It’s been a long time since I thought about the bright orange cheeseball of my youth, ubiquitous on every holiday table alongside the Hickory Farms Summer Sausage. Safe to say, I didn’t hold the lowly cheeseball in high esteem.
Recently, as throwback kitsch has become uber hip, the cheeseball has resurfaced. Check out this Turducken of Cheeseballs, a multilayered extravaganza which clocked in at 5 pounds of cheese and other assorted goodies. Then, a few weeks back, the ladies of Cheese & Champagne blog announced the first ever Cheeseball Invitational. It got me thinking, what would happen if I made a cheeseball with fine cheese?
It turned out to be a decidedly fun and tasty test and I must admit, I’m kind of addicted to this experiment and plan to continue the exploration. Cheeeballs are easy, festive and a delicious way to introduce quality cheeses to your menu without breaking the bank. Extra bonus points for the DIY factor, too.
I made several different versions, experimenting with flavors and textures. I found that using the food processor made the process quick and the smooth texture made for easy cutting and spreading. For a chunkier version of this recipe, simply use a fork and mash ingredients together.
Holiday Cheeseball with Goat Cheese* & Bacon
An updated twist on a holiday classic made with quality ingredients and delicious results. This crowd-pleasing recipe is even better the second day when the flavors have had a chance to meld. Roll ‘em smaller for festive single serving size.
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. fresh, local goat cheese
6 oz. aged goat Cheddar, shredded
1-2 tbsp. crème fraiche or sour cream
½ tsp. prepared horseradish, more to taste
4 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 tbsp. green onion, sliced thinly
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
In a medium bowl, soften cream cheese with a fork. Add goat cheese and stir well to combine. Reserve ¼ c. shredded Mt. Mozama Cheddar and add the rest to the cream cheese mixture. Stir to combine. Add horseradish and enough crème fraîche, thinning to desired consistency.** Reserve 2 tbsp. bacon crumbles and add the rest to the cheese mixture along with the green onion. Stir to combine.
On a medium plate, combine the remaining cheese, bacon crumbles and parsley. Scrape cheese mixture to the center of the bowl. Wet your hands and shake off excess water before forming mixture into a large ball, or portion individually for a cheese plate. Roll into the coating mix. Wrap in plastic or wax paper and refrigerate overnight. Serve with gourmet crackers or wedges of red and green bell peppers.
*For this recipe, I used Mount Mozama Goat Cheddar from Rogue Creamery and Ms. Natural plain goat cheese from Cypress Grove Chevre. Don’t worry if you can’t find these specific cheeses, you can substitute any well made, aged cheddar (the sharper the better) and your favorite local goat cheese.
**If you prefer a silky smooth texture use a food processor through this point.