Baked Cheese Olives – Retro Fare

September 26, 2014

in Cook What You Like, Little Bites

Cheddar OlivesAmerican cocktail parties platters of yesteryear were filled with neat little nibbles to go with martinis and gimlets.  Small meatballs, cocktail franks, crustless triangular sandwiches – most could be stabbed with toothpicks and eaten without dripping onto one’s dry cleaning.  That era invented lots of delicious single bite canapés that could be made ahead and then served in short order, allowing more time for the party hosts to mingle with their guests.

Baked Cheese Olives, pimento-stuffed green olives wrapped in cheddar cheese-based dough, are one of those easy party munchies.  Easy to make and bake, they can be assembled ahead and even frozen for upcoming parties.  These crisp bites are briny with a spicy bite on the back-end – just the right accompaniment with white wine or beer or Campari and soda.

Make these ahead so when friends or neighbors stop by unexpectedly, you’ll have these ready in no time.

Cheddar Olives Unbaked

Recipe: Baked Cheese Olives

Regular sized pimento stuffed olives work best in this recipe.  If the dough gets too sticky to work with, refrigerate for another 15 minutes.


  • 35-40 pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp or sharp cheddar cheese
  • 7 Tablespoons butter, cold
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tablespoon cold water
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Prep:  drain and rinse olives and dry on multiple layers of paper towels. Shred cheddar cheese on the medium holes of box grater or in a food processor. Cut cold butter into 14 pieces. In a small bowl, slightly beat egg and mix in water and Worcestershire sauce.  Set all aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine flour, paprika, white pepper and cayenne pepper and pulse about 3 seconds to combine.  Add grated cheese and butter and pulse mixture into coarse crumbs, about 12 pulses. Add egg mixture and process until a ball forms, about 20 seconds. Scrape dough into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes for easier handling.
  3. Make canapés: shape about 2 teaspoons of dough into a flat disc (you can do so with your fingers). Put an olive in the middle of the dough disc and encase the olive with the dough. Reshape the ball by briefly rolling it between your palms.  Place balls, single layer, on a flat plate or tray; tightly cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 24 hours.  Cold canapés retain their shape during baking.  Cold, unbaked canapés can also be placed in an airtight container, separating layers with wax or parchment paper, and frozen to be baked later.
  4. Bake at 350º F:  adjust 2 oven racks in the middle of the oven and preheat oven.  Place balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets.  Bake until tops are golden and bottoms are brown, about 16 to 18 minutes (up to 25 minutes for frozen balls).  Rotate sheets halfway through baking top to bottom and front to back. Remove from oven, let stand for 5 minutes on baking sheet and cool for another 15 minutes on a wire rack.  Serve barely warm or at room temperature.

Makes 36-40 canapés.

Adapted from Cook’s Country.


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