Monday, November 16, 2009
Sweet & Spicy White Cheddar Cheeseball w/Apples & Bacon
One of the vendors at the Fabulous Food Show this past weekend was Adams Reserve New York Extra Sharp Cheddar. We ran across their booth towards the end when they were trying to sell the last of their supply, so we all ended up buying a tray of their 'cracker sliced' cheese that comes in a ready-to-serve tray.
It's excellent cheese - snacked on some when we got home. Also picked up a flyer that they are running a 'Cheddar Challenge Recipe Contest'. At first I thought there was no way I could come up with something worthy before the November 22nd deadline. But inspiration struck this morning! This is sort of riff on a white cheddar, bacon, apple, cheesecake I made at Halloween, but it's got it's own flavor profile and twist.
Sweet & Spicy White Cheddar Cheese Ball with Apples and Bacon
1/2 c. dried apple slices
2 teaspoons Applejack Brandy (I used 1 T. of Finger Lakes Distilling Maplejack)
1 t. pure maple syrup
6 slices of bacon
8 oz cream cheese, or lowfat (NOT nonfat) cream cheese, softened
8-10 oz of Adams Reserve New York Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 c. Trader Joes Sweet and Spicy Pecans (substitute 1 c. pecans, 1 t. salt, 1/2 t. cayenne)
Cracker and apple slices to serve
Put apple slices in small dish and sprinkle with brandy and maple syrup while you prep the rest of the recipe. Fry bacon in large skillet, turning frequently, until crisp, then set aside on a paper towel lined plate.
Finely chop apples.
Combine cream cheese, Adams Reserve New York Extra Sharp Cheddar, cayenne pepper, and apples in food processor. Pulse until mixture is throughly mixed and combined.
Combine pecans, brown sugar, and cooled, crumbled bacon in mini-food processor (or wash out regular processor and dry) until finely chopped.
Use spatula to remove cheese mixture to a cutting board. Lightly wet hands and roll the cheese into a ball. Roll in the bacon pecan mixture and pat to coat.
Arrange on serving platter with crackers and apple slices dipped in lemon juice/water. Enjoy!
Edited: I am a finalist in the contest! I will be appearing on "That's Life" with Robin Swoboda on December 3rd along with the other two finalists.
Update: And I won!!!