What can I say? Miniature chocolate chips are really good. They made an appearance in the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles and since I had quite a few leftover, I felt the need to recreate a recipe for a chocolate chip cheese ball that my dear friend, Angie, had introduced me to over the holidays. In my mind, chocolate chips = good, and chocolate chips + cream cheese = great! Really, what isn't improved by the addition of cream cheese? I put this together for my baby's First Birthday and it was a hit! * A quick note, you can adjust the amount of powdered sugar and butter depending on if you prefer a less sweet, more dip-like consistency (that would be me, especially on a day I knew I would be eating ) or if you would like to be able to form it into an indulgent, traditional-looking cheese ball.
Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball Dip
12 oz (1 1/2 packages) reduced fat (Neufchatel) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons softened butter (go crazy and use up to a 8 tablespoons for a richer taste and sturdier consistency)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4-1/2 cup powdered sugar (to taste, see note above*)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup miniature chocolate chips
If you're rolling the cheese ball, 1 cup finely ground pecans or crushed chocolate graham cracker or cookie crumbs
For dipping, graham or animal crackers (chocolate are especially good--I found a HUGE bag of Stauffer's brand chocolate animal crackers for $1.99!), pretzel sticks or apple slices
In a medium mixing bowl, combine butter and cream cheese and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and brown sugar and mix until well-combined. Slowly add powdered sugar in small increments, beating after each addition and tasting for desired sweetness. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill thoroughly. Can spoon it into a bowl and serve with dippers at this point.
If you would like to form it into a ball, place cookie crumbs or ground nuts on a large plate. Use well-greased hands to form chocolate chip mixture into a ball (it may still be soft and messy, but that's okay). Transfer to plate and roll around in the crumbs (can also pat them on) until well covered. Move the cheeseball to a serving plate and keep chilled until ready to serve.
And, because who doesn't love a picture of a baby enjoying Birthday cake (ok, maybe that's just me...):
|Happy 1st Birthday, Judah Bubba Doo!|