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Extreme Garlic Bacon Colby Jack Cheese Ball
Completed Cheese Ball
Rate this cheesball
We have a family gathering this week and I like to put out snack food. It is good to see people munching away while they watch some football and chat over wine or beer. Along with the usual
suspects like the meat and cheese tray, the crudité, various olives and pickles, I like to serve a cheeseball. This particular recipe goes well with crackers or veggies (for those gluten free folks out there). I think it’s especially nice as a filling for celery.
Ingredient PicturesClick thumbnail to view full-size
- 3 Packages Cream Cheese, Any Brand
- 1/2 Pound Bacon, Chopped Fine
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/4 of a Medium Sized Yellow Bell Pepper, Chopped Fine
- 1/4 of a Medium Sized Orange Bell Pepper, Chopped Fine
- 6 Stalks Green Onions, Sliced very fine
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped Fine
- 2/3 Cup Almonds, Sliced
- 1 1/4 Cup Colby and Monterey Jack Cheese, Shredded
Forming the Cheeseball
- Set out cream cheese so that it can soften.
- Cook bacon and set aside so it can cool and drain.
- Use the 2 cloves of garlic and 2 teaspoons of salt to make a fresh garlic salt.
- Chop the bell peppers, parsely, and green onions. Be sure to pat these dry after they are chopped with paper towels do decrease the amount of moisture that will be added to the cheese ball. Chop the bacon. Set aside.
- Once the cream cheese is soft, add the smoked paprika and fresh garlic salt. In a food process or using a hand mixer, blend until smooth and fully incorporated.
- Stir in the peppers, parsley, onions, bacon, and cheese. Mix well.
- For best results, divide the mixture in half. Place each half in the center of a sheet of plastic wrap. Draw the wrap up around the cheeseball mixture and twist the top of the plastic so the wrap is very tight around the mixture. Shape the wrapped mixture into a ball and place in refridgerator for at least 3 hours or until set. I prefer to leave it overnight.
- Once the cheeseballs can hold their shape, roll each one in the sliced almonds. Serve with crackers or veg and enjoy!
|Serving size: 3 Tbsp|
|Calories from Fat||72|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 8 g||12%|
|Saturated fat 4 g||20%|
|Unsaturated fat 4 g|
|Carbohydrates 2 g||1%|
|Sugar 1 g|
|Fiber 1 g||4%|
|Protein 3 g||6%|
|Cholesterol 20 mg||7%|
|Sodium 319 mg||13%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Fresh Garlic Salt
Making Fresh Garlic Salt
I use fresh garlic for this recipe. In order to get raw garlic into a fine enough consistency to lend flavor without being overwhelming I make a fresh garlic salt. Begin by dicing the garlic as fine as you can. Then, cover the garlic with the kosher salt. Use the back, flat side of the knife to drive the salt into the garlic using a motion much like dicing herbs. Just use caution and avoid the sharp part of the blade. Next, use the side of your knife. With the dull side of the knife pointing toward you, exert pressure on the blade with the heel while pulling the knife across the top of the garlic. You really want o grind the garlic across the surface of your cutting board. Repeat these steps until the garlic has been mashed into a paste-like consistency.
The Inevitable Historical Tidbit
Nobody seems really certain about when cheeseballs first made the scene. Cheeseballs using soft cheeses like cream cheese became popular beginning in the 1920s. It is possible these have been around as long as cheese has been around, and cheese has been around a long time. There are over 2,000 varieties of cheese.
Some experts believe that cheese has been around for more than 4,000 years. There is a lot of mythology surrounding the product, including a story about an Arabian Merchant who stored some milk in a pouch before crossing a dessert. It seems to have roots in Asia and then to have traveled to Europe where it was embraced by the Roman Empire which in turn caused it to spread to the known world.
Cheese back in the B.C. included Emmental, and Cantal. One of the first methods of producing cheese included packing curd into a formage (a wooden cylinder) which is probably where the French and Italian words for cheese come from.
Some of these exact dates get a little murky. Cheese timing seems to depend a great deal on who you ask. Gorgonzola first made the scene in 879. Roquefort was developed in 1070, Grana in 1200. There’s some dispute over when Cheddar was created and range from 1180 to the 1500’s. Parmesan was created around 1579, Gouda in 1697. Edam was one of the most popular cheeses among peasants in the middle ages. Stilton was first produced around 1785 and Camembert in 1791. In 1851 the first cheese factory in the United States opened its doors. Blue (Bleu) cheese was developed in 1941 by Iowa State.
The base for this recipe is cream cheese. As with most cheeses its origins are murky. There are written instructions on making cream cheese as early as 1769. Recipes for it also appear in numerous books in the early 1800. The first large scale manufacture of cream cheese began around 1875 when William Lawrence add cream to his Neufchatel cheese after receiving requests for a richer product by a grocery firm. His product became popular with the help of a New York distributor who began selling it under a brand name you are probably familiar with, Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Lawrence’s Empire Cheese Factor was later sold to Alvah Reynolds and then to the Phenix Cheese Co which finally merged with Kraft in 1928.
Today there are over 2,000 varieties of cheese to choose from. To say nothing of the varieties and amendments you can find within the individual varieties like dilled Havarti and blueberry aged white cheddar. As for cheeseballs, I have seen both sweet and savory selections. The possibilities are endless.
Raise a Cracker
There seems to be a trend where certain foodies (who shall remain unnamed here, but you know who you are) snub the cheeseball as a gummy middle class gastrointestinal mediocrity. I disagree with those foodies and say that if it is packed with fresh ingredients and has well balanced flavors, dig in! I can think of few other appetizers that offer the creator such an endless parade of diversity in flavor and ingredients. What other appetizer can you adapt to make it so much your own? I raise a cracker to the sometimes misaligned cheeseball because it can be tasty and it has sustained us through Christmases and Football games innumerable. I hope you enjoy my take on this model of gathering goodness.