Holiday Cheese Ball Recipes

Sweet Lemon Cheese Log
2 packages (8 oz ea) low-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemonade powder
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
mint leaf, chopped candied fruit, optional garnish
cut fruit, crackers, cookies, toast rounds

Beat together softened cream cheese, sugar and lemonade powder until smooth. Spoon cheese in a row on a plate draped with a sheet of plastic wrap; lightly wrap plastic over top of cheese and refrigerate until cheese is firm enough to shape (2-3 hours). Shape cheese into a log (if needed, chill until completely firm). Place graham cracker crumbs on a plate; remove cheese log from plastic and roll in graham cracker crumbs. Place on serving plate, garnish with mint leaves and chopped candied fruit. Serve with sliced fruit, cookies, toasted bread and crackers of choice.

Cream Cheese Chocolate Peanut Butter Ball
2 cups mini milk chocolate chips*
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
apple slices

*Mini chocolate chips works best, but if unavailable chop chips and set aside. Beat together softened cream cheese, sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter. Spoon mixture into a bowl lined with plastic wrap. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to shape (2-4 hours). Form cheese into a smooth ball; roll ball in chocolate chips, pressing chips into sides and top of ball. Cover and refrigerate until firm. Serve with slices of apple.

Tomato Bacon Cheese Log
1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1/3 cup chopped cooked bacon
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded Mozzarella, Colby, or Monterey Jack cheese (8 oz)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup finely snipped fresh parsley
toast, baguette slices, crackers, vegetables

Drain tomatoes well and finely chop; finely chop cooked bacon. Combine tomatoes, bacon, softened cream cheese, shredded cheese and garlic powder; mix until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to shape. Shape into a log and roll in snipped fresh parsley. Chill until ready to serve. Serve with crackers, toast, bread slices, vegetables.

Cream Cheese Pepper Jelly Christmas Tree
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 packages (8 oz ea) cream cheese, softened
4 cups shredded Cheddar, Colby, or Gouda cheese (16 oz)
2 drops red pepper sauce
1 clove crushed garlic
2 tablespoons chopped basil (bottled, fresh)
4 ounces ‘whipped’ cream cheese, softened
olive, carrot, rosemary for garnish decoration
crackers, sliced baguette, pretzels and vegetables for serving

Melt butter in medium skillet, add finely chopped onion and sauté over medium heat until onion is caramelized or golden. Cool completely. Mix together, until well blended, onion, cream cheese, shredded cheese, pepper sauce, garlic, and basil. Divide into three parts, cover and chill until firm enough to shape (3-4 hours). Combine 2 parts and roll into a ball for the body; roll remaining part for head and place on top body. Frost snowman with whipped cream cheese. Make eyes and buttons from chopped olives; cut nose from piece of carrot; create scarf using a thin fresh carrot peel; place pretzel sticks for arms, and rosemary sprig for crown. Serve with crackers, toast, pretzels, vegetables.

Blue Cheese Spinach Ball
1 package (10 oz) chopped frozen spinach, thawed
2 packages (8 oz ea) cream cheese, softened
6 ounces Blue cheese, crumbled
1 clove garlic, finely crushed
sliced almonds
toast rounds, crackers, vegetables

Thaw spinach and drain well (squeeze out excess moisture). Add softened cream cheese, crumbled Blue cheese and finely crushed garlic; mix well. Cover and refrigerate until cheese is firm enough to shape into a ball. Shape into ball and roll in sliced almonds. To serve, allow to warm to room temperature, serve with toast rounds, crackers and vegetables.

Ranch Cheese Ball Kabobs
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1-3 teaspoons dry Ranch-style dressing mix, to taste
1 cup finely chopped pecans
pretzel sticks
grape tomatoes

Mix together until well blended softened cream cheese, Cheddar cheese and dressing mix. Drop by tablespoonful on plastic wrap covered plate or tray. Refrigerate until firm enough to handle. Shape each cheese drop into a ball; roll in chopped pecans, pressing pecans onto surface of cheese ball as needed. Insert pretzel stick in top of each ball. Refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve place olive and grape tomato to each pretzel/cheese stick.

5 Cheese Ball Tips:

1. Limit ingredients. The more cheese varieties used or added ingredients, the more likely the flavor of the cheese will be hide.

2. Choose flavorful cheese. Some pre-shredded or cheap cheese lack flavor, and the delicate flavor of some pricy artisanal cheese will be hid. Use artisanal cheese as a stand alone cheese tray. Most mid-range price cheese in grocery store will work just fine.

3. Chill cheese balls to blend flavors (overnight is good). Cheese balls can generally be made from 3-4 days to 2 weeks ahead of time for convenience. (use shorter storage time if fresh ingredients are used – i.e.
chopped onions, olives, etc)

4. Roll in nuts close to serving time. If nuts are used, roll cheese balls in the nuts just before serving (or as close to serving as possible) to avoid nuts become soggy – the longer the nuts sit on the cheese ball the more they absorb moisture from the cheese and become soggy.

5. Make smaller cheese balls – after guests dig in the cheese ball tends to look like a messy train wreck. Smaller cheese balls will allow a continual fresh look to the appetizer table. Plus, the larger the cheese ball the longer it will sit around, look dried out, and allow nuts to become soggy.

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