Nacho Jack-o'-Lantern Cheese Ball

A nacho-flavored, pumpkin-shaped cheese ball, with a little Jack-o'-lantern face is exactly what every Halloween party needs.
By: Michelle Buffardi
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Sure carving pumpkins into Jack-o'lanterns is fun and all, but where's the payoff? You do all that work, and in the end, there's nothing to eat (except for some seeds). In an ideal world, Jack-o'-lanterns would be cute, squat, orange and taste like nachos.

This nacho-flavored, pumpkin-shaped cheese ball is just the thing for your Halloween party. It looks like a pumpkin, but tastes like everyone's favorite party chip.

This is one pumpkin that won't get smashed, but it will be devoured.

A few tips before you get started:
  • You don't really need any fancy equipment to make a cheeseball; as long as the cream cheese is at room temperature, you can mix everything in a bowl with a spatula. I just like to use a mixer because it's easier.
  • I prefer to buy a brick of cheese and shred it myself; the pre-shredded cheese has a funny texture from the powdery stuff added to keep the shreds separate.
  • And to crush the Doritos, you can put some in a resealable plastic bag and roll over it with a rolling pin or wine bottle. Or you can buy a medium-sized bag of chips, remove (eat) half, roll the top of the bag down, and crush the Doritos in the bag. That option is as satisfying as it sounds.
Nacho Cheese Ball
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons minced onions

1 teaspoon jalapeno, minced (without seeds, unless you want it spicy, then include the seeds)

2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons prepared salsa (your favorite kind will do)

1 nice-looking stem of a bell pepper (reserve the pepper for another use)

12 Doritos, original flavor, crushed
Black bean chips, for serving

Put all ingredients into the bowl of a mixer, and blend thoroughly. Form into a pumpkin-like shape, and refrigerate until firm, about two hours. Before serving, roll the cheese ball in crushed Doritos. Arrange the cheese ball on a plate, and press the bell pepper stem into the top -- it should like a mini pumpkin stem.

You can serve the pumpkin as-is, or break off pieces of black bean chips to form a Jack-o'-lantern face. The chip pieces should adhere to the pumpkin cheese ball if you gently press them onto it, but you can also stick them on using a very small daub of the cheese ball mixture on the back of the black bean chip features; this will act like glue. Serve the cheese ball with black bean chips, crackers or crudites.

You might also want to make some of these Halloween treats for your party:

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