LUCY BURDETTE: I have a new obsession in Key West--this is hot pepper jelly made by the Pickle Baron, a local company here on the island. They also make bacon jam (bacon jam!!), and all kinds of pickles.
|one of the Pickle Barons|
John and I put the jelly on our sandwiches all week--it has just the right smoky heat to raise cold cuts to the next level. Then I remembered of my favorite hors d'oeuvre--a recipe for hot pepper jelly cheese puffs that I got years ago from my good friend Cathy Crook.
These puffs are positively decadent and delicious. There's one drawback: They look like little thumbprint jam cookies so it takes a while for the party guests to catch on that you're talking cheese, not sugar. Once a few people taste them, however, word spreads like wildfire and the plate will be snatched clean. So gobble a couple before you put them out.
HOT PEPPER JELLY CHEESE PUFFS
1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup flour
Hot pepper jelly
Mix the first 3 ingredients until they hold together in a ball--either by hand or using food processor. Wrap in parchment paper or Saran wrap and chill 1/2 hour.
Roll into small balls (no bigger than an inch thick.) Bake at 400 degrees for five minutes. Remove them from the oven and make depressions in the top of the puffs with the back of a spoon.
Fill with Pickle Baron's Habanero hot pepper jelly (or other jelly, or mild pepper jelly if you can't take the heat.)
Return puffs to the oven and bake until golden. (5-7 more minutes.)
And watch them disappear off the plate!
Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries:
DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS is here now!
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