Cheeseball igloo and olive penguins
I’ll admit that these didn’t turn out as good as I had originally hoped, but they were still a hit and were quite cute regardless. My plans were pushed forward and I had to rush to finish this, so no time for cleaning the penguins off, adding eyes, or being all OCD about cleaning the extra cheese off the little guys.
I also made the mistake of using Neufchâtel cheese for only the second time without realizing the differences from real cream cheese. I had tried it the day before in another dish and noticed absolutely no difference in taste and texture. Neufchatel is softer than regular cream cheese, though, because it’s 33% lower in fat and has more moisture. (See how my igloo even looks a little wet?)
So while shaping my cheeseball igloo, I had a harder time getting it to actually hold the shape. That’s why my igloo looks really flat…because it is, and there was nothing I could do about it! Every time I should shape it to sit higher and line up with the front like it should, it would sort of slide a bit and flatten itself out under its own weight. Oops!
Smockity Frocks has a great example. This is more like what it should look like:
How to make Cheese Ball Igloo with Cream Cheese Olive Penguins:
~ Use your favorite cheeseball recipe. Any kind is fine. Shape into a ball and let set in the fridge
~ Have an extra package of cream cheese ready to make the doorway, the igloo covering, and the penguins.
~ Mix some cream cheese with a little milk to make it creamy and cover the cheese ball in a smooth layer.
~ Cut small rectangles for the doorway and stick them to the front (should stick rather easily because of the soften cream cheese covering acting like glue). Draw ice block lines in the igloo using a toothpick or knife.
~ Make a small slice about 2/3rds of the way up one side of each olive and stuff carefully with cream cheese. Attach smaller olives to the top using a toothpick. Smockity Frocks recommended using the ones with little frills on top for more decoration if you can find them.
~ Cut carrots into slices and triangle wedges for the feet and beaks. A small slit in the top olive will hold the tiny beak just fine.
~ Place penguins all around the igloo. That’s it! Enjoy!
Tip: Instead of softening the cream cheese with milk, you could also just nuke the cream cheese in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it. Don’t let it get too warm or it’ll start to “melt” your cheese ball when you spread it on and you’ll have issues with your igloo flattening like mine.
Tip: Keep the cheese ball in the refridgerator as much as possible so it doesn’t get too soft and lose shape.
Tip: You can do the cheese ball itself the night before. Do the olives within an hour of when you’re serving, though, or you’ll end up with liquidy, limp olives. Eww! Nobody wants a droopy penguin.
Tip: Use some of the softened cream cheese as a base for the penguins to keep them in place. It acts as glue so they don’t fall over.