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Holiday Cheese Balls

Quick, easy, delicious showstoppers to kick off a holiday feast!


Holiday Cheese Balls

For the past several years, cheese balls have been a part of the ILOC Thanksgiving feast. The whole family looks forward to these beauties before the turkey. The flavor combinations and types of cheeses used can vary, but cream cheese is the most important part of the base. From there choose what you like and make it your own. The recipes that follow are just a few ideas to get you started.


Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; measuring cups and spoons; food processor; rubber spatula; box grater; small sauté pan; spoon; plastic wrap; twine; shallow bowl

Port Wine Pumpkin Ingredients: 12-16 ounces port wine cheese spread 2/3 cup ground walnuts

stem from a gourd or bell pepper (for the stem)


1. Place two tears of plastic wrap one on top of the other overlapping to form a cross. Place the port wine cheddar in the center of the plastic. Gather the plastic around the cheese and seal. Shape with your hands to form a ball.


2. Place the ball in the freezer for one hour - or for several hours in the refrigerator - to set enough to handle without the plastic wrap.


3. Place the ground walnuts in a shallow bowl. Remove the cheese ball from the freezer and roll in the nuts until completely covered.


4. Place the coated cheese ball in a new tear of plastic and seal. Using four 8-inch pieces of twine, tie each piece of twine around the cheese ball, one perpendicular to the next so that eight equal, sections appear. Once the knots are tied, trim any excess twine with scissors.


5. Return the cheese ball to the refrigerator until ready to serve. For service, unwrap the cheese ball, discard the plastic, and top the cheese ball with a stem from a gourd or a bell pepper.


Sage-Chèvre Ball Ingredients: 2 tablespoons salted butter ½ cup chopped pecans

8 large sage leaves, plus additional small sage leaves for garnish

8 ounces cream cheese

4 ounces chèvre

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

pinch of kosher salt

pomegranate arils for garnish


1. Place butter in a small sauté pan and set over medium heat. Once the butter melts and foams add the nuts and 8 large sage leaves and sauté for 30-60 seconds until the sage leaves crisp.


2. Place the cream cheese and chèvre in a food processor and pour in the contents of the sauté pan. Add in the salt and and pulse until well combined.


ILOC tip: it's best to pulse the mixture in the food processor as opposed to blending it without interruption to keep the texture more interesting. Each bite should showcase the contrast between the smooth cheese and flecks of nuts.

3. Place two tears of plastic wrap one on top of the other overlapping to form a cross. Place the cheese mixture in the center of the plastic. Gather the plastic around the cheese and seal. Shape with your hands to form a ball.


4. Place the ball in the freezer for one hour - or for several hours in the refrigerator - to set enough to handle without the plastic wrap.


5. Remove the cheese ball from the freezer and unwrap. Before service, garnish with the pomegranate arils and small sage leaves.



Horseradish-Cheddar Ball Ingredients:

8 ounces cream cheese

1½ cups freshly grated cheddar cheese 1-2 tablespoons grated horseradish

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

kosher salt


1. Place the cream cheese and grated cheddar in a food processor. Add in the horseradish, thyme leaves, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and salt. Pulse until well combined.


2. Place two tears of plastic wrap one on top of the other overlapping to form a cross. Place the cheese mixture in the center of the plastic. Gather the plastic around the cheese and seal. Shape with your hands to form a ball.


3. Place the ball in the freezer for one hour - or for several hours in the refrigerator - to set enough to handle without the plastic wrap.


4. Remove the cheese ball from the freezer and unwrap. Serve garnished with our without thyme leaves.






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