Holiday Tree-Shaped Cheese Ball

Holiday Tree-Shaped Cheese Ball

3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (16 ounces)
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 tablespoon grated onion
1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard
Red pepper sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley or cilantro
1/4 cup pine nuts or sliced almonds
lemon peel (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
Assorted crackers, if desired

  1. Stir together cream cheese and Cheddar cheese; divide in half. Stir pesto into 1 half; stir onion, mustard and 2 or 3 drops pepper sauce into other half. Cover each half; refrigerate about 4 hours or until firm enough to shape.

  2. Place cheese mixtures on cookie sheet. Shape each half into cone shape to look like a pine tree.

  3. If desired, wrap each tree, label and freeze up to 1 month. Twelve hours before serving, remove trees from freezer. Thaw in wrapper in refrigerator.

  4. Just before serving, roll trees in parsley, pressing it evenly onto trees. Press pine nuts onto trees in string form for garland. Press bell pepper pieces onto trees for ornaments. Top each tree with star shape cut from lemon peel. Serve with crackers.