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What to take to a Holiday Party: Snowman Cheese Ball

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Wondering what you can make to go to one of your holiday parties that’s fast, easy, and will be the star of the buffet table? This snowman cheese ball is the perfect thing. It’s flavored with almond basil pesto and Italian cheeses. It’s not only cute, but also delicious. I first learned about this snowman several years ago from my sister-in-law, and have been making it every Christmas since. She had made a snowman cheese ball, but one that lays down on a platter to a family event. We all thought it was just about the cutest thing ever.  I can’t believe before this cute little snowman we ate pre-packaged cheese balls, it seems so long ago now.  Over the years, I have experimented with different flavors and started making my snowman sitting upright in two cheese balls, instead of 3 cheese balls laying on a platter. You could also make this snowman with Mexican shredded cheeses and chopped chipotle peppers, or blue cheese, Monterrey jack cheese and crisp smoky bacon.

Snowman Cheese Ball Recipe

Ingredients

3 – 8 oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups Italian blend shredded cheese
3 teaspoons almond basil pesto, recipe follows
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Almond Basil Pesto

A handful of fresh basil
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 clove garlic
2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Decoration

nose – carrot
eyes and buttons – raisins
crown – rosemary, or you could do a hat with stacked crackers
arms – asparagus, green onions or pretzels
on crown – cranberries
scarf – green onion (I used 2 pieces attached in the back with toothpicks and held on with a cocktail toothpick in the front), carrot or radish shaving
mouth – red pepper or currants
optional – add a corn pipe, a chunk of baby corn on the end of a toothpick

Method

1. Make pesto first in the food processor by adding basil, almonds, garlic, salt and pepper to processor. Pulse until chopped. Turn processor on and stream in olive oil until pesto is movable.

2. Add cream cheese and pesto to a large bowl. Use a hand mixer to blend the pesto through the cream cheese. Add shredded cheese and use hands to incorporate. Divide the cheese into 1/3 for the head and 2/3 for the body. Make into a ball in your hands. Roll in grated Parmesan and place on platter. Refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.

2. Decorate snowman with carrot, asparagus, raisins, cranberries, green onion, red pepper, and rosemary.

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