Last summer the two jalapeno pepper plants I planted yielded more than 300 peppers. After canning more jars than I would need in a single year, using some in daily meals, gifting some to the neighbors and family, and freezing some just in case I found another use for them, I still had more peppers than I knew what to do with. As usual, this brought me to the internet to search for uses for these wonderfully hot peppers.
One recipe I found was for Jalapeno Jelly. Thrilled with this new recipe, I made a full batch and put it on the pantry shelf, hoping to find a use for it sometime in the future. To be honest, I was sort of afraid to even try it. I like hot things, but jalapeno’s are so very hot, that even testing this jelly was not something I could bring myself to do.
Last week, after I made my Cranberry-Tangerine Spread, I bought some water crackers to eat it on. Remembering seeing an advertisement where someone used jalapeno jelly over cream cheese and served it with water crackers, I decided to finally test the jelly. I fixed two crackers. First I spread a thin layer of cream cheese on each cracker and then a thin layer of jalapeno jelly. Not wanting to go through this experiment alone, I took the crackers to Hubby and we ate them together. What a surprise! I was expecting the jelly to be hot — not sweet. It was both hot and sweet which was a total shock. Why, I’m not really sure as the recipe called for lots of sugar, but I guess I never thought beyond the hotness.
Hubby absolutely loved it and proceeded to follow me back out to the kitchen and make himself a plate full of crackers. Totally thrilled, my mind began to race with the possibilities. I remembered printing off a recipe for a thumbprint cookie that called for hot pepper jelly as the center. Perfect. Not only would I have another use for all the jalapeno jelly, but hopefully have a new appetizer worthy of serving to guests.
The recipe I printed off used several ingredients that Hubby doesn’t like — nuts for one. He isn’t fond of having nuts in any cookie or dip I make. So, I tweaked the recipe a bit and came up with the following:
White Cheddar Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 1/2 Cups Shredded Sharp White Cheddar Cheese (I used Cracker Barrel)
- 1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Butter Softened
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 1/4 tsp. Pepper
- 1 Cup Flour
- Hot Pepper Jelly
- Cream Cheese
- In a food processor, pulse together cheeses and butter until smooth.
- Add egg yolk and pepper. Pulse until blended.
- Add flour to food processor and pulse until dough forms.
- Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
- At this point you can make an indentation in the center of each ball with your thumb if you wish or use a meat tenderizer as I did to press the cookies flat.
- Place cookie tray in fridge for 15 minutes.
- Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool on baking sheet.
- If you want to top, place a small amount of hot pepper jelly in the center of each cookie or a small amount of cream cheese and top with hot pepper jelly.
Hubby loved these cookies with and without the jalapeno jelly. I made the first tray of cookies with thumb indentations and the second pressed flat.
This recipe can be tweaked in many ways. I can’t wait to try them using different cheeses and possibly some cayenne pepper. The white cheddar made the flavor of these cookies very similar to that of a Cheez-It, but the texture was far superior and the flavor more pronounced. A definite keeper for my recipe box.
I’m not as open-minded as I’d like to be when it comes to trying new foods, but I’m getting better. Having Hubby around as a willing guinea pig is a big help in this department, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.