I know it was just recently I posted a cheeseball recipe. And frankly I didn’t think that post would get much of a response as I thought cheese balls were a thing of the past when it comes to party appetizers. Boy was I wrong. That post was quite popular.
So when we had the first meeting of our book group in my condo community I thought what a great time to experiment with another type of cheese ball. This time with a little salted caramel flare. And once again it was a huge hit!
My renewed love of cheese balls stems from the fact that it’s one heck of an easy way to bring a great appetizer to an event. Mostly it’s just mixing everything together, chilling and serving. Plus cheese balls are so portable you can easily bring them anywhere.
So let’s talk salted caramel cheese balls…
Lesson Learned 1 – This cheese ball can be an appetizer or dessert: You have a great combination of sweet and savory going on with this cheese ball. The combination of the tartness of the apples and cinnamon, along with the savory of the sharp cheddar cheese and the sweetness of the caramel sauce all meld into a killer combo making this cheeseball more versatile than most.
Lesson Learned 2 – Leave the skin on the apple and dice it into small pieces: I always love when recipes state “dice the apple into 1/4 inch pieces. Do people really expect cooks to stand with a ruler measuring the size of the pieces they cut up? (ok, I’ll admit it I’ve done it in the past but no more)… The key here is to keep the pieces slightly smaller than bite size. Trust your instincts. You want the apple pieces to blend in and not overpower the look and taste of the cheese ball.
Also only use a granny smith apple for this recipe. The granny smith apple has that wonderful tartness that compliments the savory cheddar cheese and sweet caramel sauce. Now if you have another apple on hand do you need to run out to the grocery store to get a granny smith? No. But believe me when I say the best flavor combination is achieved when you use a granny smith apple in this recipe.
Lesson Learned 3 – As with any cheese ball, the longer you chill it and let the flavors combine the better: I like this cheese ball because you can chill it for only a short time and it’s still wonderfully flavorful. But if you have the time, letting the cheese ball flavors marry overnight is always preferable but not altogether necessary.
The holidays are fast approaching and if you’re thinking of entertaining this recipe is flavorful, impressive looking and a guaranteed hit! It will make a wonderful addition to your holiday table. Try it and tell me what you think!
Salted Caramel Cheese Ball...
2 – 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup salted caramel sauce, plus approx. 1/8 cup caramel for drizzle
1 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 medium granny smith apple, chopped (leave the peal on)
2 cups pecan pieces
Crackers for serving
Shred the cheddar cheese and set aside. Remove the core from the apple and dice into small pieces, leaving the peal on. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, using a hand mixer, mix together the softened cream cheese, caramel sauce, lemon juice, salt and cinnamon. By hand, fold in the cheddar cheese and apple. Place on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a ball. Place in the freezer and chill for 1/2 hour.
Place the pecan pieces on a large plate. Remove the cheeseball from the plastic wrap and roll it in the pecans until the ball is completely covered. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.
Drizzle the caramel sauce on the cheese ball right before serving.