Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (Vegan & Gluten Free)


You’re going to “Fall” for these seasonal decorative cheese-balls!  These caramelized onion and cheddar cheese balls are Fall-ready with their easy edible decorations and taste even better than they look! The deep rich flavors are over the top delicious thanks to the addition of caramelized onions, roasted garlic, and your smokey cheese of choice-I love using the caramelized onion cheddar Trader Joes sells this time of year or their smoked gouda in this recipe. The edible decorations are easily made from go-to ingredients like almonds and ground chips in no time at all and transform these amazing tasting little cheese-balls into a beautiful seasonal and festive appetizer that will wow your guests and you the best part is you don’t have to tell them how easy they were to make! They are the perfect thing to gussy up a Fall cheeseboard or to serve as a solo appetizer when entertaining and easy enough even for a quiet wine and cheese night at home. Whose got their crackers ready to dive in? 

Active Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 10-45 minutes to microwave or oven bake potatoes
Makes: 4 large stuffed potatoes

Ingredients:

For Caramelized Onion & Cheddar Cheeseball:

  • 1/2 cup caramelized onions-recipe here
  • 1/2 head roasted garlic cloves or substitute with 1 medium clove fresh minced garlic
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated cheddar (I love Trader Joes caramelized onion and cheddar cheese or smoked Gouda cheese)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A couple sprigs fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems

Pumpkin Style Decoration:

  • 1/2 teaspoon Goya sazon with annatto (the annatto blend gives it the orange color)
  • 1/2 cup crushed pumpkin tortilla chips (I like Trader Joes) or substitute tortilla chips or crackers of choice
  • Stem removed from one bell pepper
  • or or jalapeño pepper for the pumpkin stem
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Pine Cone Style Decoration:

  • 1/2 cup whole or sliced almonds
  • Fresh thyme for garnish
  • Crackers for serving

Directions:

To make cheese-ball: Process chips and sazon together on high speed in a food processor until ground into fine crumbs. Remove and set aside in a small bowl for pumpkin style cheese ball.

Add all the cheeseball ingredients, caramelized onions through thyme, and mix in a food processor at high speed for 30 seconds or so until well blended. Remove  with a large square of plastic and form into two balls. Use plastic wrap to roll each ball as smooth as possible. Wrap each in plastic wrap and form one of the cheese-balls into a slightly elongated pine cone shape-wide rounded end narrowing into pointed end. Set in the fridge for a few minutes until chilled.

Remove cheese-balls from fridge. Unwrap the round pumpkin style cheeseball and roll in crushed pumpkin chip crumbs. Remove and set on a plate or platter. Using a toothpick or bamboo skewer press a curved line into the side of the “pumpkin cheeseball” applying pressure to the bottom first and then up toward the center. Continue creating the lines every inch or so working your way around the pumpkin to create the signature vertical grooves. Press a bell pepper stem into the  top of the “pumpkin” applying slight pressure into the center.

Next decorate the “pine cone” cheeseball. Unwrap the cone-shaped cheeseball and place on the plate or platter with the pumpkin cheeseball. Starting at the back end of the wider side of the ball, press  the wider end of the whole or sliced almonds down into the cheese slightly so the pointed end sticks up and outward. Continue working from the back to the front and along the side until the ball is covered. You don’t have to run the almond slices too close together and want to have the almonds within each row staggered off center slightly from the previous row-this helps create the pine cone effect.

Garnish both cheese-balls with extra sprigs of thyme and serve with crackers piled alongside, or as part of a larger Fall Cheeseboard. 


Enjoy this recipe or have questions? Feel free to leave a comment!

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