Day 22 of "25 Days of Angels Baking Christmas Memories!"
Need a quick holiday hors de oeuvre? This one, made of cream cheese and pretzels, is about as tasty, easy and quick to make as any.
Mix a couple packages of cream cheese with sour cream, olives, onions, dried beef, a few herbs and spices, form it into a tree shape and frost it with sour cream.
Set it on a pretty Holiday plate. Stick pretzels in the sides to mimic pine tree boughs, sprinkle green sugars over it and lay the lumber (stick pretzels) at its base. Now you have a fun and tasty cream cheese ball in the shape of an outdoor pine tree.
I have used this recipe for many years, beginning when it was first introduced to me by my close work buddy, Linda. Our families used to spend many fun weekends together with other couples camping and boating on the Mississippi River as well as glamping (well before it was ever called glamping) and swimming at the beautiful lakes near Chetek, Wisconsin.
There are lots of wonderful memories involved with this delicious cheese ball, which is what it originally started out as. This year I have converted it to the shape of a Christmas Pretzel Tree, adding pretzels to mimic tree boughs, to be used this holiday season. It brings back so many warm and fun summer memories.
No pan needed, but a pretty 10” diameter Holiday plate to feature the tree with extra pretzels and crackers works nicely.
16 oz Cream Cheese, softened
4 T Sour cream
1 t Garlic powder
20 Olives, green, pimento stuffed, diced
10 Olives, black, diced
Onion, ½ small, diced
30 Pecans, diced
4 oz dried beef, spicy, diced
Decorating the tree:
Pretzels, 20 for decorating the tree
4 oz Sour cream – for frosting the tree
1 T Sugar sprinkles, green
Pepper, yellow, 3” square
Put up your Christmas Tree:
- Mix all ingredients, except the pretzels and the extra sour cream, until well mixed.
- Form it into a tree shape, using some plastic wrap to do the rolling and forming, in order to keep the cheese from sticking to your hands.
- Place the cheese tree on a pretty Holiday plate.
- Refrigerate the tree, unwrapped, for an hour.
- Frost it with the last 4 oz of sour cream.
- Stick about 20 pretzels all around the tree, slanting them downward. I use a knife on the opposite side of the tree from where I’m pushing a pretzel in, to keep the tree from bending or tipping over.
- Sprinkle the green sugars over the tree.
- Cut a 3” side off the side of a large yellow pepper and use a sharp knife to trim out a star to mount on top of the tree. Don’t worry about making it perfect. Use your creativity and make it a little wonky.
- You're done! Unless you want to add more “decorations” like tiny pimento pieces, red sugar sprinkles, etc. Use your imagination.
- Display with more pretzels around the base, along with crackers and a spreading knife.
Thank you, Linda, for introducing this long-lived recipe. It’s fun to make in different shapes and forms to fit any party or event. Who would have thought an old cheese ball recipe could be changed up to help “Bake your own Memories” during the Holiday Season?