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Get your brandy-drinking boots on; it’s the week of Christmas. Wonkers generally prefer clear liquor, whiskey, or turpentine, but Baby Jesus loves cognac. Let’s make some cheese balls for his birthday party.

Cheese balls are ubiquitous this time of year because they are delicious, versatile, and beautiful, and people love to put balls in their mouth. You start by making a base, and then you can divide it up and flavor them any way you want. We’ll share two ideas, and you can use those or create your own. Use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, if you have one; otherwise, use a fork and a whole lot of elbow grease.

Cheese Ball Base

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
Squirt of lemon juice
Quite a few dashes Worcestershiretondale sauce
Not quite as many dashes hot sauce
Pepper (use white pepper if you’re a freak about not having black flecks in your white food, you fucking racist)

Let the cream cheese and butter come to room temperature.

Hey, you guys wanna party?

Put everything in the bowl of your stand mixer and take it for whirl, until everything is combined.

Divide in half; put one half into a different mixing bowl.

Blue Cheese and Walnut

8 oz. blue cheese (creamier works easier, but any thing will do. Roquefort or gorgonzola would be great)
Small handful minced shallot
1 tbsp brandy
1 cup walnuts

Add the brandy, blue cheese, and shallots to one of the bowls of the cheese ball base; mix to combine.

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Form into a ball; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a few hours and as long as 3 days.

Toast your nuts in a dry pan over medium heat. Chop coarsely.

When it’s party time, roll your ball in your nuts to coat.

Chutney Cheddar

8 oz. sharp cheddar, finely shredded
2 tbsp chutney
1 cup of dried cranberries

The secret to finely shredded cheese is to not push it so hard against the grater. Add the cheddar and chutney to the remaining cheese ball base; mix to combine.

Form into a ball; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a few hours and as long as 3 days.

Run your knife through the dried cranberries a few times.

When it’s party time, roll your ball in the cranberries to coat.

Serve with crackers or toast points or celery sticks. Or just do what comes naturally and grab the balls with your bare hands, and let them sit in your mouth so you can savor them.

These two are holiday-appropriate with the nuts and the brandy and the cranberries, but sometimes we do a “pesto” one with basil and garlic, rolled in pine nuts. Mommyblog and recipe hub about your variation in the comments (which are not allowed).

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