Brandy Infused Mini Cheese Balls are made with tangy cheese, soft cream cheese and Brandy for a little kick. Chopped pecans give added crunch.
Now that the weather
is hot has warmed up, I’m spending a lot more time outdoors with my boys. It’s not unusual to find us on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the backyard, the boys running through the sprinkler or playing in the sandbox. Me sitting in my lounge chair, sipping on something cold and trying to stay cool in the shade of the back porch. Welcome sweet summertime!
At the end of the day, the boys are in dire need of a bath and hungry for dinner. But of course, cooking is the last thing I feel like doing. I’ve learned to plan on meals that I can either assemble ahead of time and put in the oven, or don’t involve cooking at all.
One of my favorite summertime meals is an antipasto. The kids don’t much care for it, but The Husband and I sure do! A couple different kinds of cold cuts, some artichoke hearts, good bread, and cheese. Recently, I swapped out the traditional sliced cheese for something spreadable and creamy — brandy infused mini cheese balls.
A Little Lesson in Brandy
Brandy is a distilled spirit made from grapes. It’s usually enjoyed as an after dinner cocktail, but is can also be incorporated into recipes for a unique flavor. Brandy may also go by the names Cognac and Armagnac depending where you live.
As with most spirits, the higher the quality, the higher the price. You don’t need to go top of the line here, but you also don’t want to go bottom of the barrel. The flavor of the Brandy plays an important role in the flavor of these cheese balls. You want to use something with a pleasing taste that’s also easy on your wallet. Christian Brothers, El Presidente and E&J are all acceptable choices.
Brandy Infused Mini Cheese Balls are made with three different types of cheese — sharp cheddar, cream cheese and Roquefort. Roquefort is a blue cheese made from sheep’s milk. It gives the cheese balls a tangy flavor. If you can’t find Roquefort cheese near you, blue cheese is an acceptable substitution.
How to Make Brandy Infused Mini Cheeseballs
Step one. Before getting started, set out all your cheeses to soften. This should take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
Step two. Once the cheese are soft, combine them in a large mixing bowl along with one small grated onion. A box grater works just fine for this, or you can pulse your onion a few times in a food processor.
Additionally, add six tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, ¼ cup brandy, two teaspoons of hot sauce, ½ teaspoon celery salt, ½ teaspoon garlic salt and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder. Cream everything together with an electric mixer until everything is evenly combined.
Step three. Cover the bowl and chill the cheese in the refrigerator for 2 hours. If you want to make this ahead of time, the cheese will keep in the fridge for up to two days.
Step four. In a smaller, separate bowl, combine the pecans and parsley.
Step five. Roll the cheese mixture into 1-1 ½ inch balls — about the size of a golf ball. Roll each ball in the pecan-parsley mixture.
Step six. Make sure each ball is thoroughly coated with the pecan-parsley mixture before moving on to the next.
Step seven. Arrange the Brandy Infused Mini Cheese Balls in an even layer on a baking sheet, then place them back into the refrigerator and allow to chill before serving.
Brandy infused mini cheese balls can even be made ahead of time and frozen. Just let them come to room temperature before serving. The Brandy and Worcestershire sauce give the mini cheese balls a little zing. And the chopped pecans lend some texture and crunch. It’s ideal for spreading across some crusty bread or crackers.
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Brandy Infused Mini Cheese Balls
- 1 pound sharp cheddar grated
- ½ pound Roquefort cheese crumbled (could also use bleu cheese)
- 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 small onion grated
- 6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup brandy
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- Allow all cheeses to come to room temperature.
- Combine all ingredients except the nuts and parsley in large mixing bowl. Cream until mixture is thoroughly combined.
- Cover and place bowl in the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours or up to two days.
- Combine pecans and parsley in a medium bowl.
- Roll cheese mixture into 1-1 ½ inch balls. Roll each ball in the pecan-parsley mixture.
- Make sure each ball is thoroughly coated.
- Place the cheese balls back into the refrigerator and allow to chill before serving.