Cheesy Olive Bites are Cocktail Party Perfect!
This vintage recipe for Cheesy Olive Bites makes a delicious finger food. They are cocktail party perfect! Just bite into one of these sharp cheddar shortbread wrapped gems and be surprised by a pimento stuffed cocktail olive……martinis optional.
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A few weeks ago I was digging my way through my recipe box, that is filled with recipes I got from my mom shortly after I got married. At the time I was looking for my Grandma’s Vegetable Beef Soup recipe, but when I spied this recipe for Cheesy Olive Bites brought back memories!
The cheesy dough bakes up tender while the olive in the center becomes warm and juicy. I always loved the cheese bread with the salty meatiness of the olive all in one bite. It’s appetizer nirvana.
I remember my mom making them on several occasions, and I’m not quite sure why I had never made them. They are really easy to make, although can be a little time-consuming, especially if you want to make a large quantity.
The good news is, you can make them ahead of time and freeze them, so all you have to do is pop them in the oven before your party!
Let’s Make Cheesy Olive Bites
First things first……the olives.
You want to use the small pimento stuffed cocktail olives.
Drain olives, pat dry then let them sit on a towel for a while to dry more. (be sure to save the olive juice if you’d like to make a dirty martini).
NOTE: You can give the olives a rinse if you are worried about them being too salty, but mine were not overly salty at all.
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Let’s talk about the cheese. You want to use a good sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese for the best flavor.
While you can mix this cheddar dough by hand, it’s really going to come together if you can use a food processor. I used my mini (3.5 cup) food processor, which was perfect size!!
You start by blending the cheese with softened butter.
Then add flour seasoned with paprika and salt. Pulse until well combined.
NOTE: Next time I may add just a little dry mustard too.
Remove dough from bowl and form into a ball, and place in the refrigerator for about an hour.
This recipe makes about 32 Cheesy Olive Bites.
After your dough is chilled, you will need to break it down into 32 pieces. The best way to do this is, break the ball in half (place the other half back the in the fridge while you work with the one half). Continue breaking the dough into halves, until you have 16 pieces.
With a floured hand, press a piece of dough out in your hand (you can flour your dough a little if it seems sticky) and place olive in the center.
Press dough around olive. It wont look perfect, and that’s ok, it will come together in the next step.
Using both hands, roll olive cheese ball until smooth and even and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
Continue with remaining dough pieces and repeat the process with the remaining dough in the fridge.
This process can seem a little tedious, but once you get the hang of it, it goes pretty quickly. Having a floured hand (and floured dough if needed) really helps.
They don’t puff up too much, so I was able to fit all 32 Cheesy Olive Bites on my half sheet pan. Place them in a hot oven for 15 minutes and they are ready to serve!!
Want to make them up ahead of time? These cheesy olive bites freeze nicely. Simply place unbaked olive cheese balls in a freezer bag until you’re ready to use them. You can put them in the oven frozen, just add about 5-10 minutes to the baking time.
Success Tips for Making Cheesy Olive Bites
Let’s recap what made this appetizer recipe a success:
- use cocktail olives (not large olives)
- let olives dry
- use sharp cheddar cheese
- use a food processor (or mixer) to make cheddar dough
- handle the dough with floured hands and add a little flour to dough pieces if sticky
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- 32 pimento stuffed cocktail olives (about 3/4 of a 7 ounce jar)
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- Drain juice from olives, pat dry and lay out on a towel until dry (I left mine about an hour).
- Using a small bowl, whisk flour, salt and paprika and set aside.
- Using a food processor or electric mixer, cream butter and cheese until well combined. Add flour mixture and combine just until dough comes together.
- Form dough into a ball and place in the refrigerator for about an hour to chill.
- Preheat oven to 400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Remove 1/2 of dough from the refrigerator. Break dough in half and continue breaking dough pieces in half until you have 16 small pieces. With a floured hand, press a piece of dough out in your hand (you can flour your dough a little if it seems sticky) and place olive in the center. Press dough around olive, then roll into a smooth ball with both hands and place on pan. Continue with remaining dough pieces and other half in the fridge.
- Place pan of cheesy olive bites in oven for 15 minutes.
- Allow to cool 5 mintues before serving.