The invitation read, “Last names: A-M hearty appetizer, N-Z dessert.” I sighed, put the invitation on my desk and thought, “Appetizers, again.” With a last name that begins with a letter in the first part of the alphabet, I’m pretty much destined to bring appetizers to every group party I’m ever invited to attend. Although, just once, I’d like to bring a dessert, I’m thankful that my situation has caused me to test and build up a pretty nice collection of appetizer recipes!
This recipe for Cheese Squares comes from my friend Kate, who got the recipe from her mother. Kate recently made these for a pre-wedding bash she hosted for her daughter. Helping Kate in the kitchen that evening was my strategy to be closer to the food – someone had to keep an eye on and sample all of the hot appetizers coming out of the oven! Kate outdid herself, as usual, and all her appetizers were delicious, but this one was a standout. If you like cheddar cheese, butter, and cream cheese, you will like these delicate puffs of bread dipped in a frothy mixture of those sinfully rich ingredients and then baked to a delicious, light golden brown.
1/4 pound Tillamook cheddar cheese, grated
1 cube butter
13 ounces cream cheese
Unsliced loaf of bread, such as Challah or 1-inch thick slices of Texas Toast bread
1. Cut crust off bread and cut into 1-inch cubes.
2. Melt the first three ingredients in a double boiler. Let cool for a bit.
3. Separate egg whites from the yolks. Beat egg whites until stiff and add to slightly cooled cheese-butter mixture.
4. Dip cubes of bread into the egg white-butter-cheese mixture and place on a greased or parchment-covered baking sheet.
5. Refrigerate cubes overnight. Kate has had the best luck when she quick-freezes the squares on a cookie sheet – both if she wants to cook them right away or if she wants to freeze them for future use. If she’s going to freeze them for future use, she makes sure they are completely frozen on the cookie sheet before placing them in a zip-type plastic bag or else they will stick to the inside of the bag.
6. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.
1. Obviously, the better the ingredients, the better the flavor. Buy flavorful bread and good cheese.
2. I made some Cheese Squares several months ago and froze the extra. Surprisingly, when my freezer went out recently and I was forced to bake these, they still tasted good!