Buffalo Bacon Cheese Ball

Now that the holiday season is behind us, and we’re done roasting turkeys, mashing potatoes and sipping on bubbly, the next chapter of winter is upon us – the Super bowl! I, like so many others enjoy the Super Bowl for reasons other than the actual game itself. I love it because it’s yet another excuse to gather with friends and family, and allow ourselves to unapologetically eat copious amounts of finger foods – as if we haven’t had enough of that in the last three months.

Football fare is one of my favorite avenues of recipe developing, because it’s something that’s universally loved and no matter what the dish, my husband is always a little bit more enthusiastic about it than the typical meals I make for the two of us. Give him a chicken wing, some layer dip and a cold beer, and the guy will be completely content for hours on end.

This year we’re laying pretty low, and just watching the game at home with a couple of friends, but you can bet there will be enough food to feed an army, and this buffalo bacon cream cheese dip is sure to be on the menu. It’s funny, prior to marrying my husband, buffalo anything wasn’t even close to being on my radar, I never ate wings and I definitely never ordered buffalo chicken dip at a restaurant. Fast-forward four years later and my husband has completely converted me to a buffalo, wing lovin’ girl. I’ll take it any way I can get it – in pastas, dips, sandwiches, casseroles – you name it, I like it.

While most buffalo dips are of the chicken variety, I didn’t have any on hand, so I swapped out the chicken for crispy, salty bacon, and let me tell you, that impromptu change in ingredients, paid off enormously – if there’s anything that can make buffalo dip better, it’s got to be bacon, right?

The base starts off with a mixture of softened (low-fat) cream cheese and creamy gorgonzola that’s whipped together in a mini food processor, of course if you like large pieces of blue cheese in each bite, you can just mix the two ingredients by hand. The only reason I use the processor is because Kevin doesn’t love how potent blue cheese tends to be on its own, but does really enjoy the subtle tanginess it gives the overall mixture.

Once those two ingredients are mixed together, green onion, copious amount of crispy (center cut) bacon and of course, the star ingredient, hot sauce is gently folded in until everything is evenly distributed and combined. The mixture is then transferred onto a big piece of plastic wrap, molded into a ball and popped into the fridge until it’s once again solidified (which takes about an hour or so). If you have a little bit of trouble forming it into ball, place the plastic wrap in a small, round bowl and transfer the dip into the bowl. You can then fold the sides of the wrap on top, and pop it in the fridge. Once it’s chilled sufficiently, just pull the whole ball out of the bowl and invert onto your platter.

Once I’m ready to serve, I remove the plastic wrap from the dip, and cover it in an even mixture of sliced green onion and more crispy bacon. If you’re making this ahead of time, which you absolutely can do (up to three days in advance), just keep the ball chilled until just a few minutes before serving, and THEN cover with the sliced green onion and bacon, otherwise, the bacon will lose that crispy texture.

The perfect Super Bowl appetizer that will leave your guests begging for more!

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