I once saw someone refer to a cheese ball as the Brad Pitt of appetizers: always looks good, everyone likes it, and you’re always glad to see it. Sounds about right, yes? 😀
A cheese ball is quite simple and fun to make (certainly easier than getting Brad Pitt to your party) and easy to customize to individual tastes. This particular recipe is a product of combining my recipe cards with my mother’s.
Cheese ball fun comes from forming it into different shapes. Of course, the classic round ball never goes out of style, but since it’s football season I thought, “Why not a football shape?”
To begin, mix softened cream cheese with a little sour cream and spices. Once this mixture is smooth, add shredded cheese. I did not use pre-shredded cheese for this; but I think using it would work just fine. I happened to have a block of sharp cheddar that needed to be used up, so that sufficed. If sharp isn’t your thing, use medium or mild cheddar.
Once the cheese is incorporated, the mixture needs to be refrigerated for an hour in order to “firm up” in preparation for the ”shaping up.” When it is firm and ready to be shaped, remove the mixture from the bowl and shape it, first with a spatula and then by hand, before rolling in chopped nuts (Note: using wax paper as your work surface really helps with this step).
I took a slight detour for the shaping step. Turns out, I have a plastic container shaped like a football.
I purchased this at the grocery store in the produce section filled with grape tomatoes. Keeping the container for something football-y seemed like good sense.
For this dip, I lined the football shaped mold with plastic wrap and then spooned the dip inside. Once it was full, I covered the mold and placed it in the fridge to set for an hour.
In my case, the mold has done 90+% of the shaping, but finishing touches are still needed. The molded ball is inverted (flat side down) onto a work surface.
Once the plastic wrap is peeled away, the shape is first smoothed out, either with lightly greased hands or a piece of plastic wrap.
Then, chopped nuts are pressed into the surface all the way around, to cover all visible surfaces. At this point I transferred the ball to the serving platter.
The final touch? Laces, made with thin strips of white cheese. Fun!
Serve with your favorite crackers. Feeds enough for all members of Ocean’s Eleven.
- 16 oz cream cheese softened
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- Dash of pepper
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- Place cream cheese, sour cream and spices in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Add cheese and mix in using the mixer.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for one hour.
- Remove from bowl and shape into a ball using a spatula and then lightly greased hands.
- Roll ball in chopped nuts and/or press the nuts into the sides of the ball with your hands.
- Serve with crackers, with a knife to help spread.