These cheese balls are easy to make and were the starter course that we served at the July demo & tasting at The Quail & Olive in Carmel Valley this week. I am always inspired by their carefully curated pantry items; this recipe includes the Kwame's Mom's House Spice from Spiceology, Zab's Hot Sauce, marcona almonds from Matiz Foods, maple syrup from Runamok Maple, Dijon mustard, and their house Butter Olive Oil. The only things I didn't get at The Quail & Olive - cream cheese and butter - I had in my fridge. You can make everything ahead of time and just re-heat the topping enough to spoon it over the top of the balls. Serve with crackers and you have a tasty, Creole-inspired appetizer.
Ingredients makes 8
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 teaspoons Kwame's Mom's House Spice (from Spiceology)
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (from Zab's)
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 1/4 cup Butter Olive Oil (from The Quail & Olive)
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (from Runamok Maple)
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (Zab's)
- 1 teaspoon spice blend (Spiceology)
- 1-1/2 cups chopped Marcona almonds (from Matiz Foods)
Also needed: hand-mixer, scoop, skillet
Place cream cheese, spice blend, and hot sauce into a small mixing bowl. Use a hand-blender to combine. Use a scoop to portion out 8 balls.
Place all of the ingredients - except the nuts - into a skillet. Heat until the butter is melted. Whisk until smooth, then cook until it thickens to soft-ball stage; it will look like a caramel sauce.
Remove from the heat and fold in the nuts.
Spoon the sauce over the cheese balls and serve with crackers.