Do you remember your first Halloween? I do! We were having dinner when the front doorbell rang. My Dad said I could see who was there, so I went to the door, opened it, and saw the scariest monsters yelling I didn’t know what! (It was, of course, Trick or Treat, but I didn’t know that then!) I screamed in fear, began to cry because (of course) all the house lights had gone off and it was pitch black except for the street light a few houses down. I had never been so terrified in my 4 years of life! And yes, I still have that memory today so fortunately, I get no “Trick or Treaters” in my neighborhood!
But I have some really adorable Cheese Monsters for your Halloween party, or for snacking as you fill the bags of your ghosties and goblins and things that go bump in the night! You can make them up the day before or early the day of … and surrounded by some whole wheat and maybe some vegetable crackers, know you have a funny and healthy snack to enjoy.
Mini Monster Cheese Balls
- 8 oz. (1 brick) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 16 oz. shredded, sharp cheddar cheese, divided *
- 1/2 cup finely chopped, cooked bacon (or real bacon bits) or pancetta, cooked
- 3 or 4 slices white cheese (muenster, jack, mozzarella, provolone, etc.)
- Sliced black olives or sliced pimento stuffed olives
- pretzel sticks
* You can grate your own cheese if you prefer, but the commercial ones are stiffer and drier and work better for the coating, especially. If you want to grate your own for the balls themselves, use 8 oz. cheese you grate yourself and 8 oz. of the commercially grated. I use all commercially grated – it’s easier, holds together better, and it’s faster!
Mix the cream cheese until it is smooth; add 8 oz. of the shredded cheddar and mix until thoroughly blended. (If you want it spicy, add 1-2 tsps. chili powder or 1/2 – 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste. Be sure to mix spice thoroughly and let it sit for at least 15 minutes for flavor to develop. Taste to be sure it isn’t “too hot”. If it is, add equal quantities – about 1-2 oz. each of additional cream cheese and cheddar, over and above what is called for. Blend again and let sit to see if it’s OK.
Place remaining shredded cheese in a medium-large bowl. Using a small ice cream scoop or a large teaspoon, form balls from the cheese mix and drop balls into the shredded cheese. You should have about 18 balls. Reserve about 1 Tbsp. of the cheese mixture (you will need this for “glue” to decorate the balls.) Toss the balls around until they are covered. Repeat until all are coated.
Use a small round cutter (thimble sized – or shot glass bottom) to cut circles (2 per ball) out of the white cheese slices. Using the reserved cheese “glue”, dab the center of each white “eye” and set on an olive slice, and a small dab at the bottom of the “eye” and set it on top of the ball. Repeat with the 2nd “eye”. Or use pretzel sticks to hold up the “eyes”. Cut mouth or nose shapes from the olives and with a dab of “glue”, attach them to the balls. Add hair, ears, antennae, etc. of pretzels. Make them all different, cute and mean looking – and let the kids help! They’ll have fun decorating, too!