sweet & salty “lollipop” cheese balls

“THEY LOOK LIKE LOLLIPOPS!” That’s what 2-year-old Estelle said when we made these, and you’d think that would be enough encouragement for the preschoolers at Phoebe’s school to dig in. It wasn’t. Despite our best efforts (though they weren’t actually very hard), these snacks crashed and BURNED when we brought them for the class to enjoy today. My own kids, especially Estelle, love them though. Maybe she still thinks they’re candy…

Phoebe’s teacher, who’s married to a chef and knows her way around a cheese ball, said she for one loved them. Moms are so great, aren’t they? Then recounted a story about the time she tried to get creative with her own daughter’s preschool snack back in the day (this daughter is now 13). She described carefully threading freshly blanched haricots-vert through tender cheese tortellini, only to have all every child refuse them. Gaarg! (Somewhere a Pepperidge Farm executive is throwing his head back, roaring with laughter at us right now.)

Anyway, despite the stunning failure in this one situation, these cheese balls are delicious and I think you should make them. In fact they’re inspired by the book we’re giving away on Foodlets RIGHT NOW, “Great Balls of Cheese”. Want a free copy of this awesome little book? Enter here! You won’t be sorry and even if your kids don’t eat them, all of your friends and coworkers will. With very big smiles.

Ours are nut-free with just the right combination of salty and sweet. Just ask E.

Sweet and Salty Cheese Balls with Pretzel Sticks

makes about 40 balls

How (Even Small) Kids Can Help: 

  1. rolling the balls
  2. applying cranberries
  3. poking in pretzel sticks
  4. comic relief

ingredients

  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups any Italian cheeses your kids like (parmesan, mozzarella, etc.)
  • 1 5-ounce bag of dried cranberries (we love the kind with “half the sugar”), cut into smaller pieces
  • 40 pretzel sticks

instructions

Combine the cheese and cream cheese and let sit in the fridge for 20 minutes. Then roll into balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Finally coat the balls with a scattering of cranberries. It worked well for us when I rolled the balls — though this is an excellent thing for kids to help with — then had the kids sprinkle those sticky cranberries into my palm so I could avoid getting the white cheese on their shiny red skins (see all those hands at work below). Store in the fridge again for about 2 hours, or overnight. NOTE: Wait until just before serving to insert the pretzel sticks or they’ll get soggy.

The result is rich and creamy, salty, sweet and perfect with a cracker (which the kids did eat). Happy holidays!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] These make the perfect special-occasion food — kids can help make them and they’re also delicious (to children and adults). Between the rolling, covering with cranberries and poking of pretzel sticks, there are at least three jobs fit for small fingers. Then there’s the fact that the recipe requires only a handful of ingredients (four to be exact). Now that’s something to make parents swoon. Get the recipe for these kid-friendly cheese balls at Foodlets.com. [...]

  2. [...] These make the perfect special-occasion food — kids can help make them and they’re also delicious (to children and adults). Between the rolling, covering with cranberries and poking of pretzel sticks, there are at least three jobs fit for small fingers. Then there’s the fact that the recipe requires only a handful of ingredients (four to be exact). Now that’s something to make parents swoon. Get the recipe for these kid-friendly cheese balls at Foodlets.com. [...]

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