Christmas Tree Cheese Ball

By: Michelle Buffardi

No holiday is complete without a whole bunch of cheese. In fact, no day is complete without cheese. This holiday season, your obligatory cheese can double as your obligatory holiday decor, if you play with your food a little and transform it into a Christmas tree.

Start by making a cheese ball, which is super easy. Just a few ingredients in a mixer. You don't even need a stand mixer -- you can use a bowl and a hand mixer, or if your cream cheese is soft enough, mash it all up with a spatula.

Cheese Ball

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)

coarse salt and white pepper, to taste

Put all ingredients into the bowl of a mixer, and blend thoroughly. Shape as desired, and refrigerate.

** If you're making a traditional cheese ball, when you're ready to serve, roll the ball into toasted crushed nuts and serve on a platter with crackers and crudites.

To shape your cheese mass into a tree, roll it in to a log-shape in parchment paper.

Then fold one side of the log over so the cheese inside is covered. Tap the covered end on a table or countertop a few times until a flat base is formed. Work the cheese inside of the parchment paper into a tree-shaped cone.

Once the tree is formed, carefully remove it from the parchment paper. Roll the tree in chopped parsley until it's completely covered.

Set the tree on a platter and decorate with pomegranate seeds and bits of chopped orange or yellow peppers. Top with a slice of star fruit. Surround the decorated cheese tree with crackers and sliced crudites.

Find more holiday appetizers to serve with your cheese ball and tell us what you're making for your holiday buffet.

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