These crunchy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside fragrant delights "pack a lot of flavor into a small package," says cheesemonger Chester Hastings of L.A. eatery Joan's On Third. "I was inspired by delicious French savory cakes, which make such good use of cheese and fresh herbs." These grown-up pops pair perfectly with crisp white wine.
To make them, we used a Babycakes cake-pop maker ($18; bedbathandbeyond.com).
Makes: 18 cake pops
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp smoked paprika
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 large egg
1/3 cup whole milk
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh chopped basil
4 oz. feta cheese (try French feta), cut into small cubes
18 cake-pop sticks (50 included with machine)
1. Preheat cake-pop maker and mist with cooking spray.
2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, paprika, and a grind or two of pepper.
3. In a separate bowl, combine egg, milk, and olive oil. Add wet mixture to the flour mixture; quickly whisk until just combined, being careful not to over-beat. Add basil and feta; lightly mix.
4. Place 1 heaping tbsp batter into each hotcake mold and close lid. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes; gently open lid and remove cakes, using a fork to loosen if necessary.
5. Insert cake-pop sticks and let cakes sit for 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.