Easy Christmas Party Appetizers

 

Cream cheese is the base of many appetizers. I think more cream cheese is consumed during the holidays than any other time. It is used in cheeseballs, cheesecake, and so much more. I have taken the beloved cheeseball and updated it. You can see the full article and more recipes on www.yourwilliamson.com or in the December issue of Your Williamson magazine.

 

I was inspired to create this Christmas tree cream cheese “ball” after brainstorming of foods that I like that has cream cheese in them. It hit me! I love a lox and bagel.

Christmas Tree Cream Cheeseball with Dill and Salmon

 2 packages (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

2-ounces sliced smoked salmon

Bagel chips

Spoon the cream cheese in a silicone Christmas tree mold. With the back of a spoon, press the cream cheese into the mold and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

Unmold onto a serving platter. Sprinkle the chopped dill on top to cover the cream cheese.

Roll one of the slices of the salmon in a log and place at the bottom of the cream cheese Christmas tree to create a tree trunk. Arrange the other slices around the tree.

Serve with bagel chips.

Serves 6 to 8.

Tip: You can also decorate the Christmas tree with capers (ornaments) and red onion (garland).

 

I love savory appetizers but I also love sweet. This is my sweet version of a cheeseball. I had fun with the presentation. I made the cheeseball easily look like a tiered cake.

Cheesecake Cheeseball with Spiced Apples

 Cheeseball

1 package (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened

½ cup confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Spiced Apples

1 medium granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and cubed

¼ cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Graham crackers

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla. Beat until combined.

To form a round, place a piece of plastic wrap bigger than the size of a 3-inch round cookie cutter on top of it. Spoon a heaping 1/3 cup of the cheesecake mixture in the middle. Press the mixture down to form into a 3-inch round. Cover the top with the plastic wrap and carefully remove from the cookie cutter. Transfer to a plate. Repeat the process one more time. Refrigerate both the cream cheese molds for about one hour or until firm.  Reserve the remaining cheesecake mixture for later.

To make the spiced apples, combine the cubed apples, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a medium sauté pan. Cook over medium-low heat for about 8 minutes or until the apples are soft. Allow to cool slightly.

To assemble, unwrap the cheeseballs. Place one of them on a cupcake stand or dessert plate. Top with some of the spiced apples. Place the other cheesecake cheeseball round on top of the apples.

Spoon the reserved softened cheesecake mixture in a piping bag with a decorative tip.

Pipe decorative dots on top of the cheeseball round and on the sides of the bottom round if desired. Spoon more of the spiced apples on top.

Serve with graham crackers.

Serves 4.

 

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