Make Cheesecakes for Your Holiday Party

Cheeseballs really live up to their name. Not only are they literally a cheese ball, they also have something charmingly banal about them. Like a sticky Christmas sweater, they’re more cool clowns than cool numbers – cute, silly, and adorably modest. They are also infinitely adaptable and insanely easy to make.

The anatomy of a cheese ball is so simple that you don’t even need a recipe. Just like the casseroles in front of them , you can cook almost anything you need in cheeseballs:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (unless you make vegan cheese balls – see below)
  • 1 cup other cheese (or “cheese”) of your choice, grated or crumbled
  • Condiments and flavors, liquid or powder
  • Some kind of shell (nuts, bacon bits, herbs, etc.)

That’s all. Simply add it all to a food processor, beat until smooth, and scrape onto plastic wrap. Use a wrapper to form a ball, completely covering it with plastic, and then place it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours until it hardens. When it’s hard, wrap it in any covering and serve with some crackers or chips.

As for seasoning, the amount that you add, really depends on what you add. For dry seasonings like granulated garlic and onions, start with a teaspoon, taste and add more as needed. For seasoning mixes like tacos, ranches, or whatever, start with a tablespoon. Liquid flavors like Worcestershire sauce, salsa, or even wine can be added a tablespoon at a time, but adding more than four or five tablespoons will make the ball soft and difficult to work with.

If you need help getting started, get some inspiration from my three favorite cheese balls. There is even a vegan one because everyone deserves a cheeseball for the holidays:

  • Cheeseball Bagel: 8 ounces cream cheese + 1 cup chopped hot cheddar + 1 tablespoon cooked horseradish + 1 tablespoon capers + 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel spice coat
  • Vegan Cheeseball: 8 ounces of cultured cashew paste (like NuCulture Garden Herb ) + 1 cup of Cheddar-style Daiya chunks + 2 teaspoons of liquid amino acids or soy sauce Coat with a mixture of 1/4 sunflower seeds, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, and the green portion of one shallot.
  • Taco Cheeseball: 8 ounces cream cheese + 4 ounces chopped hot cheddar + 4 ounces chopped peppers + 3 tablespoons diced canned jalapeno peppers + 2 tablespoons taco seasoning + 2 tablespoons medium salsa Coat with fresh chopped cilantro

Besides savory dishes, cheese balls can take the form of a dessert. Cream cheese can be mixed with Nutella, peanut butter, or cocoa powder blend and coated on just about any candy. Use cookies or Graham crackers for the delivery system; the latter provides a cheesecake-like experience.


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