Thursday, April 7, 2022

Cheese Puffs filled with Hot Pepper Jelly @LucyBurdette



LUCY BURDETTE:  I have a few obsessions in Key West--one of them is cafe con leche from the Cuban Coffee Queen every morning. But if I need a fairly quick hors d'oeuvres for a sunset cocktail party, I turn to this recipe, using 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

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.



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!

Last but not least, A DISH TO DIE FOR, #12 in the Key West food critic mystery series, will be out on August 9, but is now available for preorder wherever books are sold
About A Dish to Die For:

Peace and quiet are hard to find in bustling Key West, so Hayley Snow, food critic for Key Zest magazine, is taking the afternoon off for a tranquil lunch with a friend outside of town. As they are enjoying the wild beach and the lunch, she realizes that her husband Nathan’s dog, Ziggy, has disappeared. She follows his barking, to find him furiously digging at a shallow grave with a man’s body in it. Davis Jager, a local birdwatcher, identifies him as GG Garcia, a rabble-rousing Key West local and developer. Garcia was famous for over-development on the fragile Keys, womanizing, and refusing to follow city rules—so it’s no wonder he had a few enemies.

 When Davis is attacked in the parking lot of a local restaurant after talking to Hayley and her dear friend, the octogenarian Miss Gloria, Hayley is slowly but surely drawn into the case. Hayley’s mother, Janet, has been hired to cater GG’s memorial service reception at the local Woman’s Club, using recipes from their vintage Key West cookbook—and Hayley and Miss Gloria sign on to work with her, hoping to cook up some clues by observing the mourners.

But the real clues appear when Hayley begins to study the old cookbook, as whispers of old secrets come to life, dragging the past into the present—with murderous results.


  1. I can't wait to try this. The directions are straightforward and the flavor combination sounds great.

  2. Oh my! The HOT PEPPER JELLY CHEESE PUFFS sounds delicious. I can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks!

    Can't wait for the opportunity to read "A Dish to Die For", which is definitely on my TBR list.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. I love red pepper jelly on a cracker with cream cheese. This recipe takes a pepper jelly appetizer up a notch--and with only 4 ingredients. Thanks for sharing it, Roberta!

  4. These sound delicious! Can't wait to make them.

  5. I need to bring something to a gathering on Saturday. These sound perfect! Do you have a sense of how many the recipe makes?

    1. I'm going to say they make a big cookie sheet's worth. I have taken them to a number of potlucks etc and they're very popular once people get over the hump!

  6. These do sound delicious! I'm thinking about all the different fillings I could use. Tempting, in a very good way.

    1. I've tried fig jam and it's very good. What else are you thinking?

    2. A sampling of any jams and preserves I might have: apricot, blueberry, guava, etc.

  7. At last! I can branch out from sausage balls! Sausage balls have been my go-to recipe for easy appetizers/party snacks but I'm sure these cheese puffs are going to be a go-to now. I love hot pepper jelly. Here in Texas my favorite is a jalapeno jelly I get at the farmers' market. I'm also going to try apricot jam which is one of my favorite kolache fillings.

  8. Just made these using hot pepper bacon jelly. Delicious!