Pumped Up Cheddar Olive Balls

Spicy cheddar olive balls

Don’t let your Game Day appetizers fall flat! These spicy, cheesy olive balls are pumped full of flavor and go great with beer or cocktails. This retro recipe is all over the internet (and in several of my cookbooks), though usually it calls for paprika instead of cayenne pepper. Boring! Also, all of the recipes I looked at failed to mention the key step of drying the olives before wrapping in the cheese dough. If your olives are wet, your dough will get slimy and sticky. You do not want sticky balls!

This recipe can be doubled, and balls can be made ahead (baked or unbaked). I like a mix of white and orange (for color) aged cheddar, but you can use whatever you like as long as it’s sharp. Buying a block of cheese and grating it yourself will make the dough come together easier. Finally, a word on cayenne pepper: it’s hot! So be careful not to get it in your eyes. (And definitely don’t sprinkle it on a stick JuicyFruit gum and lovingly offer it to your younger sister.)

Spicy Cheddar Olive Balls                                  Click here to print recipe only

Makes 30 balls

  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated & at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened/at room temperature
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 30 small or medium stuffed olives from a jar

Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain olives from brine and arrange on paper towel to dry slightly.

DSC_0630

In the bowl of a food processor (or in a mixing bowl), cream together cheese and butter.

I add the cheese and butter to a food processor and then go do other stuff while it comes to room temperature.

I add the cheese and butter to a food processor and then go do other stuff while it comes to room temperature.

You can do this with a mixer or even by hand.

You can also do this with a mixer or even by hand.

Add flour and cayenne and pulse until a dough forms. (Or, blend with a mixer until smooth.)

DSC_0639

Like pie dough, the dough will look dry but will come together when you pinch it.

Like pie dough, the cheese dough will look dry but will come together when you pinch it.

Dump the crumbly dough onto the lined baking sheet (or counter, but that's messier) and use your hands to knead dough together.

Dump the crumbly dough onto the lined baking sheet (or counter, but that’s messier) and use your hands to bring dough together.

Shape dough into 30 small balls (about a teaspoon). Make an indent in the balls with your thumb, and then place an olive in the indent and press around dough to enclose. Roll ball between palms to smooth.

DSC_0651

Use your thumb to make a cute little indent in the dough ball.

 

Enclose the olive in dough.

Enclose the olive in dough.

Roll between the palms of your hands to smooth.

Roll between the palms of your hands to smooth.

Arrange on a baking sheet. The balls will puff slightly so don't place them too close together.

Arrange on a baking sheet. The balls will puff slightly so don’t place them too close together.

(Balls can be frozen at this point, or chilled for up to an hour to minimize the spread when baking.)

Bake at 400F for about 15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Baked olive cheese balls

Baked olive cheese balls

Baked balls can also be frozen. Reheat at 325F for 5-10 minutes or until warmed through.

 

Spicy Olive Cheese balls

PS – If you’re due for a spice refresh (and most of us are), check out my friend Kaina’s line of organic spices: Kaina Organics. Love her cute little spice jars!

Kaina photo large

 

3 thoughts on “Pumped Up Cheddar Olive Balls

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s