This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Safeway. All opinions are 100% mine.
This festive pumpkin shaped cheese ball has flavors of white cheddar cheese, smoked bacon and homemade everything bagel seasoning. A fantastic make ahead party appetizer!
taste & texture
The cream cheese is dense, yet spreadable and swirled with finely shredded sharp white cheddar cheese and crumbled smoked bacon. The outer layer of the pumpkin is covered in everything bagel seasoning (poppy seed, white sesame seed, black sesame seed, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion, coarse salt).
Moisture on the cheese ball rehydrates the minced garlic and onion and when spread on a sturdy cracker or bagel crisp, this yummy pumpkin cheese ball provides a very satisfying, savory and salty bite.
shopping at Safeway
For this recipe, I headed to my local Safeway here in Seattle. In the deli, I grabbed an antipasto tray and Safeway’s tortilla chips (the best store bought tortilla chip in Seattle, in my opinion). Then I picked up some made-in-store guacamole and a bell pepper nearby in the produce department, four 8oz packages of cream cheese, a block of white cheddar cheese and bacon from the coolers, and hopped over to the bakery for some festive, freshly baked Halloween treats.
Grocery had all of the spices needed for today’s recipe, as well as an excellent selection of crackers. And of course I couldn’t forget to buy some Halloween candy!
With their freshly made and convenient grab ‘n go options, I spend less time shopping and prepping and more time eating and celebrating with my loved ones.
I shopped at Safeway in my local area, but you can also find quality grab ‘n go deli, produce, candy and bakery offerings perfect for Halloween at the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Randalls, Shaw’s Supermarket, Star Market, Tom Thumb and Vons.
Safeway also offers Grocery Delivery and DriveUp & Go™ for convenient ways to shop!
tips for making this cheese ball
Generally speaking, cheese ball is very easy to make. But here are a few tips and tools you’ll need for this recipe.
You’ll need some plastic cling wrap and kitchen twine, a way to mix everything (your hands, a cutting board or work surface, mixing bowl) and a means to cook the bacon and shred the cheese.
Set out the cream cheese on the counter for about 10 minutes before beginning so it’s easier to mix. Once the cheese ball is formed after mixing in the bacon and cheddar, flatten it slightly into a wide, round circle and place onto a sheet of cling wrap large enough for it to fully cover. I wrap mine so it’s smoothly pressed to the surface but isn’t too tight – in the next step it will need some give.
Cut four 16-18 inch strings of kitchen twine and cross each of them in the center creating eight equal sections. Place the wrapped cheese ball in the center then tie the strings in knots, pulling in tight to create pumpkin ridges. Continue with the remaining strings, smooth any hard edges with your fingers, and chill at least 30 minutes – 1 hour to help the cheese ball retain its shape. This is the easiest way to get a pumpkin shape and requires very little sculpting.
Before coating the cheeseball in seasoning, use your fingers to gently indent the center of the top of your pumpkin to create a slope towards the stem. The stem in this case is from a bell pepper, trimmed so that there is a 1/4″ root to nestle in the cheese ball. Another option is to use an actual pumpkin stem – save one from a carving session!
ways to serve
This recipe is best served with some sturdy crackers or bagel crisps, but pretzel thins, and crispy mini toasts are great as well.
For a lower carb option, serve with celery boats or cored mini peppers.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do and don’t forget to head to Safeway for the highest quality deli, produce, candy and bakery offerings for Halloween in the Seattle area!
until next time. x
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- 32 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup finely shredded white cheddar cheese
- 8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
- 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp white sesame seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
- 2 tsp dried minced garlic
- 2 tsp dried minced onion
- 1 tsp sea salt or coarse salt
- 1 bell pepper, any color, stem removed with 1/4″ root
- In a mixing bowl or on a large work surface, mix the cream cheese, white cheddar and crumbled bacon until fully combined. Form into a wide circle and wrap loosely with cling wrap.
- Cut four 16-18″ strings of kitchen twine and cross in the center, making 8 equal sections.
- Place the wrapped cheese ball in the center and tie the strings in knots, pulling in tight to create pumpkin ridges.
- Continue with the remaining strings, smoothing any hard edges with your fingers, and chill at least 30 minutes – 1 hour.
- In a small bowl, combine the poppy seeds, white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion and salt.
- Cut the strings on the cheeseball, remove the wrap, and gently indent the center of the top of the pumpkin, creating a slope.
- Coat the entire cheeseball in the everything seasoning mix to taste – there may be some left over.
- Press the bell pepper stem into the top of the cheeseball and let sit 15 minutes before serving with crackers or bagel crisps.
- plastic wrap
- kitchen twine
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: No Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: pumpkin cheese ball, everything bagel cheese ball, halloween cheese ball