I don't know about y'all but I love a good cheeseball. I mean, cheese. In a ball. Need I say more? What's not to love? Cheese and crackers are a simple treat we all love. If I see a cheeseball on any food spread, I am heading straight to it. With this recipe, I knew I wanted to create a pumpkin shaped cheeseball for all those fall festivities but I didn't necessarily want pumpkin flavor. I wanted a true cheeseball.
So I headed to Wal-Mart and walked around for a bit looking for some flava inspiration. As soon as I spotted the new Hidden Valley Ranch Spicy Ranch Mix, the recipe began to take shape in my mind. So, I came home, whipped it all up, popped it in the fridge and waited. Keeping my fingers crossed that it actually tasted as good as I was hoping.
The next day, my son and I were going to a painting workshop fundraiser. We were all asked to bring in some snacks for everyone to share. Little did those folks know, I was bringing in my pumpkin cheeseball for them to be my guinea pigs. I started setting it all up and I immediately had folks over to look at it and actually taking pictures.
It really turned out so cute! I was so happy with it. They liked it even before I added the stem on top. My son said he had to take a picture of it for me so I would remember what I made. Hee Hee. So here's the photo he took.
Then later, after the workshop, I had several people come up and ask for the recipe. It was then I knew I had a winning recipe to share with y'all. That is always the best compliment when someone wants the recipe! Looking cute is nice and all but I wanted to make sure the taste was on point. Kinda like beauty, right? It's nice to look cute but it's your inside beauty that really matters.
Below is the picture that Jess from the Art Center took of the cheeseball before we even got started painting. A whole box of doughnuts laying open and untouched and there was my little cheeseball - already half eaten. Love it!
Oh and here I am with my painting from that day. We painted barns and mine actually ended up looking like a barn. Ha! Wonders never cease. And after this, we headed BACK up to Wal-Mart to get some more ingredients so I could make this cheeseball again to share with y'all. And maybe because I wanted more to eat.
You don't even have to form it into a pumpkin shape. The taste alone will make it a hit at your next gathering. What I love most is being able to make it ahead of time. You can get it all prepped and ready to go, wrap it in Glad ClingWrap, pop it in the fridge and the next day, you are all ready. The only thing you have to do is set it out with some crackers. Boom! And who doesn't love easy - especially around the holidays!
But I'm going to show you how easy this really is. Some Glad ClingWrap and a few rubber bands and you turn this cheeseball into a great pumpkin!
1 (8oz.) block cream cheese, softened to room temp.
1 (8 oz.) tub vegetable cream cheese
2 tbsp. Hidden Valley Ranch Spicy Ranch mix
3 green onions, diced
1 red pepper, finely diced (save the stem)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided use*
Finely chop your red pepper and green onion. You want small pieces, not big chunks.
Be sure to save the stem of the red pepper. It's going to be our pumpkin stem! I just wrap the stem up in a slightly dampened paper towel and wrap that up in some Glad ClingWrap and put it in the fridge until I'm ready for it.
Using an electric or stand mixer, combine both cream cheeses.
Then stir in 2 tablespoons of Hidden Valley Ranch Spicy Ranch mix. Note: This was not spicy in this cheeseball at all. It just gave it a small kick of flavor. You can always use the Hidden Valley Original Ranch flavor for this!
Then gently stir in green onion and red pepper.
I love the orange-ish color the Spicy Ranch Mix and red pepper adds to the mixture.
Finally, stir in one cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
Spread out a large sheet of Glad ClingWrap. Sprinkle about a 1/4 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese onto the plastic wrap.
Then top with cheeseball mixture.
Take the rest of the shredded cheddar cheese and sprinkle it onto the tops and sides of the cheese ball.
Now wrap it up well with the Glad ClingWrap. I do two layers of cling wrap. It needs to be well-wrapped and wrapped tightly.
Now, time to wrap it up with rubber bands. You can also use kitchen string for this. You will need 4 large rubber bands. This is why it's important to have a tightly wrapped cheeseball with two layers. We don't want any cheeseball mix squeezing out while we're putting on the rubber bands. (Ask me how I know.) With these rubber bands, I had to double wrap each one to get those long indentations we're looking for to make the pumpkin shape. You can also use kitchen twine for this if that makes it easier for you.
Place cheeseball into the fridge for a minimum of two hours (overnight is best.) Not only do the flavors get better as it sits, but as the mixture cools, it will help it to form that pumpkin shape.
When ready, cut off the rubber bands and carefully remove the cling wrap. Then add on the red pepper stem to the top. Just gently push it in there. Serve with your favorite buttery crackers.
Got leftovers? No problem. Just pop your leftover cheeseball into a tall and large Glad entree container and you'll have it ready to snack on for later!
Cook's Note: I like to use freshly grated cheddar cheese for this. It is stickier than the pre-shredded kind and that helps when forming the cheeseball.