Thursday, December 15, 2016

Freezer Cheese Ball -- A Most Favorite

I reserve the last post of the year for a recipe (old or not) that I consider to be one of my favorites.  This one, a cheese ball that can be made in advance and stored in the freezer, is one I have been using since 1989.  Nearly 30 years!  My notes don't say where I originally got the recipe.  It is hand-written in the little green book that I started filling out in 1986, with just my favorite recipes.  (I am pretty sure my daughter covets it!)

Pretty and good to eat.
This cheese ball is simple and easy to make and tasty, too.  The important part is to have the ingredients at room temperature so they are soft.

Freezer Cheese Ball

8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup butter
1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans (almonds are good, too)

And your choice of nuts, when needed.
Allow cheeses and butter to stand at room temperature until soft.

Put cheeses and butter into the food processor or a mixer.  Mix until blended.

Add garlic and beat until creamy.

Cover and chill about 3 hours or until firm enough to shape into balls.  Divide into halves and shape each half into a smooth ball about 3 inches in diameter.

Wrap air tight in plastic wrap, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate or freeze until needed.

When needed, allow to come to room temperature (about 3 to 4 hours).  Roll in 1/3 cup of nuts.  

Serve with crackers.

My Notes


The size of the garlic clove you choose is important.  Remember that mincing or pressing it (and running it through the food processor!) makes the garlic flavor more intense, so you need to decide how much you want the garlic to stand out.  If you prefer to taste more of the cheeses, pick a small clove.

This is creamy.
I don't always wait "3 hours or until firm enough to shape into balls."  Sometimes I just put half of the cheese mixture onto plastic wrap and use the wrap to help shape it.  It helps to use two spoons to scoop the mixture, so one spoon can be pushed against the other to remove the soft cheese.

Shaped but not yet chilled.
It is important to let the ball sit for a few hours at least before serving so the flavors blend and develop.  I like it better the next day.

As mentioned in the ingredients list, pecans and almonds are both good to use.  Sometimes I even use walnuts.  You can use toasted or raw nuts.  Just make sure the pieces are not too big!

I like to serve it with a little dried parsley sprinkled on the top.  It just looks prettier to my eye.

Wrapped and ready to travel.  
The Verdict

Recently I made a batch for a work potluck and it was well-received.  Of course that was just one ball.  I contemplated freezing the other but we had a dinner that needed a good cheese ball and that was just right.

This recipe is a favorite for a reason.  It is tasty!  It is easy to make!  And you can make it ahead of time to avoid the holiday cooking rush!

It has always been a success.  I haven't tried variations on the cheese flavors because it is so good as it is.  I get the sharpest cheddar I can find.

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