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When we lived in Kansas, we hosted a small dinner party for my husband’s law school friends. One of our guests brought this giant apple-shaped cheese ball appetizer and I thought it was the cutest thing ever. At first, I had no idea what it was. Once I took a bite, I was sold. The idea of anything edible shaped like another edible food seemed too cute not to try for myself. I decided to create these mini apple-shaped cheese ball appetizers because I thought they would pair well with wine and also be a perfect bite-sized snack to serve at my next get-together.
At first, I wasn’t sure this appetizer would turn out. I was concerned the cheese would be too sticky and wouldn’t mold very easily into an apple shape. However, I came up with two ways to ensure the cheese didn’t stick too much. First, I refrigerated the cheese in between each step to ensure it was fairly firm. Second, I sprayed cooking spray on my hands which helped the cheese not to stick. I was going to use water, but water makes the cheese all slimy. Luckily, the cooking spray worked like a charm.
To create these mini apple-shaped cheese ball appetizers, you only need a few ingredients. The cheese mix is just cheddar and cream cheese with a few seasonings. I rolled them in paprika for the red color and topped them with half of a pretzel stick and a small oregano leave to mimic the look of an apple. Also, I used the mini scooper to get the same size balls. I then used my fingers to mold them a little bit at the top and bottom to resemble an apple. Not all of them looked the same, but that was OK by me. Apples are not all uniform either.
I served these adorable apple-shaped cheese ball appetizers with crackers, fresh fruit, and Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet. I chose this wine specifically because cabernet pairs perfectly with cheddar. Although I was a bit concerned the paprika would be too strong, it paired so nicely with the wine. If you haven’t tried Robert Mondavi Private Selection before, you should check it out. It is the perfect coastal California wine crafted for everyday enjoyment. I’m also loving their new bold packaging. The quality look matches the high-quality flavors of their wines. If you’d like to try out these mini apple-shaped cheese ball appetizers, check out the recipe and steps below.
Apple-Shaped Cheese Ball Recipe
8 oz white cheddar cheese
8 0z cream cheese
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
12 pretzel rods, cut in half
24 oregano leaves
1 container of paprika
In a food processor, mix the cheeses, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes until combined well. Scrape down the sides and blend again, as needed. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from refrigerator and using a 1-inch scoop, shape into balls. Spray hands with cooking spray and mold into apple shapes, creating a small indent on the top and a slimmer bottom. Place the cheese balls on a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for another 20-30 minutes until firm.
Remove from the refrigerator and roll in paprika. You won’t need the entire container, but I placed a generous amount in a bowl so I could roll the balls around until they were completely covered. Roll each ball in the paprika and return to the baking sheet.
Once all balls are rolled in paprika, insert one half of a pretzel rod into the top of the apple. Don’t push it too far down or the apple might split. I also found it was helpful to push the oregano leaf in with the rod so it stayed in place a bit better. Repeat until all apples are done.
Serve the apple-shaped cheese ball appetizers cold or at room temperature with crackers, fresh fruit and wine.