My youngest daughter adores cheese but dislikes the nutty coating on the outside of the cheeseballs you find in stores. So, instead of scraping off the nutty coating, I decided to figure out how to make them myself. It was surprisingly easy and I learned that you can vary the end result tremendously based on spice and cheese choices used.
It only takes about 5 minutes of actual hands-on time in the kitchen to create a custom cheeseball. It will always be perfect because it has been made with your tastes in mind. The fact that these are much cheaper to make than those bland shrink-wrapped things they sell during the holidays is just a bonus.
Step 1: Gathering Your Ingredients
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. (or 1/2 cup) shredded cheese, whichever variety you prefer
Herbs, spices, etc. of your choice
(optional) 2 Tbsp. finely chopped nuts of your choice or minced fresh herbs of your
choice to use as coating
Step 2: Getting Started
Warm in the microwave 30 sec. or so until the cream cheese is soft and warm.
Step 3: Giving It Flavor
I like to make mine using
1/2 teas garlic powder
1/2 teas onion powder
1 teas dried parsley
1/4 teas liquid smoke
Step 4: Cheesing It Up
Consider what cheese flavors might compliment your seasonings. For example: if you are putting in chopped jalepenos and other spicy flavors, try using Montery Jack. For an herb-packed cheeseball, try a Havarti. There are so many cheeses in the world, the possibilities are endless.
Step 5: Bringing It Together
If the cheese has melted and the whole cheesy mass has achieved a fairly uniform color and smooth texture, you are done. If not, microwave for another 20 seconds and stir. Repeat until the cheeses are well-combined.
Set aside to cool (or pop into the refrigerator for a bit).
Step 6: Final Touches
(Optional) When satisfied with the shape, roll in nuts or herbs, if desired. My family prefers their cheeseballs without a coating.
Step 7: Finishing Up
When you are going to use your cheeseball, take it out of the refrigerator to soften for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Serve with crackers or veggies.