turducken of cheese balls
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The mid-century design theme is currently taking over our offices, homes, and television sets. Our nostalgic craving for the swinging decades of yesterday moves from aesthetics and programming to cuisine with a throwback recipe beloved as much for its simplicity as for its flavor. The cheese ball is making a comeback and for good reason. This no-fuss appetizer is easy to make, can be prepared well ahead of time, has variations aplenty, and it’s likely to be the first thing to disappear at your next holiday party.

How to make a cheese ball:

1. Bring a cup of soft cheese such as cream cheese, goat cheese, quark, or mascarpone to room temperature. Once soft, stir it in a bowl with a wooden spoon until it’s slightly fluffy.

2. For additional flavor and texture, add a cup of shredded cheese such as Parmesan, Manchego, or Asiago. Stir until combined.

3. Stir in additional ingredients such as spices, dried fruit, fried bacon bits, sliced scallions, or herbs such as chives, parsley, or shredded basil. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

5. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a work surface and roll the cheese into a ball.

6. On another sheet of parchment, scatter toppings such as toasted and chopped nuts, herbs, bacon bits, or whatever else your taste buds desire. Roll the cheese ball through the toppings until it is uniformly coated.

7. Refrigerate again until chilled.

To serve, place the ball at the center of a decorative serving plate and scatter crackers or vegetables such as sliced carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, or celery around it.

LUNAR Stainless Steel Cheese Knife Set, 6 for $27.87 on Amazon

Serve your cheese ball with the right knife to make spreading it easier.
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Invent your own delicious combinations, or try one of these recipes.

Bacon Cheddar Cheese Ball

bacon cheese ball

Chocolate Moosey

This recipe is so simple it’s hard to believe how tempting it is. No one will be able to resist this delectable flavor bomb of cheddar, crunchy bacon, and garlic made even better with the addition of salty, buttery crackers. Get the Bacon Cheddar Cheese Ball recipe.

Salmon Cheese Ball

salmon cheese ball

Sweet and Savory by Shinee

This is a lovely recipe to kick off a holiday brunch party and it proves that even cheese balls can be elegant. Lemon and capers keep it bright while slivered almonds dress it up and add texture. Keep it simple and swap out the liquid smoke for smoked salmon and don’t shy away from the horseradish; it adds just the right amount of zing. Get the Salmon Cheese Ball recipe.

The Turducken of Cheese Balls

best cheese ball (the turducken of cheese balls)

Chowhound

What could be better than one cheese ball? Multiple cheese balls, of course. We constructed a surprisingly delicious (and massive) version with several cheesy layers all nested within one another for a showstopping party centerpiece. Get our Turducken of Cheese Balls recipe.

Pumpkin Cheese Ball

pumpkin cheese ball

Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen

If you’re looking for something completely unique for your next cheese ball creation then this is the recipe for you. It’s ideal for this season of merrymaking with its beguiling alchemy of pumpkin, maple syrup, pecans, and thyme. Serve it as a breakfast waffle topping or swap out pie for dessert and replace it with this unexpected finale of earthy sweetness. Get the Pumpkin Cheese Ball recipe.

Bacon Ranch Chicken Cheese Ball

chicken bacon ranch cheese ball

Wildflour’s Kitchen

This cheese ball recipe has it all with bacon and chicken both coming to the party and ranch dip seasoning mixed in to make your next holiday shindig come alive. It’s absolutely addictive and sure to be the first appetizer to disappear. Get the Bacon Ranch Chicken Cheese Ball recipe.

Hawaiian Cheese Ball

Hawaiian cheese ball

The Girl Who Ate Everything

Bring the taste of the tropics to your next holiday party with this festive cheese ball recipe that includes pineapple, pecans, and green and red bell peppers to infuse the day with a convivial seasonal spirit. Get the Hawaiian Cheese Ball recipe.

Turtle Cheese Ball

chocolate turtle dessert cheese ball

Shugary Sweets

You might need to make two of these cheese balls; one for you and one for your guests. It’s that good and a guaranteed runaway dessert hit. It’s also completely decadent with its brown sugar, butter, mini chocolate chips, and caramel sauce but ‘tis the season for indulgence and extravagance. Get the Turtle Cheese Ball recipe.

Related Video: How to Make a Christmas Owl Cheese Ball

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Jody Eddy is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. She has cooked at Jean Georges, The Fat Duck, and Tabla and is the former editor of Art Culinaire Magazine. Her most recent cookbook was "Cuba! Recipes and Stories From a Cuban Kitchen", published by Ten Speed Press. Her cookbook "North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland" was published by Ten Speed Press in 2014 and won the 2015 IACP Judge's Choice Award. She is the author of the James Beard nominated cookbook "Come In, We're Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World's Best Restaurants" and her upcoming book for Ten Speed, "The Hygge Life", will be published in November, 2017. She is writing a cookbook for W.W. Norton profiling the cuisine and food traditions of monasteries, temples, mosques and synagogues around the world which will be published in 2019 and a cookbook with the Food Network chef Maneet Chauhan profiling the cuisine of India via an epic train journey throughout the country. She writes for Travel+Leisure, Saveur, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, Plate, and VICE, among others. She is the author of JodyEddy.com, leads culinary trend tours for food and beverage corporations in Iceland, Peru, Mexico, Ireland and Cuba and is the Vice President of Marketing, Partnerships and Events at Hop Springs, an 85 acre agritourism destination opening in Nashville in May, 2018.
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