Spiced Orange, Sage and Macadamia Nut Cheeseball.
It’s macadamia nut cheeseball time!
I always love sharing something EASY with you on this Monday before Thanksgiving – but something that you can still make in time for Thursday! Of course, I have lots of uses for leftovers, but I wanted to give you one last creative snack that you can make if you’re in search of something new. It’s dreamy!
And it will complement all of your Thanksgiving table flavors SO well. It’s quite autumnal and seasonal if I do say so myself.
I know that I’ve said it a million times, but cheese balls are a thing in my family. This should come as no surprise consider BOTH (not one, but both) of my cookbooks have a cheeseball recipe inside. And I have countless cheeseballs here on the blog too. It’s slightly embarrassing.
Much like my long-standing obsession with the blue Manolos that Carrie wears on Sex and the City or the great way I behave during arguments with Eddie:
I JUST CAN’T LET IT GO.
I can’t let the cheeseball go. And I don’t care how 80s or 90s it is. I can’t get over it!
And here’s why:
First, it’s obviously delicious. A really good cheeseball, like my pomegranate jeweled cheeseball, has become a staple that people use every single year.
Second, it’s easy. Sure, this one is slightly more high maintenance, but the reality of cheeseballs is that they are easy. Mix everything together, coat it in nuts and serve. YUM.
Finally, you can make them ahead of time and they only taste better as they sit. YEP.
This is obviously the best part of cheeseballs, especially during this hectic holiday season, when you might need to make more than one snack. You can prep the cheese ball two days ahead of time and then the night before (or morning of), coat it in crushed nuts and herbs.
Of course, this also means that cheeseball leftovers are excellent too. Remember when I shared my first ever cheese board years ago? I show you how to make a few cheese balls in that post and they are huge hits!
Plus more: goat cheese truffles, which are basically mini cheese balls. I LOVE CHEESE.
Oh! And as a post script point: they are fantastically easy to travel with. That earns triple points in my book.
Let’s dig into the flavors though! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that I’ve been wacky over spiced orange creations this season. I’ve made a spiced orange spritzer and a spiced orange vinaigrette for salad. Naturally, cheese comes next in my brain.
I’ve wanted to make a macadamia nut crusted cheeseball for years. I’ll be talking more about those little love nuts in the next month, but they are just.so.buttery. They impart such a rich, buttery flavor wherever they are placed, which is one of the things I love about them.
So we have cream cheese, pecorino, some crushed macadamia nuts inside, lots of fresh orange zest, a few herbs and spices. We really took our time and played with these flavors to get just the right ratio of spice to orange that we loved.
Everyone is different, and I suggest mixing up the concoction below and tasting it for yourself. Before you roll the ball, take a cracker and taste the cheeseball insides. If you want more orange, reach for more zest! If you want more spice, throw in some extra allspice. Remember that we do cover it in crushed macadamia nuts (and a few pecans for color) and herbs, so there will be some extra crunch and flavor on the outside.
If you can’t tell, I’m nutty over this cheeseball! Pun intended.
Macadamia Nut Cheeseball
- 2 (8-ounce) blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup finely grated pecorino cheese
- 1/4 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
- 2 tablespoons chopped crispy sage (recipe below)
- 3 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of freshly cracked black pepper
- ⅔ cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, like parsley, sage and chives
To make the crispy sage, heat 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a skillet. Once melted and bubbling, add 8 to 10 sage leaves into the butter, cooking for 2 to 2 minutes. Remove the sage with kitchen tongs and place it on a paper towel to drain any excess grease.
In a large bowl, stir together the cream cheese, pecorino, nuts, chives, sage, orange zest, allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir until combined and everything is evenly distributed. Taste with a cracker and determine if you would like more spice or orange. I love it just like this!
Place a large piece of plastic wrap on your counter. Form the cheese mixture into somewhat of a ball and place it in the center of the plastic wrap. Wrap it up, forming it more into a ball as your go. Refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or even overnight. After refrigerating, you can form it into more of a ball with your hands while it’s still wrapped in plastic.
To roll the cheeseball, combine the macadamia nuts, pecans and herbs on a plate, stirring them together. Place the cheeseball on the plate and roll it through, coating the outside.
You can serve the cheeseball immediately or wrap it up and serve a few hours later. You can make this a day or two ahead of time, but I would wait to roll the ball in the nuts, as they will soften over time because of the cream cheese.
Pita bite crackers are where it’s at.