red velvet “cheese ball”

For some reason, the term “cheese ball” is unappetizing to me — and that’s coming from a girl whose first word was “cheese” (and not because I was cute and my parents took lots of pictures of me). Maybe the objection comes from transposing the words. Is that gross? Too much for a food blog? I’m sorry. It’s been awhile; I’m a little rusty.

Aaaaanyway. I hosted a party a few weeks ago — one of those parties where a jewelry rep comes and your friends buy lots of sparkly things and you get some more sparkly things “for free.” I bribed them with grandiose promises of finger foods and desserts in exchange for their Friday night, and then panicked the night before when I got myself into an Iron Chef-like debacle, twirling around my tiny kitchen in an effort to complete 17 different dishes. Fortunately, everything came together, but — as is the case with just about everything I do — it wasn’t without issue.

One of my favorite things to come out of the party (other than my new bling) was this red velvet “cheese ball” dessert, which I found on Taste and Tell via Pinterest. Sadly, my photos did not come out as well; I wasn’t allotted the proper food photog shooting time because the minute this dessert hit the table, people were hovering around it. I managed only a few shots before the ball was demolished.

This was probably the easiest thing I put together for the party — just make sure you’ve set aside at least two hours for the ball to set. The only hitch came in the form of my own stupidity and inability to consider that chocolate melts when left in a hot car. Imagine that! I tried to salvage my little puddle of chocolate formerly known as mini chips, but it was hopeless. (Sadly, I did this again last week with chocolate melting wafers.)

♦8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. butter 
1-1/2 c. red velvet mix, dry
2 tbs. brown sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
Box of vanilla wafer cookies
Plastic wrap 

Combine cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer on medium speed. Add dry cake mix, brown sugar and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Tear off a big piece of plastic wrap. Drop mixture into the center and roll into a ball. Place in fridge for at least two hours. (I left mine overnight.) Lay out mini chocolate chips in a shallow dish and coat ball. Serve with vanilla wafers or other dippers.

Total time? 15 minutes prep, 2 hours rest.
Cost? $1.50 red velvet cake mix, $1 cream cheese, $2.99 mini chocolate chips (or $6 if you’re like me and have to buy another bag).
Overall success relative to expectations? 10 out of 10. As I’ve often stated, I’m not a huge red velvet fan, but I know people go gaga for it. I ended up liking this much more than I expected. The presentation was simple but impressive, and it was widely well received. Set this out at your next party and watch the people swoon.

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