Nothing says party to me like puff pastry. It sounds kind of retro kitsch, but there's something about that crisp shatter of salty, flaky pastry that's so indulgent, it can't help but be for a special occasion.
Instead of cheese straws, which have sort of been what they are forever, I make cheesy papillons—butterflies, or bowties. I just press sea salt, grated Gruyère, and piment d'Espelette (for heat and some holiday coloring) into store-bought puff pastry, slice the pastry into ribbons with a fluted ravioli cutter, twist the ribbons in the center, and bake them. They puff up into huge, glorious, crispy, salty, cheesy Everests. I serve them in baskets down the center of the table instead of bread.
I almost never have any of these left over. So I stash one away for myself. It's the happiest snack for doing the dishes.
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About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way.