Potato Puffs

Remember when you were a little kid and your mom would yell at you because you were playing with your food? Well in this case: playing with your food is allowed and warranted. These cute little guys transform your ordinary mashed potatoes into a whimsical ball of crunch! This recipe is more of a method then an actual recipe and I suggest adapting it to your own preference. Since I've been told I make my mashed potatoes taste "healthy," I would use your favorite recipe when making this. If you like your puffs extra crunchy, double dunking is highly suggested. To achieve this, you roll the puffs back into the egg wash and then into the panko crumbs again after the first dredge. The outside gets really crunchy and the inside stays nice and soft. I actually enjoyed the double dipping method as well. So if you're a fan of mash da-paytoes, make this and have fun playing with your food :)

Potato Puffs
Adapted from Stonewall Kitchen Favorites via Mel’s Kitchen
Makes about 1 dozen potato puffs

*Note: the puffs need to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour before baking but they can be made up to 8 hours ahead of time.

3/4 pounds russet baking potatoes (about 2-3 large), peeled and quartered
1 tablespoons butter
2 tbs milk
1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 large eggs
1 cups panko bread crumbs (found in the Asian-foods aisle)
Garlic salt and onion powder, optional

Boil the potatoes for 10-12 minutes, until they are tender but not overcooked. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Mash them with a potato masher until they are smooth. Over very low heat, add the butter and milk and mash until the potatoes are light and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cheese, salt and pepper. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. You should have a smooth, soft mixture. If it seems a bit too stiff and not creamy enough, add an additional 1-2 tablespoons milk to adjust the consistency. Keep in mind, you’ll be rolling this mixture into balls so you don’t want it so soft it will fall apart while rolling.
Let the mixture cool slightly. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk the eggs add in a tsp bread flour until blended and season them lightly with salt and pepper and garlic and onion powder. Place the panko on a large plate or pie dish.
Using cookie dough scooper form a heaping 2 tablespoons of the mashed potato mixture into a ball and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Repeat this process until all of the potato mixture is rolled. You should have 11-14 potato puffs, depending on how big or small you rolled them.
Dip a potato puff into the egg mixture, coating it lightly on all sides then dip it in the panko until it is coated. Place on an oiled cooling rack inside of a cookie sheet and repeat with remaining puffs. Cover the puffs loosely and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours before baking.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Bake the potato puffs for about 10 minutes then turn up heat to 425 for an extra 5 minutes, until golden brown and heated through. They will not get that brown but will still be crunchy