Tomorrow is Cheese Ball Day!

By Dianne Ruyack

Cheese Ball Day is always April 17th! Some people might get confused as to what kind of cheese ball I am talking about?

The word cheese ball can actually refer to two very different foods. The first type of cheese balls are the dairy Cheese Balls. I always thought they were for holidays!   But no, National Cheese Ball Day opens up a whole new world for having cheese balls.  The second type is an orange, marble-sized snack that turn your fingers orange.

Both types of cheese balls are delicious, however they’re very different types of snacks. The bright orange cheese balls are more of a snack food and are very popular with kids. The cheese ball that you serve at an elegant party is typically made with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, nuts, salt, pepper, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce and can be served with vegetables and crackers. Fancier cheeseballs can also be made with bleu cheese, olives, pineapple, sherry, or smoked salmon!

Did you know that on July 20, 1801, Elisha Brown Jr. pressed a 1,235-pound cheese ball at his farm? He presented it to President Thomas Jefferson at the White House!

In general, cheese supplies a great deal of calcium, protein, phosphorus and fat. A 30-gram (1.1 oz) serving of Cheddar cheese contains about 7 grams (0.25 oz) of protein and 200 milligrams of calcium. Nutritionally, cheese is essentially concentrated milk: it takes about 200 grams (7.1 oz) of milk to provide that much protein, and 150 grams (5.3 oz) to equal the calcium.

Cheese is often avoided by those who are lactose intolerant, but ripened cheeses like Cheddar contain only about 5% of the lactose found in whole milk, and aged cheeses contain almost none.

What’s so special about them? Well, there’s not much to them but they all seem to start out by softening the cream cheese by letting it sit outside of your fridge for a short time and then mix it up with some flavorful ingredients.

You can go two directions with this… you can choose to have a nice sweet tasting cheese (almost like a cheesecake) or you can go with a savory cheese (like a dip). It’s all up to you! If you want it to be like a dessert then go with the sweet, but if you want people have it as a side dish or a dip then go with savory.

Then you just let the mixture firm back up in your fridge for an hour or two before you roll it up into a ball. The last step is to roll it in a crunchy coating that compliments the internal flavor.

Here are 2 of my favorite cheese ball recipes so enjoy cheese balls all year round, especially in April!

 

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • Graham crackers

Directions

  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add sugars; beat just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Place cream cheese mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap; shape into a ball. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Just before serving, roll cheese ball in pecans. Serve with graham crackers. Yield: 1 cheese ball (about 2 cups).

 

Ranch Cheese Ball

Ingredients

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (1 ounce) package Ranch-style dressing mix
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 4 pecan halves

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, and dressing mix. Form into one large ball or two smaller balls. Roll in chopped pecans to coat surface. Decorate the top with pecan halves. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

 

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