Goodness, gracious! Great balls of... spinach? Yes, among many other things.
Recipe balls, food rolled into little balls, are the most convenient and
most appreciated party food going. They can be appetizer, finger food, side
dish, or dessert. Good for the guests, good for the host, too. (i.e. Don't
worry if your cake comes out lopsided... you're just going to roll it into
little balls anyway!)
It all started with the popularity of the Cream Cheese Balls recipe and, forgive me, snowballed from there. So here come the ball recipes with spinach, cheese, sausage, coconut, vodka, stuffing, popcorn, shrimp, peanut butter, rice, potatoes, chocolate, eggs, curry, and more. But, sorry, no great balls of fire.
Many of the more savory recipe balls are even better with a little sauce. Check out the dipping sauce recipes and pizza sauces. Ball rolling tip: Often, dampening your hands with water facilitates rolling by keeping the mixture from sticking to your hands.
1 cup softened butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional
In a mixer or by hand in a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Gradually stir in the flour. Fold in the nuts. Roll the mixture into 1" balls, setting the balls on ungreased cookie sheets about 1" apart. Bake in a preheated 350° oven until lightly browned, 15 minutes, give or take. Cool partially and roll the butter balls in confectioner's sugar. If you like, give them a second sugar coating when they're completely cool.
Note: If you use all-purpose flour instead of cake/pastry flour, you'll end up with round-top cookies; they will still taste good but won't hold the ball shape. Makes about 3 dozen.
Peanut Butter Balls
1 cup peanut butter, your choice of creamy or chunky
1 cup honey
1 cup powered milk
1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar
1 - 2 cups shredded coconut, mini chocolate chips or chopped nuts, optional
Line a baking sheet or two with waxed paper and set aside.
Cream the peanut butter and honey together in a medium bowl.
Combine the powered milk and sugar and work it into the peanut butter mixture.
Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls, then roll or toss the balls in the coconut,
chips or nuts. Place them on the baking sheet(s) and refrigerate until firm, an
hour or two. Serve chilled. Makes about 30 peanut butter balls.
Dip in melted chocolate or candy coating the way you would strawberries
or cake pops.
1 pound ground sausage
2 cups baking mix (Bisquick is good)
2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup minced green onions or yellow onions
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Plop all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly combined. Roll the mixture tightly into 1" balls and place them on greased baking sheets. Bake in a preheated 375° oven until browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 3 to 4 dozen.
Curry Chicken Balls
Served cold, these need to be refrigerated for about 24 hours to set, but will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Nice make-ahead feature.
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups chopped roasted almonds
3 tablespoons minced dried fruit (mango is nice)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1 heaping tablespoon curry powder
1 cup shredded coconut
Mix the cream cheese and mayo together in a medium-size bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients except for the coconut. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, until firm. Roll the chicken mixture into 1-inch balls and roll the balls in coconut. Cover well and refrigerate for 24 hours. Serve cold. Makes about 3 dozen.
8 cups melon balls (1
cantaloupe, 1 honeydew, and 1 small seedless watermelon)
1 cup fruit flavored vodka (lemon and raspberry are good)
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup triple sec
Soak the melon balls in the vodka mixture in the
refrigerator until well-chilled, covered, at least 2 hours. Stir occasionally.
Transfer them to the freezer just until partially frozen. (Be sure to use a
freezer-proof container.) Serve in a bowl with small picks or on skewers.
(Pictured at top)
1-1/2 pounds peeled, deveined shrimp (about 2 pound with
4 green onions or scallions
2 (8-ounce) cans water chestnuts
1 thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled
4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
2 to 2-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs, divided
2 teaspoons rice wine, rice vinegar or sherry
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 beaten egg whites
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon sesame or truffle oil
Vegetable oil for frying
Mince the shrimp, scallions, water chestnuts, and garlic. In
a large bowl, combine 1 cup of panko crumbs with the minced items and the
remaining ingredients except for the panko and vegetable oil. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and roll the balls in
panko crumbs. Fry in hot oil, (350° - 375°) turning, if necessary, until golden brown, about
3 or 4 minutes total. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sweet and sour sauce,
seafood sauce, or plum sauce, if desired although they are really good without it. Makes about 4 to 5 dozen shrimp balls.
That's a start. I'll be adding more recipe balls to
the list regularly. For now, the balls are in your court.