Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bacon Cheddar Cheese Ball

Big fan of those almond-crusted processed cheeze balls/logs that show up during the holidays?  Don't worry, I won't tell.  I like them too (except the wine-flavored ones).  But if you're looking for a more "natural" version you can make any time of the year, you've come to the right place.  That's can have cheese balls any time of the year!

Bacon Cheddar Cheese Ball
Adapted from Cook's Country Dec./Jan. 2011

8 oz. grated extra sharp cheddar cheese**
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbl. mayonnaise
1 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce
A few shakes of Hickory Liquid Smoke
A pinch of garlic powder (about 1/8 tsp.)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled--for inside 
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled--for the coating

**You can grate this by hand or use a food processor, but try to avoid using pre-shredded cheddar cheese.  The powder they add to keep the shreds from sticking together will affect the texture of the cheese ball.

Combine grated cheddar, cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until mixture is smooth and combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.  Add 4 slices of the crumbled bacon and pulse briefly to combine.  Give it a quick stir with a rubber spatula, then turn the mixture out onto a large piece of plastic wrap.  Wrap up the cheese mixture, shaping it into a rough ball shape.  Place the wrapped cheese ball into a small round bowl and refrigerate for 3 hours.  (The round bowl is optional, but useful for helping to maintain the cheese ball's roundness). 

Once the cheese ball is firm, roll it around a bit on the counter to further shape it into a smooth ball if necessary.  Unwrap and roll in 8 slices of crumbled bacon to coat the outside.  Allow cheese ball to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.


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