Olive Cheese Balls

I’m hoping I can make up for my long absence by sharing one of my favorite foods in the entire world. In fact I think it is my favorite food in the entire world. Olive Cheese Balls. That may not be an exactly appealing name but once you’ve eaten your first one, it doesn’t matter what they’re called so long as you can keep eating them.

Olive Cheese Balls

adapted from my mom’s recipe

Ingredients:

-1/4 tsp salt

-1/2 tsp dried thyme

-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (chili powder works just as good)

– 2 cups SHARP cheddar cheese, shredded (any less of a kick will make a bland cheese ball)

– 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

– 1/2 MELTED butter (melted is extremely important, otherwise the dough will not form properly)

-36 small olives, pimento stuffed works well (I bet garlic stuffed would be even more delicious though)

First, mix the flour, spices, salt, and cheese together on medium speed. (I found this helps break the cheese into smaller pieces and helps the dough form better).

Pour in the butter and mix on medium until the dough is formed. It will be very crumbly, but no worries, it’ll smooth out as you work with it.

Making sure the olives have been drained and are almost dry, pinch off a piece of dough about the size of 1 tablespoon. Flatten the dough into a disk about an 1 1/2″ across, place an olive in the center and wrap the dough around it. If the dough cracks that’s alright, just mush it up in your hand until it is sealed.

After the olives have all been wrapped place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper about 1/2″ apart. Place them in the fridge for about an hour. (You can put them in the freezer, they will just take a little longer to cook. I like freezing them and then keeping a zip lock bag stored away so that I can pop a few into the oven whenever I feel like it.)

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place as many olive balls on a cookie sheet as you like, it isn’t necessary to spray the sheet but you can if you want to. I usually just lay down parchment paper. Cook for about 10-13 minutes, or until the balls have started bubbling and the bottom has turned a golden brown (easily checked by flipping one over). Be sure to let them set on the counter for at least 5 minutes before eating, the juices from the olive are still boiling and can cause a nasty burn. This I have learned from experience…

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