My Motto

May the muffin rise to greet you, may your friends be always at your door, and until we meet again, warm a single-malt in the palm of your hand and make something homemade for someone you love.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cheddar Cheese Thumbprints with Hot Pepper Jelly

"The smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us."
~Marcel Proust
Making pepper jelly has been a tradition here for years.  I always have a few jars around.  So, when I purchased the book, 250 Home Preserving Favorites and saw this use for it, I got excited.  Cheddar cookies are, after all,  one of my most popular cocktail hors d'oeuvres and this twist on the popular thumbprint cookies marries two things simply meant for each other; sharp cheddar and sweet/spicy hot pepper jelly. 
They look beautiful, are delicious, and easy to eat with one hand, making them perfect for cocktail hour.  A delectable savory treat.  Cheers!
As an added bonus, they also may be baked ahead and frozen for up to 3 months.  The results of today's labors are in the freezer right now, awaiting their appearance on Thanksgiving.  I let the fam each try one and they loved them, each asking "just one more?"  

NO!  No touchy!  Hands-off!  These are saving me valuable time on Thanksgiving day!
To crisp, heat thawed cookies on a baking sheet for 3 minutes at 350 degrees to re-crisp them.  If you don't make your own pepper jelly, NO PROBLEM!  It is pretty easy to find and Stonewall Kitchens has a nice one.  You could also substitute wine jelly, but I like the heat of the hot pepper jelly.  The sharpness of the cheddar contrasted to the sweet and spicy jelly makes a tantalizing bite.  

Cheddar Cheese Thumbprints with Hot Pepper Jelly
Makes 20 cookies
Recipe from Yvonne Tremblay in 250 Home Preserving Favorites

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch cayenne pepper
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 cups finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup hot pepper jelly

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine flour, salt and cayenne.  Add butter; pulse several times to combine.  Add cheese; pulse until flour is all moistened and mixture begins to stick together.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and gather together and knead a couple times to form a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls, using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each ball.  Place at least 2 inches apart on baking sheets.  Using a wooden spoon handle or your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each ball.

Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes.  Remove from oven, press indentation slightly again, and place a small amount of hot pepper jelly in the indentation.  Not too much...you don't want it to spill over.
Return to oven and bake 6 minutes more.  Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.

Variations: If desired, roll balls of dough in finely chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, or lightly toasted sesame seeds.

Add 1/2 teaspoon paprika or 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder to the flour mixture.

If you don't have a food processor:  Combine the butter and cheese in a medium bowl; stir with a wooden spoon to blend well.  In a small bowl, combine flour, salt and cayenne pepper; stir into cheese mixture until flour is moistened and mixture begins to stick together.  Proceed to the step where you roll the dough into balls (above).

Tips: For nicely shaped, deep indentations, use the end of a wooden spoon instead of your thumb.
If you're going to freeze them, freeze them initially on a single layer in a cookie sheet.  You can then place frozen cookies in a shallow container....place a piece of wax paper in-between layers.

25 comments:

Tina said...

How creative this is. They sure have a way of fooling you with the appearance, looking like cookies. The cheddar cheese morsels are no doubt a delicious savory bite. That savory bite really does amp things up a bit. Great appetizers-yum!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Tina: Thank you...the recipe struck me as pretty clever, too! But even my daughter loved them and she wouldn't even eat pepper jelly before!

Laurie {Simply Scratch} said...

I love this savory spin!! *printing* :)

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Laurie: GREAT!!!

Kitchen Angel said...

I cannot wait to try this! I made a lot of pepper jam and this looks fabulous! Yes, I'm going to make them up and freeze for Thanksgiving. Looks absolutely beautiful!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Kitchen Angel: So happy to hear that! I LOVE when people actually try the recipes I post. And thanks a bunch for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a great idea! Those look so pretty and must taste divine. A scrumptious flavor combo.

Cheers,

Rosa

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Rosa: Thanks! Wish I could say I thought of it myself, haha!

Kelly Mulcair Registered Nutritionist. Content © 2011 Trinity Nutrition. said...

Oh, love it! whenever I see hot pepper jelly, I know the holidays are approaching... I love the bite of this jelly and how you've contrasted it against the savoury biscuit. Delightful.

Kitchen Angel said...

@Margaret - I made them! I used Boar's Head sharp vermont yellow cheddar and their Canadien Cheddar, used the option of adding some smoked paprika, and rolled them in pecans. All I can say is: WOW. A wonderful bite of heaven to the taste buds. Your recipe is easy to follow, doesn't take too long, either! Oh, and I have to make more since someone got into them and blamed it on the dog! I am keeping this recipe forever! They will be lovely as an appetizer with a nice wine!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Kitchen Angel: I'm tickled that you enjoy them as much as we do!!! Really appreciate the kind comments...thanks a bunch!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Kelly: Thanks...I hope you get a chance to give them a try! Thanks for visiting!

Mary said...

Margaret, these sound fabulous. I especially like the make ahead feature for holiday meals. I hope you have a great evening. Blessings...Mary

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Mary: Thanks, I do to. Always try to do everything I can ahead of time, so I can enjoy my guests. Have a good weekend. Always happy to see you here :-)

~~louise~~ said...

Wait, I'll be right back, I must bookmark this recipe right now. I just LOVE it!!! As a matter of fact, my sisters are coming up this weekend, I may just use them as my Thanksgiving "guinea" pigs. I simply can't wait! Ingenious!

Thank you so much for sharing, Margaret...

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Louise: Oh boy..the sister test!!! I'd love to hear how they like them! Enjoy the weekend!

~~louise~~ said...

I like the recipe so much, I made it the feature in my online newspaper! Here's the link, Margaret.

Mary said...

Jumping back in to sympathize about oven space. The turkey makes it difficult, but I've found that vegetables that can be roasted in 20 to 30 minutes can go in after the turkey comes out. We always let the turkey sit to reabsorb juices and that makes time for the vegetables. Have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Louise: I saw the newsletter! Thanks, that was great!

Kate Hannon said...

Briliiant, and you know how I love cheddar cookies! Now I know what I'm bringing to my friend's house for Thanksgiving.

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Kate: You'll love them!

Elizabeth D. Peña said...

Made the and filled half with red pepper jelly and the other half with green

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Elizabeth: Great idea for the holidays...So glad you made them...thanks for letting me know!

Anonymous said...

For a higher kick, add a few teaspons green tabasco in dough. Yum!

Bíbí_87 said...

Hi Margaret! I was scrambling to look for some authentic Irish food and desserts that I can make for my Dublin friends (in Canada now).
I'm Icelandic myself so I know how nice it is to get a taste of something that is unique to where you grew up! I bookmarked your webpage and I'll be looking for something extra special to make for Paddy's Day! :)