Gift-Worthy: Tropical Cheese Ball With Homemade Pear Chips
If you are looking for a delicious food gift that’s not loaded with sugar, you’ve come to the right place.
I love giving food as a gift, but I sometimes get overwhelmed with the sweetness factor. Cookies, caramels, and candies are great… in moderation. But a cheese ball – a savory one or a sweet one like this – is a refreshing option.
- First of all, cheese balls are a treat. I mean, how often do you make a cheese ball for yourself?
- Second, cheese balls aren’t sickeningly sweet.
- And third, cheese balls are low cost. This one cost right around $3.00 to make.
This recipe is a winner whether you give it as a gift, serve it at a party, or eat it yourself.
Making It Gift-Worthy
If you are considering giving a homemade cheese ball as a gift (which is a really great idea, in my opinion!) here are some ideas:
- Wrap the cheese ball in plastic wrap so it stays fresh
- Add a batch of homemade pear chips or a box of crackers
- Add a cheese spreader/knife (these are cute: Vintage wine cork spreaders)
- Package in a pretty box or gift bag
A homemade cheese ball makes a great hostess gift, as well as a gift for a teacher, neighbor, or coworker.
How To Make Homemade Pear Chips
Pear chips are easy to make if you have a mandoline slicer (OXO Mandoline Slicer). If you’ve ever made homemade apple chips before, then you already know how to make these. Here’s how it’s done:
- Using a mandoline slicer set at the 2nd thinnest setting, slice whole pears. Do not remove the skin or seeds before slicing. (If you don’t have a mandoline slicer, you can use a knife. Just make sure all slices are approximately the same thickness).
- Preheat oven to 225F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You should be able to get slices from 2 whole pears onto one baking sheet.
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Flip and return to oven to bake for an additional 30 minutes or so. Watch closely toward the end to make sure the pears don’t burn.
- Remove from oven, cool, and eat or package.
Tip: I bought a package of organic Bartlett pears from Trader Joe’s for $2.99. I used 2 pears that were quite firm to the touch. This yielded enough 2 people.
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- 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, finely chopped (you can also use canned pineapple that has been thoroughly drained)
- Zest from 1 small lemon
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, pineapple, and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Place in the fridge for at least an hour to harden.
- Place sliced almonds on a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper.
- Make the cream cheese mixture into a ball: I find that this is easiest done with damp hands. Take cream cheese mixture and carefully form it into a ball. Roll the ball in sliced almonds. Place on a serving plate or wrap in Saran wrap and place in the fridge.
- Serve with homemade pear chips, cinnamon pita chips or crackers.