Never did I think I would say those words. Growing up in a Lebanese family, the words “cheeseball” would maybe refer to the homemade whey and curds that were being separated to make our own fresh braided Syrian cheese. Not literally a ball of cheese and nuts rolled together and served at a party with crackers (usually in 1982). But alas, I live in Cincinnati, and things I never thought I would eat or be accustomed to are now the norm (see: Cincinnati chili and goetta).
So how did this ball come to be? I was in search of Superbowl recipes last week and came across Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe for a Bacon Jalapeno Cheeseball, and something came over me. I HAD TO MAKE THIS CHEESEBALL. I had to. This is kind of like that time I had an overwhelming desire to make a fruit pie. I didn’t try to fight this Southern food swing, I just rolled with it…..in nuts and then served at a party. What?
Bacon Jalapeno Cheeseball
My only callouts on the ingredients are that I used whipped cream cheese rather than regular (It’s a bit lighter in calories; but held up just as well); and I used my favorite: Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon. If you have not tried the magic that is Nueske’s, I urge you to run, not walk to your local purveyor and buy some. It can be tricky to find; so buy online if you have to. I baked the bacon in the oven rather than skillet frying it. Baking versus skillet is my preference; the slices cook evenly and I’m able to drain/blot most of the grease away (perfect for when making bacon crumbles).
After 15 minutes in a 375 oven (with a mid-way flip); I had this.
After you’re done drooling over your bacon, you mix up the other ingredients in a large bowl (reserving some of the bacon and jalapeno).
Stir the cheese mix well, you don’t want someone to get just a mouthful of jalapeno (as my friend Keri did last night, whoops, sorry girl!) Once everything is well combined, you roll all this magic into one round ball. Then you take the remaining bacon and jalapeno bits, mix them with pecans and spread the nut mix on a flat plate.
After an hour, you’ll have this to enjoy.
The cheeseball was a hit at last night’s Superbowl festivities. It was the perfect savory, spicy, cheesy, crunchy blend and I’m glad I tried it. 1982, you knew what you were doing with balls (TWSS).
For the full recipe, check out Brown Eyed Baker!