We’re going retro on this post and I love it.
The Holiday Cheeseball is a classic, like bacon and dates, shrimp and cocktail sauce, chicken on a stick with peanut satay. They all say “grab a rum and coke and take a deep breath”. They’re not new ways to wow people but rather old favorites that invite everyone to put their hair down and relax, like piano ballads or cult movies. They’re feel good and you have fun with them.
They’re also really easy. I’m convinced these were invented because someone was scrambling to make something for a holiday party and looked in their fridge. The ingredients are what we pretty much have in our bare bones state + still thriving herb pot.
The combo my mom made most frequently growing up involves a stick of butter, a package of cream cheese, gorgonzola and garlic. (Feel free to use less butter if you are offended.) Salt, pepper and Worchester help all those flavors mingle and the result is the most pungent and umami sensation. Creamy and salty with a kick from the garlic and the blue cheese. Use more or less depending on how much you love it.
I recommend either setting out the dairy to become soft, or warming in the microwave (watching carefully) for 30-60 seconds. The hand mixer helps everything distribute evenly but feel free to trust your folding skills with a spatula.
Then chill in the fridge for 30-60 minutes, letting the flavors develop. When it is a little firm, mold it into a ball with plastic wrap and set in the fridge until the butter hardens and it keeps its shape. Then you can roll it in the chopped parsley.
Here are three easy versions of this, but feel free to think about your favorite ingredients and try them out. But the Holiday Cheese ball begs to be a vehicle for different flavor profiles: Olives + nuts, capers + salmon + dill, sundried tomatoes + basil.
They also love to be turned into things – a turkey (with sliced almond), a pumpkin (with shredded carrots). You can even stick some mistletoe in it for some holiday flare. Because we all do weird things at the holidays.
The sky is the limit friends. So I hope this helps you find a super easy way to celebrate.
Happy Eating, xoxo Katie
Holiday Cheese Ball: (printer version here):
Garlic and Gorgonzola Recipe:
1 stick of butter, softened
1 brick of cream cheese, softened (I use ⅓ less fat)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. Worchestershire sauce
¼-½ cup crumbled Gorgonzola
¼ t. Salt
Let butter and cream cheese soften, or carefully soften in microwave being sure not to melt butter. Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix with a hand mixer or very thoroughly with a spatula. Chill for 30 minutes in bowl. Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for another 30 minutes or until firm. Roll in chopped parsley or other favorite herbs.
Bacon and Smoked Gouda Recipe: (I love this one!)
Follow same recipe but instead of blue cheese, garlic, and parsley use:
½ cup shredded smoked gouda
4-6 strips of bacon crumbs
½ cup chopped smoked almonds for rolling the outside (or enough to coat cheese ball)
(You can use parsley if you want it nut free)
Herb Goat Cheese Ball:
Follow same recipe but instead of blue cheese use:
4 oz. goat cheese
½ cup finely chopped red peppers (or ¼ cup red, ¼ green for Christmas)
3 T. each chopped parsley, chives, basil for rolling