Cheese Ball Santa

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The highlight of any Christmas party is an appearance by Santa -- especially this Santa. Defer to your kids' imaginations when you assemble this appetizer; Before serving, bring it to room temperature for the best flavor and consistency.

Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Serves:

Preparation time:
Cooking time:

Ingredients

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
4 ounces Grated Sharp Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon softened butter
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 clove minced garlic (optional)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon tomato paste
Black pepper, to taste
Red bell pepper
1 to 2 cups whipped cream cheese
Radish slice, carrot stick, pretzel, black olives, crackers, and a cherry tomato

Method

1.Make Santa's face by blending the first eight ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spoon the mixture onto a large piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a ball.

2.Tightly wrap the cheese and chill it for 1 hour. Unwrap the cheese ball and place it on a large serving tray.

3.Drape new plastic wrap over the cheese, then flatten and shape it into a face. Remove the wrap and turn the red pepper upside down for Santa's hat.

4.Spoon the whipped cream cheese into a sealable pint-size plastic bag. Seal the bag and make a small snip in a lower corner to create a pastry bag.

5.Use piped-on whipped cream cheese to stick a radish-slice pom-pom to the hat. Pipe on more cream cheese for a hatband, eyebrows, and a beard.

6.Press on a carrot nose, a pretzel mouth, olive eyes, and cracker ears. Add cherry tomato halves for rosy cheeks. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

7.Kids' Steps: Shaping Santa's face and then decorating it with vegetable features are perfect jobs for little helpers.

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