I haven’t made a cheese ball in years! But when I saw Lisa’s creation over at Homesick Texan, I knew the hiatus was over and this had to be included somewhere in my Holiday Menus. I decided to make this part of my contribution for a Christmas Day Dinner at our friend’s Greg and Cauleen’s. It was an overwhelming hit. The only thing that made it home was a shiny clean plate and spreader.
In true Lisa Fain style, she takes a traditional cheese ball recipe and turns it into a wonderful Southwestern treat. This is not your run of the mill cheese ball. Cream cheese and shredded cheddar, kicked up with diced jalapenos, savory with bits of bacon, spiced with cumin and cilantro and finished with a squeeze of lime and you’ve got yourself a Texas sized winner. You must give it a try.
The only thing I did different was sprinkle the finished product with Aleppo pepper flakes. That’s what you see scattered on the plate in the photos. Aleppo pepper flakes are Mediterranean in origin and bring a moderate heat level with some fruity and mild undertones. Its flavor is similar to the ancho, but oilier and slightly salty. I’m in love with Aleppo these days and seem to sprinkle it on about everything. The only place I can find it is our local spice shop. Savory Spice. If you’ve got a specialty spice shop near you, look for it and give it a try.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch of cayenne
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 jalapeños, stems and seeds removed, diced, divided
- 6 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled, divided (about 6 ounces)
- Salt to taste
- ¼ cup chopped pecans, roasted
- Crackers for serving
- Mix together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cilantro, garlic, cumin, cayenne, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, half of the diced jalapeños and half of the crumbled cooked bacon. Taste and adjust seasonings and add salt.
- Place the roasted pecans and remaining diced jalapeños and bacon on a plate. Stir together so well mixed. With your hands, roll the cheese mixture into a ball, then place on the plate and roll in the jalapeños, bacon and pecans until covered.
- Chill covered for at least an hour before serving. Serve with crackers.
Cream cheese is so perfect for Holiday Appetizers. Why not try this classic standby and one of the most popular posts on my blog:
Jalapeno-Bacon Cheese Ball Recipe…It’s What’s for a Great Pot Luck Appetizer.