Anyone who knows me can tell you that given the choice between chocolate and cheese, I will always choose the latter. I could happily eat cheese everyday for every meal...that is, if it didn't mean I'd have severe belly problems. In any case, I'm more of a savory snacker than a sweet snacker, so when I found this classic recipe for cheddar olives, I knew I had to make them.
The recipe claims to "come together" in 20 minutes, but I knew that was a lie. There's no way. It took me 1 hour 23 minutes from start to finish, including baking time. Which isn't too horrible if they were amazing, but because they weren't, it's a little excessive.
The problem with these potentially amazing olives is that cooking them renders them even saltier than they are right out of the jar. I even rinsed them off before I wrapped them in the cheddar dough (which by the way, is awesome), and they were still too salty. Perhaps using smaller olives next time would solve that problem (I chose to use the large pitted and stuffed olives found in my grocery store) but I'm not really chomping at the bit to try it. Mainly because at a party of approximately 40 (olive loving) people this weekend, only a few people tried them, and of those people, only 1 of them had seconds. I'm not too excited about those odds.
I WOULD make the dough again though, and perhaps wrap it around something sweet, like a date or a fig, which is why I'm posting this recipe at all. So, without further ado, the recipe for cheddar olives:
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, smoked paprika or freshly grated black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
1. Drain the olives well, and dry them completely with clean dish towels. Set aside.
2. Combine the cheese, flour, butter, and spices in a medium bowl and knead it within the bowl until a dough forms. If the dough is still crumbly and won't hold together, add water 1 teaspoon at a time until it does.
3. Pinch off a small amount of dough, and press it as thin as you can between your fingers to flatten. 4. Wrap and smoosh the dough around a dry olive. Pinch off any excess, then roll the olive in your hands until smooth. Continue until all the olives are covered.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown all over. Alternatively, freeze the olives on a baking sheet until firm, then wrapped tightly and freeze for up to a week. Bake straight from the freezer for 20-25 minutes.