Grape balls are tasty morsels that will delight your guests. No one anticipates the surprising grape and ginger flavors beneath the nutty brown exterior.
When I first started making grape balls in my two-butt kitchen at home, I used an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese and ginger, and a toaster oven to brown the slivered almonds. In my one-butt RV kitchen, I realized I could mix the cream cheese and ginger by hand and brown the almonds in a skillet. Then I found one more shortcut. Trader Joe’s sells toasted slivered almonds. Yipee! That’s one less pan!
The cream cheese needs to soft. Either let it sit unopened at room temperature for one to two hours, or cut it in chunks and put it in your microwave on defrost for 20 seconds at a time until it’s a mixable (not runny) consistency.
Preparation time: 20 minutes Total time: 50 minutes (includes chilling time)
- Food chopper to chop slivered almonds
Serves 5 to 10
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 heaping tbsp crystallized ginger, finely chopped
- 15 to 20 seedless green grapes, rinsed and dried
- 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Place cream cheese and ginger in a bowl and blend them together with a fork. Use a manual food chopper to dice the almonds into peppercorn-size chunks (or smaller). About 10 to 15 good whacks with the chopper should do it. (If you don’t have a food chopper, you can use a sharp knife, but be prepared for some of the pieces to fly across the room.) Put the chopped almonds on a plate or wide bowl.
Roll the grapes in the cream cheese to coat. Drop one grape at a time into the almonds and roll it around. Put grapes on a plate. Use one hand only in the cream cheese and keep the other one dry. Use the dry one to handle the uncoated grapes and to cover the coated grapes with almonds.
Chill for 30 minutes or until the cream cheese is firm.