Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Habanero Bites

APPETIZERS Habanero Bites via Annie

Savory Cheddar and Jalapeño Jelly Cookies from Rick Rodgers

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen

8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup jalapeno jelly, or sub apple butter or chutney

Place cheese and butter in a food processor (could be creamed by hand or mixer); add flour and process until the mixture forms a soft dough. Gather up the dough and divide into two flat disks. Wrap in wax paper and freeze until chilled, about 45 minutes.

Position two racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 400°. Line two baking sheets with parchment or use nonstick sheets.

Using 1 teaspoon dough for each, roll the dough into small balls and place 1 inch apart on the sheets. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Using the handle of a wooden spoon or 1/2-inch-thick dowel, poke an indentation in each cookie. Place the jelly in a small plastic bag and force it down into one corner. Snip off the corner of the bag to make a small hole. Pipe the jelly into the indentations.

Return to the oven and bake, switching the positions of the sheets from top to bottom halfway through baking, until the tops are very lightly browned, about 10 minutes. (Cookies will continue to crisp as they cool.) Transfer to racks and cool completely.

Can be baked up to two days ahead. Store at room temperature in an airtight container and separate layers with wax paper.

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