7 dozen cheese balls

Rows of pimiento cheese balls, colossal olives, and wheat crackers create this one-stop hors d'oeuvre tree. All you need to enhance it is a glass of Chardonnay

How to Make It

Step 1

Cook onion and garlic in butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until tender. Add wine. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, until liquid has evaporated.Set aside.

Step 2

Position knife blade in food processor bowl; add shredded Cheddar cheese and 2 packages (11 ounces) cream cheese. Process until cheeses form a ball, stopping once to scrape down sides. Remove mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in onion mixture and pimiento. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes.

Step 3

Shape mixture into 3/4" balls. Place cheese balls on a wax paper-lined jellyroll pan. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.

Step 4

Roll half of chilled balls in parsley and half in pecans. Cover and chill until firm.

Step 5

Wrap plastic wrap around Styrofoam cone, sealing completely. Spread softened tub cream cheese over plastic wrap-coated cone, covering cone completely and making a 1/2"-thick layer. Sprinkle coated cone with chopped parsley.

Step 6

Press a circular row of crackers into the cream cheese-coated cone at the base. Attach a circular row of cheese balls at base of cone just above cracker layer, using wooden picks. Attach a circular row of olives above row of cheese balls, using wooden picks. Gently press another row of crackers into the cream cheese-coated cone, creating a shingled effect. Repeat procedure, working in circular rows and covering cone completely.

Step 7

Cut a large star shape out of each pepper half, using a sharp knife. Secure with a wooden pick at top of tree. Serve remaining cheese balls on crackers around base of tree.

Step 8

Note: For bite-size whole wheat snack crackers, we used Wheat Thins.

Christmas with Southern Living 1996

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