Aren't these just the cutest penguins? When I first made these back in 2008, I had plans to make a marching band of all eighteen penguins as called for in the original recipe. on Christmas morning. when I had nothing else to do :P. Silly girl. So, I modified my plan and made an igloo out of my favorite cheese ball recipe and smattered a reasonable amount of penguins around it. If you are equally insane, let's talk details.
Start with your favorite cheese ball recipe. Any white-ish recipe will do but this is my favorite. Reserve about 1 oz. of the plain cream cheese before you measure everything out, we're going to use that for our penguins. Mix up your cheese ball and let it get thoroughly chilled, this will make it easier to shape.
After your cheese is thoroughly chilled, set out a shallow container to put your igloo in. Sometimes I cover a cardboard cake circle with blue tissue paper, then cover over that with wax paper to make water under the igloo, but only on my special crazy days. You will also need 1 cup of finely shredded Monterey Jack to cover the igloo. I advise against pre-shredded because it is coated with stuff to prevent it from sticking together and adherence is what we're after here.
Portion out about 1/4 of your cheese ball and shape the remaining 3/4 into a ball, then use the portion you set aside to make a log shape. Place both pieces in your container and press the shapes together, smoothing the front portion into a half dome shape.
Sprinkle the Monterey Jack over the igloo, pressing slightly so it sticks to the igloo. Scatter the extra cheese around the plate and pretend you live somewhere where it might actually snow. Now, onto the penguins!
To make 5-7 penguins, you will need:
- 1 oz. of cream cheese, softened
- 1 can jumbo black olives
- 1 can small black olives
- 1 carrot, peeled, the middle part cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
- some toothpicks (they would be super cute with the frilly ones if I ever remembered to buy them)
Start by thoroughly drying the olives you want to use. Cut a slit, lengthwise, into the front of one jumbo olive. Gently open the olive and smoosh some cream cheese inside. I found that using a baby feeding spoon worked great for this. Don't worry if the cream cheese is messy, we'll clean that up at the end.
Cut a small wedge out of a carrot slice. Insert the small wedge into the end of a small olive. Place the jumbo olive on top of the carrot slice, then place the small olive head on top of that with the carrot wedge facing front. Gently spear through all three pieces and then gently wipe any smeared cream cheese off the body with a paper towel. Voila! You've created life! Well, maybe just kitschy appetizers ;) Not that I make a habit of this kind of thing.
Want to know what is equally exciting about these penguins? They are featured in a holiday slideshow over on Good Morning America's Yahoo page. Small potatoes to some, but a big deal to me.