Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sausage Balls

Yes, another snack and appetizer post.  I have been cooking real food too; check out my What's for Dinner? page to see what we've been eating.  But my focus lately has been our holiday favorites.  These sausage balls are another tradition from my family, a perennial favorite at my mom's annual holiday open house and one of our must-haves for Christmas morning brunch (the only rule- no flatware required.  Keep those hands free for opening presents!).

While I've seen variations of these a lot of places around the internet, with different ratios of sausage to cheese to baking mix and types of cheese and sausage, my mom first started making this more than 20 years ago from a recipe in the high school booster club's Jaguar Cookbook. 

Sausage Balls

What's in them:

2 c. baking mix
4 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I use sharp with the sage sausage and mild with the hot sausage)
1 lb. bulk sausage (I like to use hot or sage sausage)

How to make them:

In a large bowl, combine all three ingredients.  I usually put them in the bowl in the order they're listed to keep the baking mix from making a dusty mess.  Knead the mixture by squeezing handfuls to form clumps, then break up the clumps and repeat until everything is thoroughly and evenly mixed.  This usually takes about 10 minutes (and can be pretty therapeutic).

When you're done kneading, roll into 1" balls, about a generous tablespoon for each, and spread them on a baking sheet that fits in your freezer.  Freeze sausage balls (they'll hold their shape better when you bake them), and store frozen in an airtight container or bag.

To bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake sausage balls until cooked through and browned, about 15 minutes.

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