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Garlic and Herb Cheese Holiday Tree

Ingredients:

  • Slap Ya Mama Cajun Hot Sauce, mild or hot, 1 Tbsp (can definitely add more!)
  • Cream Cheese, room temp, two 8 oz packages makes one tree
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese 2 oz shredded
  • Fresh Herbs, Parsley & Dill, finely chopped, ½ cup each, plus more for garnish
  • Garlic Powder 1 Tbsp
  • Onion Powder 1 Tbsp
  • Salt 1 tsp, or to taste
  • Jalapeno, 1 Tbsp chopped fine (optional)
  • Celery 1 stalk whole, approx 5 inches in length (or slightly shorter)
  • Pomegranate Seeds ½ cup
  • Slivered Almonds ½ cup
  • Parmesan Cheese ½ cup finely grated
  • Mini Butter Crackers ½ cup
  • Pretzel Sticks ½ cup, broken in half

Now Let’s Make It!

  1. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, add the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, Slap ya Mama Hot Sauce, 1 Tbsp of each chopped herbs (parsley, dill), garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Combine. Add diced Jalapeno and extra hot sauce if you like it spicy, skip if you don’t. Taste it. Adjust flavors to your taste preferences. Mix well.
  2. Wrap cheese in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 mins to an hour.
  3. Once cheese is chilled, remove from plastic wrap and take a small portion of the cold cheese and make a small ball the size of a kiwi. Place it in the center of your serving plate or platter, and press it gently to be a base for your tree. Then take your celery stalk and place it in the center of the cheese carefully, so that it is steady and standing upright like a tree. This will give the tree strength and structure.
  4. Next take the remainder of the cheese mixture and mold the cheese around the celery in the shape of a tree.
  5. Then using the mixture of herbs, gently press the mixed herbs onto the outside of the cheese. Then place in refrig for one hour to firm up and chill.
  6. Once the cheese tree form is cold, you can begin decorating the tree with pretzel sticks as branches, then slivered almonds dispersed around the tree, mini butter crackers, and finish with pomegranate seeds for colored lights. You can use your own creativity too, and add more edible things you have on hand that you love to adorn your tree! No rules with food art!
  7. Complete the scene with sprinkling parmesan cheese over the entire tree to look like snow, and top with a cheddar cheese star (use a ½ inch slice of cheddar cheese and a small star cookie cutter for this). To make your cheese star sit securely on the top of the tree, simply use a piece of a pretzel stick inserted in the bottom of the star, making it like a star cheese lollipop and insert it into the tree at the top. Chill for at least an hour or longer before serving. Serve with crackers, chips, pretzels, or
    any of your favorite munchies!

*Important Tip!
It is best to make this cheese tree the day you plan to serve it. But if you wish to make it a day or two ahead, then make the tree form and green herb covering ahead of time, and then simply chill it in refrig with plastic wrap covering gently around it. Don’t decorate the tree until the day of serving it because the pretzel sticks will get soft overnight.

Happy Holidays!

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