Cheddar and Ranch Cheese Ball

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Happy Halloween! As I promised yesterday, here is the recipe for the BRAINS!! If you’re still looking for an appetizer to take to a Halloween party tonight why not give this a try? It’s super simple, tasty, and will impress/gross out all of your friends! This would also be good for non-Halloween events, just skip the brain shaping and roll into a ball and then in sliced almonds instead!

Cheddar and Ranch Cheese Ball

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups shredder cheddar cheese (I used a mix of sharp, mild, and Vermont white)
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (optional, I skipped)
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (1 ounce) package Ranch-style dressing mix (Hidden Valley brand)
1 cup sliced almonds (Obviously omit if you’re making the brain)
2-3 drops of black food coloring, if you want a grayish hue
3-4 drops red gel food coloring, for “blood”

Directions
Add the cheese to the bowl of food processor*. Pulse a few times for 3 seconds each. Add the cream cheese and Ranch seasoning packet and process until smooth.

To make the brain, remove half of the mixture and form an egg shaped ball, place on a plate. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, or a ziploc bag with the corner cut, with the remainder of the mixture. Starting in the middle of the formed ball pipe a straight line length wise to the edge of the egg shape. When you reach the edge start zigzagging your way back to the middle. Repeat on the 3 parts of the egg shape. I used the picture below as a model when I piped. If you have a lot left, try piping a second layer directly over top.

Place the brain in the refrigerator for about an hour. Before serving spread red food coloring on a knife and stick it cheese ball. Serve with crackers. (The left overs were also really good spread on a bagel!)

*If you don’t have a food processor this can also be done in a bowl with just a spoon (or a hand held mixer), but the food processor does make it extra smooth for piping.

Adapted from What’s Cookin, Chicago?


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