Cheese balls are, to me, a very holidayish food. I've never made one before, but this past week I had a few occasions for which I needed to make an appetizer and a dessert. I experimented with both a savory and a sweet version and both turned out very well if I do say so myself! I didn't take pictures of either of them, but thought I'd share the recipes in case you happen to be in need of some new ideas this season.
Tammy's Tempting Cheese Ball
1 (1 ounce) package dry ranch salad dressing mix
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
5 ounces roasted, salted almonds, chopped (I omitted)
If you want to see the actual directions, click on the link above. I didn't follow them. I am lazy, so I just threw everything into my food processor at once rather than mixing particular ingredients together and whatnot. It turned out nice and evenly mixed, so I'd recommend going that route if you have a food processor. This made quite a large batch, so I separated it into two balls and wrapped each in saran wrap. I made this the night before it was needed so the flavors had more time to blend and so the balls could set up properly. As noted, I did not roll the balls in chopped almonds. I do not like almonds, so I wasn't going to taint perfectly good cheese with some icky nuts. And I didn't miss them, nor did my friends who came over last night. We had the whole ball eaten in about 10 minutes flat. :-) I served these with Wheat Thins and Triscuits, but any cracker would do. Or even vegetable sticks I suppose, though I would never.
Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans (omitted)
Again, I just threw all the ingredients (except the chocolate chips) into my food processor to mix everything up. Then I just stirred the chocolate chips in by hand. As with the savory cheese ball, I spooned it onto plastic wrap, shaped it into a ball, and allowed to chill overnight. Mine was a little softer than I think it should have been, I think because when "softening" the butter in the microwave I got carried away and partially melted it. If I wasn't so lazy, I would have added a little more powdered sugar to firm it up, but I didn't care enough to bother. I did not roll my ball in pecans as the recipe suggests because, again, that would have ruined the recipe for me. I served this with those holiday cookies that Keebler comes out with this time of year - the gingerbread men and those Jingles cookies - but graham crackers, chocolate wafers, or whatever other kind of cookie you like would be just fine.