In an effort to spice up our entertaining efforts, we dipped into our arsenal to rethink the kitschy--yet lovable--party staple: the cheese ball. We combined cream cheese, sharp cheddar and just a bit of blue, but you can substitute any combination of mild and sharp cheeses. Finely chopped pickled peppadew peppers pack a pimento cheese-style twang and a hint of festive color. Pair with water crackers and cross one more item from your party to-do list. For even more cheese ball action, click here to view a step-by-step cheese ball-making video from Tasting Table and our television partner, Plum TV.
Pickled Pepper Cheese BallRecipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: Serves 12
Cook Time: 5 minutes (plus 2 hours for chilling)
8-ounce package of cream cheese, at room temperature
1½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup crumbled mild blue cheese (such as Maytag Blue)
¾ cup finely chopped pickled peppers (such as peppadew peppers)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups walnuts
Crackers for serving (water crackers)
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, use a rubber spatula to stir together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, pickled peppers, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
2. Scrape the cheese mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and use the plastic wrap to help shape it into a ball with your hands. Refrigerate the cheese ball for at least 2 hours (or overnight).
3. Place the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Toast until lightly browned and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the walnuts to a large cutting board.
4. Once the walnuts are cooled, finely chop them. Remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator, unwrap it and then gently roll it in the nuts until the entire surface is covered. Serve with crackers.
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