Preview: This Dessert Cheese Ball recipe is made of cream cheese sweetened with dates, then rolled in pecans, and served with crackers. Updated 2/13/21.
Dates are nature’s little sugar cubes, shaped like a miniature football and apparently soaked in God’s magic elixir. Dates provide the only sweetness in the recipe. No additional sugar added.
Ingredients and substitutions:
- CREAM CHEESE: Save calories by using Neufchatel cheese. Win friends by using the best quality cream cheese you can find.
- COTTAGE CHEESE: Cottage cheese adds lightness to the ball. No one will be able to discern this ingredient in the final product, I promise. Thick Greek yogurt could be substituted.
- LEMON JUICE: Lemon juice brings out the flavors. Use fresh juice if at all possible.
- DATES: Buy whole dates if you can. They are softer and taste fresher. But don’t miss removing any seeds. That would be a disaster. Dried mission figs are a possible substitution,
- PECANS: Toasting the pecans brings out the flavor. Not optional in my book. Make it easy on yourself and toast your pecans in the microwave. Substitute toasted walnuts (chopped) or toasted sliced almonds if you like.
What can I do with leftover dates?
I used to make a mini dessert by topping a ritz cracker with a date. I also love chopping and adding them to bread such as this Banana Whole Wheat Yeast Bread. Check out this apple butter sweetened only with dates.
What do I serve with a date-sweetened cheese ball?
Serve this sweet Cheese Ball with buttery crackers, or graham cracker
Fresh fruit on the tray makes the whole setup more interesting since there’s not much color to the cheese ball itself. Strawberries are at the top of my list.
How to assemble this Dessert Cheeseball recipe:
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p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: Paula at saladinajar.com.
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Dessert Cheese Ball Recipe with Dates
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- ⅓ cup cottage cheese - drained
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¾ cup dates - seeds removed, and finely chopped
- ½ cup pecans - toasted and chopped
- Combine cream cheese, cottage cheese, and lemon juice in a mixer or food processor until smooth.
- Stir in dates. If using a food processor, pulse only 5-6 times until mixed. Refrigerate until firm.
- Roll chilled cheese mixture in pecans. Make a ball or get creative. Find a small dish with an oval or square shape or even a funnel for a cone shape. Line with plastic wrap. Force cheese mixture into the shape of the bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.