December 19, 2013

Individual Party Cheese Balls


It's such a busy time of the year for us all, isn't it?  And, in the midst of the Christmas shopping, decorating, baking and planning, most of us are racking our brains for recipe ideas for all of those holiday parties we are hosting or attending.

Here's a great appetizer recipe ... one that I plan on making for New Year's Eve and maybe a couple of other Christmas parties we are attending.

The idea is that each guest can take an individual cheese ball along with some crackers.  It allows everyone to have their very own to use on their own plate and it, also, allows people to take those with ingredients they prefer.

What I love about this idea is that there are so many flavor combination options ... especially when it comes to the coatings on these little, adorable orbs.  I've chosen fresh dill, parsley, crushed red pepper flakes and sesame seeds for these.  But, you could use chopped nuts, other herb combinations, shredded cheese or even chopped dried fruit.  (I did try chopped dried cranberries and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.  Note that they make the cheese balls a lot larger than ones coated in herbs or sesame seeds, for example, so the sizes were not quite the same.)

If you already have a cream-cheese based cheese ball recipe that you love, you can simply use that as your base.  Then, just roll the balls into whatever coatings you like.  You could, also, add in some horseradish, pimentos, dried chipped beef, cooked bacon, cayenne or other ingredients. 

I placed a cute party pick in each cheese ball for easier service.  I, also, find that they make a convenient "spreader" for guests to spread their cheese onto their crackers.

Yields 20 - 24 mini cheese balls.


Ingredients:

2 packages (8-ounces each) cream cheese, softened at room temperature
5 ounces shredded cheese (I prefer sharp)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 - 4 green onions, chopped finely
Fresh parsley, chopped finely
Fresh baby dill, chopped finely
Crushed red pepper flakes
Sesame seeds, slightly toasted and cooled

Directions:

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, shredded cheese, garlic powder and green onions until well-blended.  Refrigerate cream cheese mixture until well-chilled.  Roll into 1-inch balls.  (Using wet hands works well for this task.)

NOTE:  The cream cheese balls can be made 1 - 2 days in advance and stored in your refrigerator in an airtight container until you're ready to coat them shortly before serving.

Roll in the coatings of your choice.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  They can be coated several hours in advance of serving.  Serve with crackers or mini toasts.


Recipe adapted from Kraft





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