Jalapeño-Bacon Cheese Balls

A simple appetizer made with white bread. This perfect party snack from 1972 has been kicked-up by adding jalapeño and bacon to give these fun bites a zip.

Ingredients

4 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
½ cup whole milk, scalded (180°F)
2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese*
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten
2 - 3 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeño
3 slices cooked crispy bacon, finely chopped
1 slice white sandwich bread, crust removed, crumbled
Vegetable oil, for frying

Directions

  1. In medium saucepan, add bread slices. Pour scalded milk over bread and set aside until lukewarm. Place pan over low heat and stir with spoon until pasty. Remove from heat. 
  2. Stir in cheese and flour. Blend egg into mixture, mixing well. Stir in jalapeño, bacon and breadcrumbs.
  3. Allow mixture to cool. Use a small cookie scoop or rounded tablespoon to shape into ¾” balls. 
  4. In heavy, deep-fry pan, heat 2-inches oil to 350°F (use a candy or deep-fry thermometer to gauge temperature). Using a slotted spoon, lower one ball in the oil to see if it rapidly sizzles. Fry in batches of four, without over-crowding. Fry 1 ½ - 2 minutes; turning balls for an even golden brown.
  5. Remove balls from oil and place on paper towels to drain. Let oil return to 350°F before making the next batch. Check for doneness with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of cheese ball; it should register about 160°F.  
  6. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce. 

Yield: about 20 cheese balls.

*Shredded Parmesan cheese in a container or Three Cheese Blend (grated Parmesan, Romano and Asiago medium cheeses). 

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING (1 CHEESE BALL, 21g): 50 calories, 20 calories from fat, 3g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 15mg cholesterol, 125mg sodium, 4g total carbohydrate, 0g dietary fiber, 1g sugar, 3g protein, 8mcg folate, 1mg vitamin C, 0mg iron.