I have been seeing these adorable cheese balls all over the internet for the past three years. Every year, I say I am going to attempt at least the Christmas Tree Cheese Ball, but then I forget. This year I tackled it and guess what? I LOVE it. Everyone loves it!
Evidently, there is a book out there that not only shares great cheese ball recipes but they also show you how to make them. Since I do not have the book, I winged it. I have been making a few different cheese balls as well as cheese logs during the past couple holidays, so I had a basic idea of what to do.
We had some friends with kids over for dinner last week, I wanted this cheese “tree” to be not only cute but kid-friendly with regards to flavor, so I use cheddar cheese as the main seasoning. To make the texture more creamy, I threw in some beloved homemade mascarpone I had on hand. You can use store-bought mascarpone, it will be just as good. Fresh herbs are really what make this cheese ball, and you can be as creative as you like. I kept it mild by using sage with pairs great with cheddar, and thyme because I like the freshness. Parsley is the forgotten herb that is also crisp and fresh, as well it makes the tree so bright and festive.
Surprise not only the little ones at your holiday table this year but also the big kids with this whimsical appetizer. This is sure to be a huge hit.
Christmas Tree Cheese Ball
** makes two medium-sized trees or three smaller ones
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces mascarpone store-bought or homemade
5 ounces Kerrygold white cheddar, grated
large handfuls of Italian parsley, sage, and thyme, washed and dried well
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
pomegranate seeds for garnish
lemon peel to make a star for garnish
Place the cream cheese and mascarpone into a food processor. Whirl together until well mixed.
Add the cheddar cheese, process until mixed.
Scoop into a medium-sized mixing bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Finely chop the mixed herbs.
Remove from the refrigerator and shape into trees. Sort of egg-shaped with a pointed top.
Evenly cover the cheese tree with herbs. Place pomegranate seeds on the tree as ornaments.
Return the cheese trees to the refrigerator until 30 minutes before serving.
Before serving add a lemon peel star.