Every pay day each grade level takes turns bringing in "payday treats" for the staff. It's such a fun little way to celebrate and certainly makes for a nice start to the day and end to the week. Some grade levels do a really bang up job (think made to order pancakes in a 50s diner) and others just throw some bagels on the table. Ive been a part of both styles, but last week we were fortunate enough to be paired with the school's art teacher.
She did a bit of research and discovered it was Penguin Awareness Day, so we ran with it as our theme. I so wish I had some pictures of the adorable little penguins she whipped up as centerpieces, but I wasn't able to capture them. For my contribution, I made an igloo cheese ball and black olive penguins. While this sounds a little complex and complicated, it really was pretty simple and straightforward and turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself. (These pictures are terrible. I took them in the wee hours of the morning while it was pitch black out. I'm so sorry for the poor quality.)
Igloo Cheese Ball and Black Olive Penguins
(adapted from Betty Crocker)
Ingredients for all steps:
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 oz pkg of blue cheese crumbles
- 2 blocks cream cheese, 1 softened, 1 firm
- 1/4 cup bacon crumbles (I used chopped fresh bacon - original recipe calls for bits)
- 1/4 t. red pepper sauce, plus a couple shakes, to taste
- 1 T milk
- 1 can jumbo black olives
- couple carrots for garnish
- Put cheddar and blue cheeses, softened cream cheese, bacon, and red pepper sauce into a food processor or stand mixer and blend until well combined.
- Line a small bowl with plastic wrap. Add mixture to bowl, making sure to press firmly so that it reaches all points to form the dome fully.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. (I did overnight and it was perfect).
(When ready to assemble the igloo. Also used for penguins.)
- 1 block cream cheese
- 1 T milk
- Cut 6-8 ice blocks of firm cream cheese block and reserve for the doorway.
- Mix remaining cream cheese with milk.
- Once cheese ball is set invert on serving platter. (You can ice the plate to make it look even more realistic.)
- Ice the igloo with cream cheese mixture, smoothing with a spatula.
- Using a tooth pick draw ice blocks into the icing. Start by making a circle on the top of the dome. Draw another slightly larger circle just below the top circle. Continue until entire igloo is completed. Add lines connecting the circles to make the blocks.
- Make curved, arched doorway with blocks of cream cheese.
- Add penguins.
- Slice one jumbo olive in half horizontally (like a hamburger fold for those of you with little ones :)...) for the heads. Using a toothpick, poke two holes in each for eyes and a hole for the carrot beak.
- Make a vertical slit in the other olives only on one side. Stuff with cream cheese mixture and close olive, leaving a bit of white peeking out.
- Slice a carrot into coins. Cut a notch into each carrot coin to make the flippers. Use the notch for the beak.
- Put all the pieces together and slide a toothpick through the top of the head all the way to the feet. (I would have loved to use the frilly topped toothpicks, but they didn't have them at the two stores I tried...)