I recall as a child getting so excited whenever we were having a party or went to a gathering at someone’s home and they would have a cheeseball. There truly was something magical about these to me – they were like savory cakes to me. I am working on a wedding feature spread and am offering up some neat ideas for do-it-yourself appetizers – why not the proverbial cheeseball in miniature? Super easy, and you can even serve these with a cracker or just pop them in your mouth – either way, they are delicious. My grocer has a shredded cheddar mix, so it has four different types of cheddar together which I think makes it more interesting – you can easily use whatever type of cheddar you prefer. There is a little bit of a method to my madness in how I make these and this definitely a recipe that benefits from using a food processor and hand mixer (you can easily use a countertop mixer as well).
1 8 oz. package Archer Farms shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. dried cherries
4 slices Archer Farms bacon, cooked & rough crumbled
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp. coarse, ground pepper
In the large bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade attachment put in the chopped pecans and process until the pieces are all roughly 1/4″ in size (this does not have to be exact, just a guide). Put nuts into bowl, set aside. I do the pecans first as then the next addition will clean up the oils from the nuts.
Then add the cherries, cheese and bacon and process until 1/4″ in size as well. Pour into a mixing bowl and add cream cheese, butter, salt and pepper. Using a hand-mixer or a stand mixer, mix ingredients until well-combined. Using a spook, scoop out rough, tablespoon-sized amounts onto a piece of parchment paper – you should get around 30-36. Then roll them each one into a ball in the palms of your hands, placing it into the bowl of chopped pecans, rolling it in there and then rolling it around in your palms again to adhere the nuts to the surface.
Place in a covered container in the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.