This is a recipe I've made a couple of times because it is a cool vehicle for one of my favorite things in the world - hot pepper jelly. Every late summer / early fall, I make hot pepper jelly. It's just stupidly good and easy to make and to tweak as you go along, so rather than serving the hot pepper jelly and cream cheese with crackers, I use this recipe, especially for the holidays. I call mine hot pepper jelly as opposed to jalapeno jelly since I tend to use a combination of Tabasco and cayenne peppers with usually a jalapeno or two thrown in.
Cheddar-Hot Pepper Jelly Thumbprints
Yield: about 40
6 oz sharp or extra sharp white cheddar
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (2 oz)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg yolk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg white
1 Tbs water
1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped
1/3 - 1/2 cup hot pepper jelly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In food processor, mix cheese and butter until well combined. Add youk and 1/4 tsp black pepper and process until combined. Add flour, pulse several times until a dough forms, set aside. In a small bowl combine egg white and water. Place pecans in a shallow dish. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Roll balls in egg white, then in pecans. Place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Use your thumb to dent the center. Bake 15 minutes or until the cookies are lightly brown in color. Press any puffed center down with a spoon. Transfer to a rack and cool. Just before serving, place a small bit of jelly in the centre of the thumbprints.
Bench notes: Unfilled cookies can be store in the fridge for three days and in the freezer for three months (just don't forget they are there). I made them the first time for Thanksgiving 2005.