Cheese Balls were a favorite appetizer back in the 1970’s when I was a kid. I remember my mother putting together a mixture of cheeses in a round shape and rolling them in chopped nuts. I don’t think the cheese ball ever went out of style, especially around holiday time. There’s nothing better than to start a party with a fun shaped cheesy sphere with a nice cocktail or glass of wine.
In this recipe, I use a fresh red jalapeno with chopped chives to give the cheese ball a kick of heat and a bit more flavor. Freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, along with cream cheese makes a great smooth texture and creamy flavor. I shaped this cheese ball into a pumpkin for a fun festive look during the fall season. This recipe is super simple to put together and serves dozens of people — great for a Thanksgiving crowd.
1 red jalapeno
3 scallions or a bunch of fresh chives
2 – 8 ounces packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese
pretzel rod, optional
(Serves 10-20 people)
1. Dice the jalapeno finely, including the seeds. Thinly slice the green part of the scallions or chives.
2. In a food processor, add the packages of cream cheese and puree until smooth, about 1 minute.
3. Add the diced jalapeno and chives to the cream cheese mixture.
4. Grate the cheddar cheese and add it to the cream cheese mixture.
5. Puree the mixture until mostly smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove the cheese ball mixture from the food processor and place in a bowl. Shape the cheese mixture into ball form and chill at least 3 hours.
6. Remove the cheese ball from the bowl and shape into a pumpkin using the handle of a large wooden spoon, place a pretzel rod down the center. You can leave the cheese ball in round form too! Enjoy!