Saturday, April 16, 2016

CHEDDAR CHEESE & OLIVE BALLS

I have been making these delicious hors d'oeuvres for more than 45 years. My daughter always wants these at Christmas time, but they are perfect anytime of the year. You can make them in advance, freeze, and then bake them a few minutes before guests arrive. Shred good quality sharp cheddar cheese with a box grater. Pre-packaged grated cheese contains cellulose (wood pulp) and potato starch. Manufacturers put it in cheese to keep it from clumping. 




2 cups shredded yellow sharp cheddar cheese
6 T unsalted butter, softened
1 t paprika
½ t dry mustard
½ t sea salt
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
36 to 40 small-size pimento stuffed Manzanilla olives, thoroughly drained

Place the cheese and butter in a mixing bowl and allow softening to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Add paprika, dry mustard, and salt.
Slowly stir in the flour. 
Mix with a wooden spoon until pieces of cheese disappear and mixture is smooth and deep yellow in color.

Pinch off small pieces of dough, about a teaspoon full, and flatten in palm of your hand to a circle about 1 ½ inches in diameter.

Place a well-drained olive in center of dough, bringing edges together to cover olive completely.  
Roll gently between palms of hands.
Place on a baking sheet and refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. 
Serve hot.

Makes 36 to 40

*   After forming cheese and olive balls, they may be frozen for future use.
     To serve, bake frozen, about 30 minutes. Do not thaw before baking.