My first post in months! I’m very sorry for the hiatus but I have been writing my doctoral dissertation. Yesterday I successfully defended and became a doctor. So now you’re reading Arden’s World, PhD!
Part of defending a PhD is giving a presentation and answering questions from a thesis committee. Following that, there is a reception with food and drink. Being from South Carolina, any sort of reception with snacks should involve a cheese ball, or as they say down there, cheese baawwwwllll. They are normally served on a seasonally themed dish with a matching miniature knife with a decorative handle (e.g. a tiny Christmas tree handle).
A cheese ball is a blend of cheeses, normally cream cheese, cheddar and blue, a few spices, mixed together, rolled into a ball and covered with pecans and parsley. Where I grew up, cheese balls were a BIG DEAL. People had guarded, secret family recipes that others tried to get by going behind backs to ask distant relatives or maids. Thankfully, my Dad has the ability to taste just about any dish and be able to recreate it so we never had to steal a secret family recipe.
My Dad’s recipe is simple yet incredibly tasty. Cream cheese, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, hot sauce and lemon. We make cheese balls making using a stand mixer because it’s much quicker but you could do it by hand, too. I would recommend letting the cream cheese come to room temperature first if you’re mixing by hand. Add all the cheeses and spices together, mix it up and then roll it into a ball. Then roll the ball on a mix of chopped pecans and parsley. It’s as easy as that.
Carolina Cheese Ball
Time: 15 minutes
Serves: Many for a party
8oz. package of cream cheese, cut into cubes
8oz. block of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4oz. block of blue cheese (I recommend not using pre-crumbled)
~1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 – 1 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you want it spicy)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 dashes Crystal hot sauce (or other Louisiana hot sauce, not Tabasco)
Juice of half a lemon
~1/2 cup chopped pecans
~2 tsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
Combine the cheeses, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, hot sauce and the juice of half a lemon in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until well blended. Taste and add more spices if desired. Scrape down the sides to ensure the mix is fully blended. Form the mixture into a ball with your hands. Spread the pecans and parsley onto a bowl. Roll the cheese ball around the plate until covered.
To store, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. You can also freeze it and save for later. Serve with some good crackers.