My love of cheese is legendary. So it stands to reason that a mixture of cheeses, mixed together with my favorite Italian herbs and then rolled in pecans would be a must for the party table, right? Make this recipe the day before your party if possible to allow all the flavors to meld. Serve on a festive tray with a variety of crackers.
HOLIDAY CHEESE BALL
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
1 cup pecans, finely chopped (divided)
Place 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans in a shallow dish and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese until smooth. Add the cheddar cheeses and mix until just combined. Add the seasonings, Worcestershire and hot sauce, and 1/4 cup of the chopped pecans, over the cheese mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.
Carefully roll the cheese into a round ball. Coat in pecans by gently scooping up the pecans and pressing them onto the cheese ball. Turn the cheese ball as you go and let the excess pecans fall back into the dish. Wrap the cheese ball with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
HERSHEY’S BEST BROWNIES
Hershey’s Chocolate provides this recipe for super moist brownies that everyone will love.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-inch square baking pan.
Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Add eggs; beat well with a spoon. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in nuts, if desired. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of the pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares. About 16 brownies.
SWEET AND SPICY MIXED NUTS
This is one of my favorite nibbles to serve to family and friends. Consider making a double batch because they won’t last long. Packaged in a pretty tin, these treats would be a wonderful gift as well.
2 1/2 cups mixed nuts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Toss the nuts and rosemary in a medium mixing bowl. Heat the oil in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until warm. Add the cayenne and stir until it is dissolved. Pour the oil mixture over the nut mixture. Sprinkle on the sugar and salt, and toss to coat everything evenly.
Bake in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet, stirring often, until the nuts are toasted and fragrant, about 20 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container for 2 weeks.
CROCK POT HOT CHOCOLATE
Chocolate, heavy cream and Eagle Brand Milk, plus a few other ingredients, elevate regular hot chocolate into realms of richness that you have only tasted in your dreams. How was that for dramatic? Combine all ingredients in your crock pot and left to its own devices, in an hour or so you are drinking the nectar of the winter gods.
1.5 cups whipping cream
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
6 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Stir together the whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, milk, vanilla and chocolate chips in a crock pot.
Cover and cook on low for two hours, whisking every now and then to mix in the chocolate chips.
Stir again before serving. Garnish as desired with shaved chocolate curls, mini-marshmallows and/or whipped cream.
— Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years. You can contact her at facebook.com/fleurde.lolly.5, on Instagram, and firstname.lastname@example.org.