These are a huge hit at parties. You can increase or decrease the amount of cayenne to suit the taste of your crowd.
One caveat: all the ingredients MUST be at room temperature before you start or the dough won’t come out right.
- Yield: About 70 balls
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: 45 minutes
- Active: 30 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 stick (4 oz) butter, cut into 6 – 8 pieces
- 10 to 14 oz. extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp (or more) cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Tabasco (or your favorite hot sauce)
- 1 large jar pimento-stuffed Spanish olives (the standard size small olives, not extra-large ones)
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Put all ingredients except the olives into a large mixing bowl and mix with your fingers to form a dough.
- Knead the dough until it is uniform in color and consistency (there will be some red speckles from the cayenne but otherwise it should be an even orangey-beige).
- Drain the olives. Lay several paper towels on a plate, pour some olives out onto it, cover with more paper towels, and rub gently to dry them (they don’t need to be bone dry, just not really wet). Do more of these as needed.
- Pinch off a small amount of dough. (You want just enough to cover the olive but no more – maybe about 1 1/2 tsp per ball. You’ll get the feel for how much is enough after you do a few.) Make a depression in it with your thumb, fit the olive into the depression, bring the dough around to seal it in, and then roll it between your palms to make a nice round ball. Set on an ungreased light-colored (ideally insulated) cookie sheet.
- Continue until you run out of dough, spacing the balls about one inch apart (they won’t spread much). You should have enough to just fill two cookie sheets.
- Bake for until golden brown (about 12 – 20 minutes depending on the oven and the type of cookie sheets), checking frequently after the first ten minutes to make sure the bottoms aren’t burning. Rotate the cookie sheets partway through so they bake more evenly. If some start getting too dark, take them out and keep baking the rest until all are done.
- Cool on a wire rack and they’re ready to eat. If you have any left over the next day (I rarely do!), they’ll get a bit soggy but can be reheated nicely in a toaster oven. Enjoy!