Nancy's CHEESE BALLS
(Mixing in food processor is definitely a plus!. Grate cheese finely, remove it, add other ingredients, mix, then add cheese back in. Mix until it forms a big, pastry-like ball.)
½ pound grated cheddar (preferably Kraft's extra sharp)
1 stick softened butter
1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
red cayenne pepper (to taste)
Mix butter, flour, salt and pepper as if making pie crust dough. Then, mix in grated cheese.
Form balls, about the size of a walnut. Chill the balls in the freezer about two hours (or store in the freezer until use.)
Place frozen balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven (450°F.) for about 10 minutes. Watch carefully. Some ovens may need to be set as low as 400°F.
A slightly different version--
To make about 3 dozen
8 tablespoons butter (1 quarter-pound stick), softened
½ pound Cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
¾ cup sifted flour
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon powdered mustard
Cream the butter by beating it against the sides of a bowl with a wooden spoon until it is light and fluffy. Then beat in the cheese. Still beating, add the flour, ¼ cup at a time, then the salt, cayenne and mustard. (The entire process may be done more easily in an electric mixer equipped with a pastry-arm attachment.) In either case, the mixture should be dense enough to be formed into a compact ball. If it is too soft to hold together, beat in additional flour by the tablespoonful, testing the dough for density after each addition.
On a lightly floured surface, shape the ball into a sausage-like roll about 10 inches long and 1¼-inches wide, wrap it in wax paper and refrigerate for at least an hour, until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
With a sharp, thin knife, carefully slice the chilled dough into ¼-inch rounds and arrange them ½-inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pennies are firm and golden brown. Watch carefully; they burn easily. Transfer them with a metal spatula to a rack to cool.
The cheese pennies may be served at once at room temperature, or stored in freezer.
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