In the 80‘s, a cheese ball made with a base of neon orange and purple cheese product seemed like the epitome of sophistication in my childhood imaginings. Unfortunately, the flavor never seemed to live up to the glamor. Now that I am grown and hosting the holidays myself, I realize why a cheese ball was such a popular appetizer choice – they are a breeze to whip up, can be made days in advance and can even be stored well wrapped in the freezer for up to a month. That is my kind of appetizer! We’ve updated this holiday classic with real ingredients and modern seasonings for a delicious and welcome addition to any holiday gathering. If you’re asked to bring something to a party, cheese balls travel well and pair perfectly with our sprouted Way Better Snack Chips. Can’t get easier or more festive than that! A few tips: • Make ahead of time. When made ahead of time the flavors will meld and infuse through the cheese. • Make sure the cheese is at room temperature before starting. If your cheese is cold, the mixture will not meld together evenly. After mixing the mixture will be very soft. Scoop into a bowl lined with plastic wrap or parchment, cover and chill. When the mixture is chilled, it will be firm enough to shape. • Coat with the nut mixture just before serving. When making ahead of time, store the coating separately in a small bag. Roll in the nut mixture when you are ready to serve to ensure the nuts retain their crispy crunch.
Caramelized Onion & Mango Cheese Ball
1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter
1 cup diced onion
8 ounce package softened cream cheese, softened
8 ounce very finely shredded Colby Jack cheese
2 tablespoon mango chutney
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
4 tablespoons toasted chopped pecans
2 tablespoons chopped dried cranberries
In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring often until onions have caramelized. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
In bowl of your mixer and using the whisk attachment, whip softened cream cheese until fluffy. Add shredded cheese. Continue to beat until cheese is very well blended.
To cheese mixture add caramelized onions, mango chutney and sweet chili sauce. If there are large pieces of mango in the chutney you are using, dice mango pieces before adding. Mix well.
Line a bowl with plastic wrap or parchment. Scoop cheese mixture into bowl, cover and chill until firm.
When ready to serve, mix together pecans and cranberries on a plate. Uncover firm cheese mixture and lightly pat into a ball shape. Roll cheese ball in pecan and cranberries until completely coated.
Set cheese ball on platter and serve with and assortment of Way Better Sprouted Snacks.