- 24 oz. (3 8-oz. packages) cream cheese, room temperature
- ¾ c. mayonnaise
- ¾ c.. finely chopped cooked bacon or chopped sautéed pancetta
- ¾ tsp. dried dill
- ½ tsp. garlic salt
- 3 green onions, roots and tough greens removed, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp. white pepper
- ½ lbs. whole unsalted skin-on almonds
- Fresh rosemary sprigs, evergreen tree sprigs and a few fresh cranberries for garnish
Place cream cheese and mayonnaise in bowl of a mixer. Mix on medium speed to combine.
Add bacon or pancetta, dill, garlic salt, green onions and white pepper. Mix on medium speed to combine.
Place a large piece of plastic wrap on a work surface. Scrape the cheese mixture onto plastic wrap. Mold cheese into a pine cone shape (or two smaller pine cones). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight to firm the cheese.
While cheese ball is chilling, toast the whole almonds. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place almonds in an even layer on a baking pan. Roast until fragrant, between 5 and 7 minutes. Remove and cool.
When ready to serve cheese ball, remove it from refrigerator and place on a serving tray.
Starting with the smaller end, begin making rows of almonds, inserting only a small portion of each almond in the cheese. Decorate with rosemary, evergreen sprigs and a few fresh cranberries.