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Best cheese balls

December 10, 2008

Best cheese balls



1 cup neufchatel cheese, softened
1/2 cup goat cheese, softened
6 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced horseradish or horseradish mayonnaise
3/4 cup walnut halves

1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the neufchatel and goat cheeses and 4 tablespoons of the butter. Use a rubber spatula to mix until well combined. Mix in the cheddar, garlic and horseradish. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

While the mixture chills, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. In a small bowl, combine the butter and walnut halves, toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle in the salt and cumin, then toss again.

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Spread the walnuts over the prepared baking sheet and toast for 7 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and aromatic. Remove the nuts from the oven and transfer to a plate to cool.

When the nuts are cool, use a knife to finely chop them. The pieces should be small but not pulverized.

In a wide, shallow bowl or baking pan, mix together the chopped walnuts and parsley.

Once the cheese has chilled, put on latex gloves and use a measuring spoon or scoop to form 1-tablespoon balls. Gently roll the balls between your hands to smooth, then roll each through the nut and parsley mixture. Arrange on a serving platter.

Makes 20 to 25 cheese balls

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