When I unveiled this cheese ball at a dinner party a few nights ago, someone commented that it must be holiday time. I guess nothing says "Christmas" like a cheese ball, even though I've been known to make this in the summer because we like it so much. It's simple and delicious, and looks a lot fancier than it really is. This is one recipe that I think I can take full credit for, even though I've experimented by looking at other cheeseball recipes through the years. This has become our standard.
As with many recipes, the possibilities for variations abound. I've found that sharp cheese really does make a difference. But green peppers work just as well as red peppers (although they aren't as festively pretty at Christmas time), and red or yellow onions can easily be substituted for the green onions if you prefer or don't have green onions on hand. And walnuts and pecans work equally well for the nuts on the outside.
Kathy's Cheese Ball
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Combine cheeses, onions, pepper, granulated garlic and Worchestershire sauce in a large bowl. I find it easiest to do this by hand, wearing a latex glove. When all ingredients are thoroughly mixed, shape the mixture into a ball. Place the chopped nuts on a plate and roll the ball in the nuts until all outside surfaces are covered. Refrigerate until about 30 minutes before serving time; then take it out of the fridge so that it will be soft enough to spread. We've found Wheat Thins to be the cracker to serve with a cheese ball because they're sturdy enough to not crack under the pressure of the cheese and also have a great complementary flavor.