February 5, 2013

Cheese Ball Checkers

This is 'cheese ball' in two ways: It's NERDY, of course, and it has the cheesy deliciousness of cheese ball!
I have recently started teaching my son how to play checkers on my computer. Since I don't have an actual game board I thought I would make one that we could eat as a fun and tasty snack! I figured it would definitely be a memorable experience and he might remember the rules of the game better this way.

He's five....and learning quickly but loved, loved, loved being able to eat the 'checkers' after he jumped mine. Of course the rest of the family jumped in after a few moves to munch the 'checkers' and the game board too! It would be a fun appetizer for a party since one can't really disappoint with cheese ball!

You will need the following to make cheese ball checkers yourself:
- cheese ball - recipe follows
- olives - green and black (kalamata)
- triskets or other square crackers
- pumpernickel bread
- toothpicks
- large surface for the playing board

Cheese Ball
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sour cream
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, finely chopped
4-6 thin slices hard salami, diced
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts
1/2 c. finely chopped chives

-16 green olives and 16 black olives - you will only need 12 of each for the 'checkers' but you will need a few extra in case you get 'kinged'. Then you can add an extra olive to the top of the toothpick!

In a medium mixing bowl combine cream cheese, sour cream, onion, bell pepper, salami and cheddar until ingredients are well incorporated. Refrigerate 20 minutes.

Once mixture is cold (and slightly firmer) cut into 24 equal sized pieces and roll into balls.

Roll 12 of the balls in chopped walnuts and top with a green olive securing with a toothpick. Roll the other 12 balls in chopped chives and top with a black olive securing with a toothpick. Refrigerate until assembly time.

You don't have to use Trisket crackers and pumpernickel bread (I bought the pre-sliced cocktail bread) for the board but if you don't try and get items of contrasting colors and something that will taste great with cheese ball. The bread slices were larger than the crackers so I used a cracker as a pattern and cut the bread slices to be the same size.

Since a checker board is 8 squares by 8 squares you will need 32 crackers and 32 pieces of bread.

I used a large cutting board to assemble my checker board to make it easy to move but any sort of flat platter or board should work fine. Start with the first row and place every other one, bread, cracker, bread, cracker, etc. The next row would then start with cracker, bread, cracker, bread, etc. Making the classic checker board pattern. Continue until you have an 8 by 8 square.

Retrieve cheese ball bites from the fridge and place only on the first three rows of each side of the board and only on either the crackers or the bread to set up the game. You decide.

Youngest player goes first, of course, and so begins the game! If you don't know the rules of the game of checkers you can google it to quickly learn. I assume most people know how to play the game or maybe I am just getting old!! :)

Again, if you get 'kinged' add an extra olive.

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