until dough comes together.
Step 4: Add eggs one at a time, whisking constantly until blended. Turn off heat, and continue whisking until cohesive and a little bit of a sheen develops.
Step 5: Add in bacon, herbs, cheese, dressing-base, fresh ground pepper and 1/4 tsp salt. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a silpat-lined cookie sheet. Smooth out the edges with the back of a wet spoon, or wet fingers. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until starting to brown and puffed. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and turn off the heat, poke bottoms of gougeres / cheese puffs with a toothpick or chopstick to let additional steam escape, and put back in the oven (still off!) for another 15-20 minutes to dry out a tad.
Step 6: Serve the cheese puffs warm or at room temperature. Keeps really well in an air-tight container for several days, simply rewarm in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes.