CLASSIC CHEDDAR CHEESE BALL

Serves 15 to 20.

Note: You'll need 8 ounces of block cheddar to yield 2 cups of shredded cheese. From Cook's Country.

• 2 c. shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

• 8 oz. cream cheese, softened

• 2 tbsp. mayonnaise

• 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

• 1 clove garlic, minced

• 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

• 1/2 c. sliced almonds, toasted

Directions

Process Cheddar, cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire, garlic and cayenne in food processor until smooth.

Shape the ball by transferring cheese mixture to center of large sheet of plastic wrap and tightly wrap, shaping cheese into rough ball.

Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours, or up to two days. Once cheese ball is firm, reshape as necessary to form smooth ball. Unwrap and roll in almonds to coat.

Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Serve.

Variations

Bacon-Ranch Cheese Ball: Prepare Classic Cheddar Cheese Ball, omitting Worcestershire and cayenne. Add 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or fresh dill, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and pinch sugar to food processor. Replace almonds with 6 slices cooked and crumbled bacon.

Antipasto Cheese Ball: Prepare Classic Cheddar Cheese Ball, replacing Cheddar with 1 cup shredded provolone cheese and 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Omit Worcestershire and cayenne. Add 3 ounces thinly sliced deli salami, chopped; 2 tablespoons chopped, jarred roasted red peppers; 2 tablespoons chopped, jarred pepperoncini; and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil to food processor. Replace almonds with 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts.

Beer Cheese Ball: Prepare Classic Cheddar Cheese Ball, omitting mayonnaise, Worcestershire and cayenne. Add 3 tablespoons beer and 1 teaspoon yellow mustard to food processor. Replace almonds with 1/2 cup crushed pretzels.

Lemon-Herb Goat Cheese Ball: Prepare Classic Cheddar Cheese Ball, replacing Cheddar with 2 cups crumbled goat cheese. Omit mayonnaise, Worcestershire and cayenne. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, and 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest to food processor. Replace almonds with 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh chives.