Pumpkin-Shaped Cheese Ball

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I have made a cheese ball for every party I’ve ever hosted, and this year is no different. They are usually a pretty big hit, but I don’t mind leftovers because it makes a great snack for the next day when I’m cleaning up after the party.

In the past, the cheese balls I made were mostly cream cheese with a little bit of shredded cheddar and parm and a few herbs. This year, however, I used goat cheese as the primary “binder,” with only 1 block of (reduced fat) cream cheese. I also included 8 ounces of nice sharp white cheddar (to preserve the mostly white look I was going for) and 8 ounces of regular yellow sharp cheddar. So, you can say that my cheese ball has gotten a little more classy. That’s what she said….?

To make one cheese ball (approx 15 appetizer servings), you will need:

  • 11 ounces of goat cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pound of sharp cheddar cheese (any combo of yellow or white), shredded (I used a food processor)
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried chives (fresh would be better, if you have them)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 braided pretzel (for stem)
  • 1 parsley sprig (for leaf)

Cheese, glorious cheese! Asiago would be really good, as would fontina. Really, you could use just about any cheese as long as you use at least 10 ounces or so of a soft cheese to hold everything together.

Normally, I grate cheese with my Microplane, but since I had so much to grate today, I used my food chopper/processor. If you do choose to use a food processor, do it with pulses; else, the cheese will ball up and be hard to work with.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients until thoroughly mixed. I used my stand mixer, because it did a lot of the work for me, but in the end I wound up working the cheese “dough” by hand anyway to finish it up.

Just dump it out onto a clean work surface and shape it into a ball, or, if it’s the fall of the year, a pumpkin!

I used a wooden skewer to help shape the ridges in the sides of the pumpkin. I just did the rest of the sculpting by hand. The “stem” is half of a braided pretzel, and the “leaf” is a sprig of parsley.

Tip: The flavor is best after it has been refrigerated for a few hours.

Make-ahead note: This cheese ball can be made up to a day in advance, wrapped well with Saran wrap, and stored in the refrigerator.

Enjoy! 😀

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