We passed on the processed cheese for more flavorful cheddar in our Bacon-Ranch Cheese Balls. To add creaminess and help bind the ingredients, we turned to cream cheese. Incorporating mayonnaise provided additional sticking power for the coating. A few hours in the refrigerator ensured that the cheese balls set up perfectly.
2 cups shredded extra-sharpcheddar cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or fresh dill
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1. COMBINE INGREDIENTS: Process cheddar, cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic, parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, onion powder, and sugar in food processor until smooth.
2. SHAPE CHEESE BALL: Transfer cheese mixture to center of large sheet of plastic wrap and tightly wrap, shaping cheese into rough ball. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. (Cheese ball can be refrigerated for 2 days.)
3. COAT CHEESE BALL: Once cheese ball is firm, reshape as necessary to form smooth ball. Unwrap and roll in bacon to coat. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Serve.
Reprinted with permission from America's Test Kitchen
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