Cheese Ball Santa

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Cheese Ball Santa
What's your Take?

The highlight of any Christmas party is an appearance by Santa -- especially this Santa. Defer to your kids' imaginations when you assemble this appetizer; try mini rice cakes instead of cream cheese for a beard or broccoli for ears. Before serving, bring it to room temperature for the best flavor and consistency.

What you'll need

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces Grated Sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon tomato paste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Red bell pepper
  • 1 to 2 cups whipped cream cheese
  • Radish slice, carrot stick, pretzel, black olives, crackers, and a cherry tomato

How to make it

  1. Make Santa's face by blending the first eight ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spoon the mixture onto a large piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a ball.

  2. Tightly wrap the cheese and chill it for 1 hour. Unwrap the cheese ball and place it on a large serving tray.

  3. Drape new plastic wrap over the cheese, then flatten and shape it into a face. Remove the wrap and turn the red pepper upside down for Santa's hat.

  4. Spoon the whipped cream cheese into a sealable pint-size plastic bag. Seal the bag and make a small snip in a lower corner to create a pastry bag.

  5. Use piped-on whipped cream cheese to stick a radish-slice pom-pom to the hat. Pipe on more cream cheese for a hatband, eyebrows, and a beard.

  6. Press on a carrot nose, a pretzel mouth, olive eyes, and cracker ears. Add cherry tomato halves for rosy cheeks. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

  7. Kids' Steps: Shaping Santa's face and then decorating it with vegetable features are perfect jobs for little helpers.

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