I’m sure that many people consider cheeseballs “old school” or “retro.” I’d agree that they’re probably both of those things. But really, I think they’re a holiday tradition. Along with sugar cookies and homemade Chex mix, it’s just not Christmas without a cheeseball. My grandma had been in charge of holiday cheeseballs for years, until she announced last year that it would be her last year making them. She handed out her recipes for them and called it quits.
I mean, I really don’t blame her. When I’m grandma-aged, I’m probably not going to be cooking anything around the holidays. I’ll let other people cook for me while I sip sherry or something. I don’t even know what sherry is. It just sounds like something an old lady would drink, right?
If I wanted a cheeseball, it was up to me to make it myself this year. Rather than one big cheeseball, I decided to make a bunch of little ones. For a nice balance of flavor, I would recommend choosing one salty ingredient (like prosciutto), one sweet ingredient (like dried figs), and a fresh herb (like chives). You’ll also need cream cheese and some kind of shredded cheese (like Gouda). A nutty coating on the outside of the cheeseball bites is optional, but you’ll probably want mini pretzel sticks for easy serving and eating.
The great thing about this recipe is how you can completely adapt it to suit your own tastes and use ingredients already in your kitchen. Don’t want to spend the money on prosciutto? Just use regular ham. Not a big fan of figs? Try dried dates or dried cherries. Can’t find Gouda? Use Swiss cheese instead. However you choose to make them, enjoy these little bites of cheesy goodness!
Time to get your cheese on! Join me for a United Dairy Industry of Michigan Twitter party tomorrow (Wednesday, December 17) at 8 p.m. EST (use #PairMICheese) to learn how to pair your favorite cheeses with wine, craft beer and other foods and earn a chance to win a fabulous cheese pairing package. Click here to see UDIM’s mouthwatering Cheese Pairing Guide that will help you make your next holiday gathering something special.
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded
- 3 ounces prosciutto, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup finely chopped dried figs
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
- 24 pretzel sticks
- In large bowl, use electric mixer to beat cream cheese, Gouda, prosciutto, figs and chives until well combined. Roll mixture into 24 tablespoon-size balls. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.
- If desired, place walnuts on small plate and roll cheese balls in walnuts; pressing so nuts adhere to cheese balls. Immediately before serving, skewer each cheese ball with a pretzel stick.
The folks at Milk Means More made a fun little video of this recipe! Check it out here:
Disclosure: This post is part of an ongoing relationship I have with The United Dairy Industry of Michigan for recipe development. Posts like this help me pay for the costs associated with this blog (groceries…lots of groceries), and help support me as I pursue a career in recipe development and food photography. All opinions are 100% my own.