Homemade cheese balls are a real treat. These delicious savory delicacies are wonderful for holiday gatherings, drop in guests or a welcome hostess gift when you visit friends and family.
The simple recipe is easily adaptable to your tastes by mixing up a big batch of the base and adding a wide variety of flavorings to create many variations.
Soapsmith's Cheeseball Recipe
All ingredients should be room temperature. If you have a larger mixer, you can easily double this for a very large batch.
1 8 oz brick of cream cheese
1 stick of butter
24 oz of very sharp soft cheese spread - I use Black Diamond Extra Sharp Cheddar
16 oz of very sharp cheese, grated. I use Black Diamond Platinum Reserve Cheddar. I don't use pre grated cheese, I prefer to grate it fresh for the ultimate flavor.
This recipe is for a sharp, savory flavor profile. You can substitute milder cheeses for the sharp cheddars. More delicate flavors lend themselves to delicious herbed or fruited cheese spreads. Provolone and Parmesan is great for Italian flavored logs like pesto and pine nuts. Fruited cheese spreads do well with cream cheese, butter, mascarpone, a touch of honey and a mild flavored hard cheese rather than the cheddar.
Optional add in ingredients:
Finely chopped black olives and sun dried tomatoes
Variety of dried herbs - dill, basil, oregano, sage, parsley, thyme, I use my own garden herbs that I have dried for preservation.
Seeds, sunflower, poppy, sesame, caraway
Salad dressing mixes - Italian, ranch, taco mix etc.
Hot sauce, Dried red peppers, Cayenne, paprika, cumin, chili powder
Toppings to coat the cheese ball once formed:
chopped nuts - pecans, walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, sliced almonds
dried herbs - your choice
chopped fruit - cherries, raisins, cranberries
Begin with the room temperature butter, cream cheese and cheese spread in the mixer bowl. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the shredded cheese and blend until well mixed.
At this point, you can separate the batch to create different flavors. I usually make some plain. You can add dry flavor/dressing mixes like ranch, taco or Italian.
Add some finely chopped olives and sun dried tomato to the Italian. It is nice to do some with Parmesan cheese and herbs, dill and parsley is a favorite, basil and oregano gives a Mediterranean flair.
For a Mexican flavor, mix in a little cumin, red pepper flakes, chili powder or taco mix.
Simple bacon, pepperoni or ham additives are great for the meat lovers.
Dried fruits work well with milder cheeses, fruit and cheese is a classic.
For easier handling, chill the base for a couple of hours. Then form into shapes, either logs, balls or individual serving sizes - roll in toppings and wrap in plastic wrap.
For a simple gift presentation, place in a crisp cellophane wrap and tie with pretty ribbon or raffia. You can a tie on a fancy spreader for a nice addition. You can be creative and shape the base like a pinecone with layered nuts, Christmas tree or star. For a decorative flair to your buffet table, layer the mixture into a bowl or jello type mold with alternating layers of fresh basil pesto.
I like to pack some into little ceramic crocks for gifting. A wicker basket filled with some cheese spread and homemade crackers, cheese straws, nuts and dried friut make a sumptuous gift for anyone on your gift list. Bring some to your next party with a bottle of wine and your host will be most appreciative. The addition of a couple of decorative spreaders or a serving platter makes an upscale presentation and leaves your friends with a permanent keepsake.
Easy Cheese Straws
2 cups of flour
1 3/4 cups of grated sharp cheese
1/2 cup parmesean cheese
1 1/2 sticks of cold butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayanne pepper - optional
1/2 cup cold water
in food processor, combine all ingredients except water, pulse until mixed and crumbly. Drizzle in cold water pulsing until a stiff dough forms.
Roll out on parchment paper and cut into straw shapes, sprinkle with additional parmesean. Bake at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes until browned.
I hope you give these a try. They are lots of fun to share the experience with the children or grandchildren. The kids enjoy their favorite flavors, shaping and rolling them. Great gift ideas for their teachers, aunts and uncles, grandparents.
Thanks for visiting,
By Guest on 09/02/2013 @ 11:43pmI love cheese and these sound like heaven! Will be making these. Thanks for the recipe!