Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Old Fashioned Sausage Cheese Balls

Classic old fashioned sausage cheese balls made with baking mix, breakfast sausage and cheese.
Classic old fashioned sausage cheese balls made with baking mix, breakfast sausage and cheese.

Old Fashioned Sausage Cheese Balls

Old fashioned sausage cheese balls have been around for many years, and though some folks like to slam them for being unsophisticated, they have always been a good ole stand-by for any gathering or party that I've ever attended. They appeared on the tables of every single shower or wedding that Mama and her sisters ever catered. So easy to make, tasty and everybody loves them! And super simple ingredients too - in their purist form, simply baking mix (I prefer Pioneer brand buttermilk version), cheese and sausage. I've add a few seasonings, and it's always sharp cheese and Jimmy Dean hot sausage for me!

As always, in most cases, I do recommend that you grate your own cheese and this is one. Pre-shredded bagged cheeses are handy for topping pizza and covering casseroles, but they do contain stabilizers and fillers in them to keep the cheese from clumping back together after the shredding process. On the other hand, a block of cheese is, well, just a block of cheese! No fillers. No stabilizers. I rarely buy the bag cheese when I can buy it by the block and when I have a massive amount to shred I pull out the food processor, but mostly I use my box grater. Hey, between that and my cast iron, who needs the gym?!

These sausage cheese balls are just mildly spicy in my opinion, but if you don't want them spicy, simply substitute regular sausage and eliminate the cayenne pepper. On the other hand, if you like them spicy, go ahead and throw in some hot pepper sauce and some dried red pepper flakes. Either way, make lots - they go very fast. Here's how to make them, and as always, full recipe text with measurements, instructions and a printable pdf document are located further down the page. Just swipe or scroll past the step by step pictures.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease; set aside. Whisk together the baking mix, salt, pepper, cayenne or Cajun seasoning, sage and parsley. Add the cheeses and mix well, then stir in the raw sausage and 1/4 cup of the milk, adding only enough milk as needed to bring mixture together, but not be soupy.


Shape into small balls, about the size of a walnut, about an inch in size. I use a cookie scoop just to make it easier. Place on the prepared baking sheet, spaced apart about an inch.


Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until well browned, switching trays around in the oven halfway through if needed. Remove from oven and drain on several layers of paper towels. Can be served warm or at room temperature, as is or with a spicy orange dipping sauce or your own favorite.


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Recipe: Old Fashioned Sausage Cheese Balls

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 25 min | Yield: About 100 balls

Ingredients
  • 3 cups of baking mix
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or Cajun seasoning, or to taste, optional
  • Pinch of dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
  • 4 cups of hand-shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese (about 16 ounces total)
  • Palmful (about 1/4 cup) of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound of hot bulk pork sausage, uncooked
  • About 1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk, more or less
Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease; set aside. Whisk together the baking mix, salt, pepper, cayenne or Cajun seasoning, sage and parsley. Add the cheeses and mix well, then stir in the sausage and 1/4 cup of the milk, adding only enough milk as needed to bring mixture together, but not be soupy. Shape into small balls, about the size of a walnut, about an inch. I use a cookie scoop just to make it easier. Place on the prepared baking sheet, spaced apart about an inch.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until well browned, switching trays around in the oven halfway through if needed. Remove from oven and drain on several layers of paper towels. Can be served warm or at room temperature, as is or with a spicy orange dipping sauce or your own favorite.

Cook's Notes: I prefer to use Pioneer Buttermilk Baking Mix, hot Jimmy Dean sausage, and Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning. Use the spoon and level method to measure your mix, not the scoop method. Split the cheeses up, using 2 cups each of sharp and extra sharp cheddar, or sub in your favorite. Hand shred the cheeses rather than using pre-shredded bags as they contains fillers that will result in a dry sausage ball. May also substitute part cream cheese or prepared pimento cheese spread for some of the cheese. May also make ahead and refrigerate, or flash freeze in a single layer, then store in a freezer bag. Bake directly from the freezer at 350  degrees F, about 30 minutes, or until well browned and cooked through.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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