This Strawberry Jalapeño Cheese Ball is a festive holiday appetizer. The sweetness of the strawberries and spice of the jalapeño give it the perfect blend of sweet and heat.
The key ingredient to this Strawberry Jalapeño Cheese Ball is the new Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Jalapeño Fruit Spread. I’m so excited for this new flavor from Smucker’s. It is going to be fun to experiment with over the holidays. They have really done a fabulous job balancing the sweet and spice in this spread. You first taste the flavor of sweet, fresh strawberry and then the mild heat of the jalapeño comes through. It is delicious on its own or with some cream cheese on a cracker. Even better, broil it on some French bread with mayonnaise or cream cheese. You’ve got to try it for yourself!
I really like making cheese balls during the holidays. It’s something a little nicer and fancier than just the average crackers and dip. You can get creative with the presentation using different colors and styles of plates or platters. You can also get creative with the colors and textures. A cheese ball is traditionally a thicker texture and you can use a variety of nuts, fruits, spices, and cheeses. I like serving cheese balls with different kinds of crackers and vegetables. Firm, crisp, fresh vegetables like celery, carrots, and cucumbers work great with cheese balls. They are a healthy substitute for those on low-carb or gluten-free diets.
When experimenting with this recipe, I found that I needed to strain some liquid from the Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Jalapeño Fruit Spread in order to create the right consistency for a cheese ball. It’s very simple. I emptied the jar of fruit spread into a mesh strainer and stirred it a few times. Make sure you do this over a bowl, because you will want to save the portion that is strained. I strained about 2 tablespoons. What comes out of the strainer is the consistency of a thin jelly. I put it back in the jar it came in and will use it as a spread with cream cheese, or on some toasted French bread.
You will see that I also added a chopped jalapeño to the recipe. As I mentioned before, the Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Jalapeño Fruit Spread has, in my opinion, the perfect blend of sweet and heat. However, when added to the cream cheese the spiciness of the jalapeño is lessened. This is because fat minimizes heat (see the helpful hint below the recipe). The added jalapeño brings back the little kick of spice and makes this Strawberry Jalapeño Cheese Ball taste so good.
- Mix the softened cream cheese and white cheddar cheese together using a mixer or by hand.
- Pour the jar of Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Jalapeño Fruit Spread into a mesh strainer that has been placed over a bowl. Stir a few times until about 2 tablespoons of fine jelly are strained into the bowl. Place the contents of the bowl back in the Smucker’s jar and save for later use.
- Blend the remaining Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Jalapeño Fruit Spread with the cheese mixture. When well blended, add jalapeño and parsley.
- Place two sections of plastic wrap on the counter. Divide the cheese mixture between the two sections. Wrap the mixture into a ball. Make sure it is completely covered with the plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- When ready to serve, unwrap the cheese ball and roll it in the pecan chips until it is completely covered. Serve on a plate or platter with a variety of crackers, celery sticks, carrot sticks, and sliced cucumbers.
The fat molecule in milk, cheese, or other dairy products binds to the spicy, hot molecule and reduces the spiciness you taste. This is why, when you eat something that burns your mouth, you want to drink milk, not water. The water spreads and intensifies the heat, the milk reduces it. If you really need to cool your mouth down fast after biting into something intensely spicy, the best thing to do is place a little cooking oil (olive, canola, coconut) on a napkin and wipe it around the inside of your mouth. It takes the burn out fast. I know… I’ve tried it and it works!