Crowd Pleasing Cheeseballs

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Cheeseballs are always a crowd pleaser, they can be savory or salty and can be served with sweet or salty crackers, as well as vegetables or fruit. Making and serving a cheeseball can also give you a chance to be creative. They can be molded or shaped into a variety of different shapes and topped or rolled in a variety of nuts, spices, and flavorings. Hope you will enjoy some of these
simple cheeseball creations and of course feel free to add your own spin!!!

Classic Cheddar Ranch Cheeseball

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (1 ounce) package of dry ranch dressing, or 2 tablespoons of your own
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, cheeseballs work best if you shred your own, instead of purchasing it already shredded, it tends to combine better
  • ¾ cup cooked chopped bacon
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans

Combine cream cheese, ranch mix, cheddar cheese and bacon.
Divide the cheese mixture in half. Shape each half into a ball, this will make two cheeseballs, or you can combine them and make one large one.
Roll each ball into chopped pecans. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
*One idea is to make a large ball and a small one and turn it into a snowman. Decorate as you
like.
*Sometimes I use a recipe to make several small ones and give as a gift with a small pack of crackers.

Mini Cheeseball Christmas Tree Holiday Platter

(I found this idea last Christmas, but never got to tackle it, it is from the view from great island blog)

For the cheeseballs

1 pound spreadable cheese of your choice, this is an appropriate amount, some examples include, Boursin brand, a cheddar spread, and a couple of other gourmet spreads.

For the toppings

  • Dried herbs like dill, tarragon, thyme or chives
  • Bacon bits or dehydrated onions or garlic
  • Finely crushed snack chips like Fritos, Doritos, and Cheetos
  • Spice blends like everything bagel, and Italian seasoning
  • Dried spices like sumac, paprika, black or pink pepper
  • Finely ground nuts like pistachio, walnut, almond, hazelnut, or pecan
  • Seeds like sesame, poppy, fennel, celery, or anise

To build your tree, begin by scooping tablespoons of various cheese spreads, and rolling into a ball with your hands

Toss each ball in the toppings of your choice, making sure you get the whole ball evenly coated.
Refrigerate until ready to serve and build your tree platter.
To assemble your tree, start at the top of the tree with one cheeseball. Use two balls for the next level, then three and four, etc. as your tree gets wider. Add as many levels as your platter can
accommodate. The tree in the attached picture uses 36 cheese balls. Finish with a “trunk” with a couple of cheese spreaders and herb sprigs along the bottom of the tree. Fill the plate with crackers for serving.

Cranberry Pecan Mini Goat Cheese Balls

  • 10 ounces goat cheese
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons honey, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 ½ cup chopped pecans, divided
  • 1 cup diced dried cranberries
  • ½ cup minced fresh parsley

In a large bowl, beat together the goat cheese, cream cheese, cinnamon and honey until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup pecan chips, folding to combine. Set aside.
Line your countertop with parchment paper. Toss together remaining pecan chips, dried cranberries and parsley in the center of the parchment paper.
Using a large cookie scoop, scoop out one round of cheese filling and toss in the cranberry/pecan
mixture. Continue until all balls have been rolled in coating.
Refrigerate cheeseballs until ready to serve. You can make these up to three days before, just make sure and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
To Serve: Drizzle truffles with honey, if desired. Serve with crackers, warm crostini or as is with a toothpick (or pretzel stick)!

Ornament Shaped Pesto Sun-Dried Tomato Cheese Balls

(Adapted from an idea on the Make With Mara blogsite)
For this recipe you will need a Semi sphere Silicone Mold, if you have a small rounded bowl, you may also use that but it will take longer to mold individually.

  • 8 ounces goat cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup pesto, use purchased or make your own
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained, dried on a paper towel and diced into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • Rolo wrapped candies, one for each ball

In a non-stick skillet, toast pine nuts over medium heat. Heat, shaking the pan and stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula until nuts are fragrant and golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Once golden, remove immediately from heat and transfer to a plate and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and goat cheese with a hand mixer until well combined. Then add cheese mixture to a piping bag, or sandwich bag. Cut the tip off.
Pipe goat cheese into silicone molds. Fill to roughly 1/3 of the mold. Repeat with other cavities.
Slightly wet fingers with water and smooth out the cheese mixture until even. One trick is to spray your hands with non-stick cooking spray.
Add in pesto evenly into the 6 cavities and smooth out evenly using the back of a spoon. Top with sun-dried tomatoes and then toasted pine nuts evenly into the 6 cavities. Press in gently.
Fill the molds to the top with the cheese mixture. Save the remaining cheese mixture in an airtight container in the fridge. Slightly wet fingers with water and smooth out the cheese mixture until even.
Place plastic wrap on top, press slightly, and place in the freezer for 1 hour.
Remove the plastic wrap and place a dollop of the remaining cheese mixture onto 3 of the semi- spheres. Smooth out evenly with an offset spatula or spoon.
Set aside a piece of plastic wrap. Take one semi-sphere with the extra cream cheese mixture and one without and put them together to form a whole sphere. Wrap immediately in plastic wrap
and use your fingers to smooth out where the semi-spheres meet. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
About 15 minutes prior to serving, take out your beautiful ornament cheese balls, unwrap, and place them on your serving tray. Top with a Rolo candy gold wrapped. Serve with crackers of your choice.

Antipasto Cheese Ball Christmas Tree

(This idea came from Café Delites for all good food lovers Blog)

For the Cheese Ball Tree

  • 4 cups cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup red bell peppers, diced
  • ¼ cup dill pickles, finely diced
  • ¼ cup chives, chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

For the Tree Decorations

  • 1 ½ – 2 cups pitted mixed olives, choose a combination of black, green, and
  • Kalamata olives
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped and dried with a paper towel
  • Rosemary leaves/sprigs to decorate
  • Crackers for serving
  • Salami slices for serving
  • Prosciutto slices for serving

In a bowl combine all of the ingredients for the dip and mix until the ingredients are well combined.
Place a piece of non-stick plastic wrap on a clean work top surface. Scoop the cream cheese mixture out onto the plastic wrap, mold cream cheese into a cone or tree shape. A shorter wider tree is more stable than a tall thin one. Refrigerate for one hour to aid in hardening the mold.

Remove from refrigerator and remove plastic. Place directly onto serving surface. Use a spatula to smooth out the surface of the tree.
Decorate the tree by placing the olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and rosemary leaves and sprigs, lightly pressing each element into the cream cheese to ensure they stay on. Brush with some sun-dried tomato oil from the jar, this piece is optional.
Top with a star cut out of a yellow pepper or a slice of cheese. Serve with crackers of your choice, salami and prosciutto slices.