Cheddar-Olive Shortbread Balls

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Shortbread and balls are the culinary keywords of the season, no?

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It’s the morning after (OK, afternoon after) our annual Polyester & Cheese Christmas party, wherein friends wear polyester and bring something cheesy, and our dining room table is so weighed down with cheese by the end of the night (as are we) that the next morning all you can do is come downstairs in your PJs, make some coffee and keep going. Polyester & Cheese is the official kick-off to the season of nibbling party food leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner (if you haven’t had warmed mince tarts for breakfast yet, I highly recommend it) straight through until Boxing Day.

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Last weekend my friend Elizabeth had their family Christmas party, a retro extravaganza not unlike ours, with cheese balls and pink peppermint pie and vintage Pyrex. She served these warm balls of cheddar shortbread, wrapped around an olive and baked, and Mike ate at least six. (I did too.)

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I texted her the next day for the recipe. She texted back: Mix 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 1/4 cups flour, 2 cups grated cheddar, wrap around an olive, chill for an hour then bake for 20 minutes.

So there you go. I love recipes like this.

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The dough can be made in approximately three minutes, and the wrapped olives can chill for an hour or five, and be at the ready for that time when you expect guests to arrive at the door, at which point you can slide them into the oven to bake and have something warm and wonderful smelling (who needs potpourri or smelly candles you can’t eat?) and easy to eat that everyone seems to love, and that tastes just as good once they cool down. (Note: the olives stay hot for longer than their shortbread jackets do; and make sure you don’t buy olives with pits – emergency dental work can put a damper on any Christmas party.)

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Cheddar-Olive Shortbread Balls

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25 comments on “Cheddar-Olive Shortbread Balls

  1. Brenda
    December 15, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Hi Julie – love your 12 days of recipes…well, all of your recipes. I have question unrelated to this post though and hope you don’t mind…I’ve been making your Rosemary, Raisin & Pecan Crisps from your Grazing cookbook and was wondering how you slice the loaf so thin that you get 8 doz. crackers from the recipe. I do chill until very cold..almost frozen, then use an electric knife…any other tips? Everyone love, love, loves these crisps and thanks again.

  2. vanillasugarblog
    December 15, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    these are so sinfully good with a nice cold martini!
    not that I would know this or anything!

  3. Carolyn
    December 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Maybe a stupid question, but in your pictures it looks like the olives are stuffed with cheese, too?

  4. Cathy
    December 15, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Those were freaking delicious! I was going to text YOU for the recipe, but here it is 😉

  5. Misty
    December 15, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Regardless of the fact that I am not an olive fan, these were delicious!

  6. Emily @ Life on Food
    December 15, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    My husband would love these. What a surprise for him when he bites in and finds an olive.

  7. CathyH
    December 15, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Oh my, it MUST make these!!

  8. CathyH
    December 15, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    That would be I must make these.

  9. Laurie from Richmond
    December 15, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    I hate olive, the green ones the worst. Yuck ptttooii
    Is there anything else that could be stuffed with cheese and put inside the dough?
    It looks so good, but the olives gaaaahhh ruin it
    But I can’t think of anything that would replace them

  10. Julie
    December 15, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Laurie – try making them with dates! I bet that would be FAB!

    Carolyn – yes, some were stuffed with feta! I put some text over one of the photos, but should have mentioned it somewhere too! Either would work.

    Brenda – I was just thinking about those crackers! If you freeze the loaves and then thaw them slightly, it’s easier to slice them super thin. Use a sharp serrated knife, too!

  11. Stephanie
    December 16, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Do you think these would travel well in a tin from BC to Alberta via Greyhound? It’s the cheese not being refrigerated that makes me ask.


  12. erin
    December 16, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but I read this post first thing this morning (like, pre-shower, pre-coffee) and thought “meh”. I’ve now just sat down with a nice after-work, after kid-hockey cocktail and saw this again and thought “OH MY GOD I HAVE TO MAKE THESE RIGHT NOW!!!!”

  13. Laurie from Richmond
    December 16, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks, Julie, I’ll try it 🙂

  14. Carol S-B
    December 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    All this and freezable, too? Oh, wow. Must. Make.

  15. Afzal
    April 14, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Cheddar-Olive Shortbread Balls, is more yummy and sweet……….

  16. Zansol
    March 13, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Its very tasty, but make it at home (with your own taste).

  17. Lindsay
    December 18, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    How far ahead can I prepare these (before popping them into the oven)? Or can I prepare the dough earlier, then wrap and bake? Trying to get as much done ahead of time as I can! Thanks so much!

    • Julie
      December 19, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      For sure! Although once chilled, the dough may be a bit more difficult to handle – but it should work just fine!

  18. Have a BBQ tomorrow and going to try this tonight! I made cheese shortbread (which I plan to share on my blog) previously but they weren’t amazing to be honest haha so hopefully the olive addition adds some zing to the dish! 🙂

  19. Lovely
    November 9, 2018 at 5:01 am

    This Cheddar-Olive Shortbread Balls looks soooo yummy and delicious! Great post 🙂 x
    It’s never too late for Cheddar-Olive Shortbread Balls. 😉 One of my favorite flavors!!

  20. Digital Marketing Agency
    February 15, 2019 at 2:52 am

    Looks very yummy, thanks for the recipe as well, will going to try it for sure.

  21. Pak Web Idea
    February 4, 2020 at 5:16 am

    Those were very freaking delicious!

  22. Ngoc Nguyen
    April 20, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks for your article!
    Keep writing

  23. Maria Tran
    May 13, 2020 at 11:00 pm

    Exciting article!
    I love this food so much

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