White Cheddar Cranberry Jalapeno Cheese Ball Wreath

December 7, 2018 by Nicole Collins

It's Day 7, and we're more than half way through our 12 Days of Appies challenge!

Today, we're going to get a little artsy. And, that means we get to play with our food!

This is totally unrelated, but have you guys ever played that game, Chubby Bunny? The object is to stuff as many marshmallows in your mouth as possible while still being able to articulate the phrase “chubby bunny”.

This game can really turn in to a hot mess. You've got people drooling all over the place because they've got so many marshmallows in their mouth. And, when they finally reach their breaking point, the discarding of the mouthful of marshmallows is not the most pleasant either. I don't know where I first saw this game. Summer camp, maybe. But, I've played it a few times over the years.

One time when we played, we didn't have marshmallows. So, we used cheese balls. You know, air puffed corn balls coated in a cheesey, powdery dust. That was even more of a mess!

I guess I have cheese balls on the brain, because that's what we're making today. Just not that kind of cheese ball.

Today, we're making a White Cheddar Cranberry Jalapeno Cheese Ball Wreath!

I love this kind of cheese ball, because you can put pretty much whatever flavor you want in it. Cream cheese is such a blank canvas, so all of our flavors really shine in this one.

This one, like pretty much everything else we've been making, is really simple to put together. It's as simple as taking some softened cream cheese, some shredded white cheddar, a little chopped jalapeno, some chopped dried cranberries (or craisins), and pinch of black pepper then beating them together with a hand mixer.

Most cheeseballs get some kind of coating on the outside, but it doesn't necessarily need it to be a good cheese ball. I chose to coat mine in green pistachios to mimic the effects of a wreath. But, if you can't have nuts, don't count yourself out of this recipe! Just skip them and add an extra little pinch of salt to your cream cheese mix. You could coat the cheese ball in some fresh chopped parsley if you still wanted to have the green wreath effect.

I tried to get fancy by molding my cheese ball in to a wreath shape with little craisin berries accents, but that's totally not necessary if you don't feel like breaking out your inner Picasso to make the cream cheese somewhat resemble something holiday like. You can totally stick with the regular round formation if you prefer. There's enough red and green on the inside to show your holiday spirit!

It's going to taste amazing no matter what shape it's in! A little salty, a little sweet, a little spicy...that's pretty much the story of my food life if you haven't already figured that out by now.

Let's take a look at some of the other goodies we've made so far:

Day 1: Holiday Charcuterie Boxes

Day 2: Honey Goat Cheese Tartlettes

Day 3: Chicken and Donut Bites

Day 4: Sweet Chili Meatballs

Day 5: Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Day 6: Baked Brie with Strawberry Jalapeno Sauce and Candied Pretzels

Tomorrow is Saturday, and that seems like a good day to make a sandwich. Sammie Saturday is totally gonna be a thing!

See you then, and let's eat!

White Cheddar Cranberry Jalapeno Cheese Ball Wreath

Serves: 8-10 Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 8 oz blocks cream cheese, softened

  • 2 cups white cheddar cheese, shredded

  • ¾ cup craisins, chopped

  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

  • ½ tsp black pepper

  • 1 ½ cups lightly salted shelled pistachios, chopped

  • crackers, for serving

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, add cream cheese, white cheddar, craisins, jalapeno, and black pepper. Beat with a hand mixer until combined.

  2. To make a wreath, lay a piece of plastic wrap on the table. Place a ramekin wrapped in plastic wrap in the center. Spread chopped pistachios around the ramekin. Using your hands, spread the cream cheese mix around the ramekin to form a wreath shape. Remove the ramekin, and tightly wrap the wreath in plastic wrap. Transfer to a plate, and chill for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Alternately, you can spread the pistachios on the plastic wrap, and form the mix into a ball.

  3. Let the cheese ball wreath come to room temperature before serving. Serve with crackers.

Recipe notes:

*If you can't have nuts, that's ok! This cheese ball is just as delicious without the pistachio coating. Leave them out, and just add a pinch of salt to your cream cheese mix.

*You don't have to make a wreath shape. You can also just go with the standard cheese ball.

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