Savory Cheddar and Jalapeño Cookies

thanksgiving-101My Thanksgiving spread always involves some kind of appetizer. Usually someone brings a cheese ball and crackers or vegetable or fruit platter or chips and salsa. My sister introduced me to jalapeño jelly a few months ago because her mother-in-law was teaching her how to make it. My sister served the jalapeño jelly with cream cheese and crackers. It was so good! Before she introduced me to it, I thought jalapeño jelly sounded disgusting. That probably has something to do with the idea that I’d only really ever used jelly on peanut butter sandwiches or toast up to that point in my life (sad, I know!). Since then, I’ve made my own jalapeño jelly that I intend to give as presents for Christmas and it has opened my eyes to the potential of jalapeño jelly. Since I loved it with cream cheese on crackers, when I saw these cookies in Thanksgiving 101 by Rick Rodgers, I thought they were something different that might be a great Thanksgiving appetizer.

Savory Cheddar and Jalapeño Jelly Cookies

8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup jalapeño jelly, apple butter, or chutney

  1. Place the cheese and butter in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the flour and process until the mixture forms a soft dough. Gather up the dough and divide into two flat disks. Wrap in wax paper and freeze until chilled, about 45 minutes.
  2. Position two racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 400*F. Line two baking sheets with parchment cooking paper, or use nonstick cookie sheets.
  3. Using 1 teaspoon of dough for each, roll the dough into small balls and place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Using the handle of a wooden spoon or a 1/2-inch-thick dowel, poke an indentation in each cookie. Place the jelly in a small plastic bag and force it down into one corner. Snip off the corner of the bag to make a small hole. Pipe the jelly into the indentations.
  4. Return to the oven and bake, switching the positions of the sheets from top to bottom halfway through baking, until the tops are very lightly browned, about 10 minutes (the cookies will continue to crisp as they cool). Transfer to wire cake racks and cool completely. (The cookies can be baked up to 2 days ahead. Store in an airtight container, separating the layers with waxed paper, at room temperature.)

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen.

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Ok. Seriously these cookies are addictive. I think I ate about half of them all by myself. I didn’t get 4 1/2 dozen as stated. I got 44 thumbprint size cookies. Maybe I overfilled my teaspoon a little? Anyway, I didn’t have extra-sharp cheddar cheese so I just used regular sharp cheddar cheese. These cookies tasted a lot like Cheez-its but had a crunchy cookie texture and sweet and spicy notes from the jalapeño jelly. These would be excellent as an appetizer for a party, but I would make more than 1 batch so you’ll have plenty. Everyone will be asking for more! Or you can do like me and just make yourself a batch and refuse to share them with anyone else. The choice is yours.

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