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Lifestyles

Holiday cheese ball two ways

Posted December 29, 2016

With New Year’s Eve ahead to finish off the holiday season, coming up with one more appetizer to share can be something of a hassle. However, these quick cheese balls, made on the spot or a few days ahead, are a perfect party food.

The ingredients for these recipes are easily found at any grocery store. The cheese spread comes in 5-ounce glass bottles and is usually be found near the crackers. Lower fat cream cheese is softer by nature and easier to blend, but full fat cream cheese can also be used provided it is well softened.

For the sweet cheese ball, choose a jam or spread with a rich enough flavor that it's not masked by the cream cheese. Dark berry jams are particularly good.

Sweet, savory or both, no matter which cheese ball you choose, you can't go wrong.

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Savory Holiday Cheese Ball

12 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened

2 bottles Old English cheese spread

1 bottle Blue Roka cheese spread

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Cream together cream cheese, cheese spreads, Worcestershire sauce and onion powder until well-combined. Make sure to scrape down the sides of your bowl several times. Fold in cheddar cheese and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes. Divide into two large or three small cheese balls. Roll in chopped nuts (if desired) and wrap in plastic wrap. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.

To serve: Remove cheese ball from plastic wrap and set on a tray. Allow to warm for 10-15 minutes before serving with crackers.

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Sweet Cheese Ball

12 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

8 ounces dark berry jam (raspberry, cranberry, blackberry, etc.)

Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with an electric or stand mixer until fully mixed and fluffy. Fold in berry jam with a spatula and divide into three cheese balls. This makes a fairly soft cheese ball that is too sticky to wrap in plastic wrap but can be easily kept in serving bowls with a cover. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to three days. Serve with graham crackers or vanilla wafer cookies.

Jana Brown is a freelance writer and editor, wife and mother. She is an excellent cook and avid reader, who resolves one day to have a full database of all the books in the house. Catch her at cornabys.wordpress.com or tweet along @Cornabys.

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