This is the second recipe in my Crazy for Cranberry series, and it’s a good way to tie some festive cranberry flavor into an appetizer that’s always a hit: the cheese ball!
I don’t know about you, but I always get pretty excited – probably a little more excited than I should, truth be told – when I go to a party and find a cheese ball included in the spread. (Admit it, your eyes light up too. ;) ) There’s just something about a cheese ball that’s addictive, in a very retro holiday-ish way.
Now, if cheese balls could be classified as holiday food in general, then this one in particular takes the (holiday) cake. Cranberry and rosemary make a lovely festive pairing, not only in the flavor department, but color-wise as well. Sharp white cheddar is a great backdrop here because it stands up to the other bold flavors going on without overwhelming them.
If you’re making this as an appetizer for Thanksgiving, just swipe three tablespoons of the cranberry sauce beforehand to make this and no one will be the wiser. If you’re making it for a holiday party after that, it’s at least a little help in using up some of the leftover cranberry sauce, and to use up more leftover cranberry sauce, you could always double this recipe and either give one cheese ball away or wrap it up for later use (it will keep for up to five days in the fridge). How is that for multi-purposing?
- 8 oz (230 g) regular or low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 8 oz (230 g) sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 3 tablespoons of your favorite prepared cranberry sauce
- 3 tablespoons minced white onion
- 2 tablespoons golden raisins (sultanas), minced
- 1½ teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ cup (40 g) walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- Crackers or sliced bread, for serving
- Use a handheld electric mixer (or a stand mixer) to beat together all ingredients except the walnuts and parsley.
- Roll the cheese mixture into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Toss the walnuts and parsley together in a shallow bowl. Roll the cheese ball in the walnut-parsley mixture and serve, or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days before serving.