If you're reading this, you probably already know what a cheese ball is. And if you don't, take a guess and you'll probably be right.
Most cheese balls are... pretty cheesy, and I don't mean that literally: they're weirdly textured, they're made from processed cheese that probably couldn't legally be called 'cheese' outside of the United States, and they're an unpleasant shade of orange - an often forgotten but too infrequently lost relic of the 1970s.
But what if cheese balls were good? What if they used a thoughtful blend of fancy cheeses with appropriately matched nuts and berries?
I dreamed a dream of a cheese ball that would fit in better at a high-end restaurant than in a party tray at your grandma's church. And then I made it, and now I'm going to share it with you.
- 5 ounces high quality blue cheese
- 7 ounces English cheddar
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
- ¼ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- ¾ cup chopped walnut pieces
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, finely chopped
In a heavy bottom pan, melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter over medium heat. Add walnuts and flaky sea salt - stir together. Cook walnuts over medium heat for 2-5 minutes or until fragrant and visibly toasted. Remove contents of pan to a plate with a paper towel and allow to cool completely.
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or large bowl with a wooden spoon, combine blue cheese, English cheddar, cream cheese, and Worcestershire. Mix on low until well combined. Next, add chopped chives, cranberry pieces, and crushed red pepper flakes - mix on low until ingredients are evenly distributed.
On a large plate, add and mix together parsley and cooled toasted walnuts. Using a wooden spoon begin pushing together the cheese mixture into a ball. Once slightly formed, use your hands to continue shaping your cheese ball. When cheese is in a desired shape, gently roll the ball over the chopped parsley and toasted walnuts until the outside of the cheeseball is completely covered. Serve cheeseball at room temperature with crackers and fig jam or a stone fruit chutney. Best consumed with in 3 days.