These are brilliant.  Time-consuming, but brilliant.  My sister-in-law’s mom is the first to introduce the family to these tasty little wonders, but I found a very easy to follow recipe on the kitchn.  I like using large olives, in fact they’re called ‘Mammoth Green Olives’ – and since I’ve already made several batches, I find that 2, 500 mL containers of pitted mammoth green olives, and 3 batches of the dough below will yield close to 100 cheddar olives.  Depending on how much dough you like on your olives (and the size of the olives), one batch of dough should yield 20 to 30 little dudes – enjoy!

Cheddar Olives

20 to 30 pitted green olives, drained and dried well

1 c. flour AND 4 T. softened butter

1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper (or cayenne, or smoked paprika)

1 1/2 c. finely grated old cheddar

water as needed

In a medium bowl, use a fork or pastry cutter to work the flour and butter together, then add in the cheese and your spice of choice and toss well to coat.  Knead this together to see where it’s dough forming abilities are at, and then add in 1 teaspoon of water at a time, and stir or knead until a dough just forms.  A little dry to start is okay, it just needs to be able to stick together.

Pinch off a piece of dough and press it into a thin pancake with your fingers then proceed to roll and pinch this around each olive, pinching off any excess.  This takes a bit of time, but I promise you’ll get the hang of it quickly (and you’ll easily roll up a batch while your children finish their homework).  Continue until you’re out of dough and then place all olives on a baking sheet or large plate and freeze for about an hour before placing them into a a Ziploc bag and hiding them in your freezer so that you can pull them out as needed for your next ‘secret weapon’ appetizer.  That said, you can bake them straight away, but I also find that they stay together better while cooking, when they go into the oven frozen.

When you’re ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment.  Place as many frozen cheddar olives as you wish on the baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  Serve straight away with your favorite cocktail.

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