Pepper Jack is the spicy version of Monterey Jack cheese, a semi-soft cheese that originated in California. It relies mostly on jalapeno peppers for the mild spicy flavor, which works beautifully with its’ creamy texture. This made the cheese a good ingredient to start with, when creating the following baked cheese balls.
To add other levels of spiciness and flavors to the balls, I added a bit of spicy Creole seasoning mix, along with stone ground mustard, to the dough.
As I was also looking for a crumbly texture, I decided to use mayonnaise instead of butter in the dough, and also added some coarse yellow cornmeal, oatmeal and semolina to it.
To give the balls a bit of fresh, herbal flavor, I added some chopped scallions, and a bit of Green Goddess seasoning mix.
Chilling the dough helped blend all these ingredients and flavors nicely together. Rolling the dough into small balls, and baking them in fairly high temperatures, created a texture that was crumbly and crispy at the same time.
These dangerously addictive tasty morsels are perfect for serving with beer, hard drinks, or any other cold drinks. Try them and enjoy.
* Trader Joe’s Green Goddess seasoning is a mix of dried herbs, garlic and lemon oil. If you can’t find it, substitute with any other dried herbal seasoning mix.
Makes: about 60
Prep time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours, and up to overnight
Baking time: 15 minutes
8 oz (226 grams) Pepper Jack cheese
1½ cups flour
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
¼ cup quick oatmeal
¼ cup semolina
2 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
1-2 tsp Creole seasoning (I used Tony’s Chachere’s Original)
1 tsp Trader Joe’s Green Goddess seasoning (see notes)
2 tsp baking powder
½ cup chopped scallions
1 L egg, whisked
¾ cup mayonnaise (I used Duke’s)
1 Tbs stone ground mustard
- Cut the cheese into small cubes, and place in the food processor bowl, fitted with the metal blade. Add ¼ cup of the flour, and process until coarsely chopped. Transfer into a large bowl.
- Add the flour, cornmeal, oatmeal, semolina, salt, pepper, seasoning mixes and baking powder, and mix well.
- Add the scallions, egg, mayonnaise and mustard, and knead to form dough. Wrap in wax paper, and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours (and up to overnight). Take out of the fridge about 15 minutes before preparing to bake.
- Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Line two sheet pans with baking paper.
- Taking a small amount at a time, (the dough is fairly crumbly), press it hard in your palm, and form a small ball, a bit larger than cherry tomato. Place on the baking paper, and repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, until the balls are golden-brown. Carefully transfer to paper towels, to absorb excess oil. The balls will harden and crisp once cooled. Best served warm, or at room temperature.