Monday, December 15, 2014

A New Twist On A Holiday Favorite

Every family has food items that they associate with the Christmas holiday season.  I know our family has to have cheese logs, Chex party mix, smoked cheese, potato soup mix, dipped pretzels, and sausage balls.
Recently I found a new twist to make sausage balls and tried the recipe out this afternoon. The traditional recipe that I've used for years is just a mixture of Bisquick, grated cheddar cheese, and bulk sausage.  The new recipe included cream cheese and hash brown potatoes.

Here's the recipe as seen online:
Sausage & Hash Brown Balls
approximately 60
  • 1 lb hot sausage, uncooked
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups Bisquick
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 (30oz) package frozen shredded hash brown potatoes (about 4 cups)
Preheat oven to 400F.
Mix all ingredients until well combined. (I use my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook attachment) Roll into 1 1/2-inch balls. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until brown.
Sausage balls may be frozen uncooked. If baking frozen, add a few minutes to the baking time.

Here's the way I made it today:
Sausage and Hash Brown Balls

1 lb. sausage, uncooked
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups Bisquick
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
14 oz. potatoes, peeled and grated **

Using my KitchenAid mixer and dough hook, I thoroughly mixed all the ingredients.  Then I used a cookie scoop to form the balls, placed them onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper and baked them in a 400° convection oven for 15-20 minutes until they were golden brown.

**I weighed out 14 oz. of potatoes on my kitchen scale since I didn't have any frozen hash browns on hand.  I peeled them and grated them with my food processor, placed the grated potatoes into a large bowl of water and rinsed off the excess starch.  I drained the potatoes in a colander, then placed them in a kitchen towel and wrung out all the excess water.

The addition of cream cheese and grated potatoes made the balls much softer and did change the flavor slightly.  They don't have as much sausage flavor as the old recipe in my opinion.  I sampled them fresh out of the oven while still piping hot and then later after they had cooled completely.  The flavors had developed more after they cooled.  

Not completely convinced that I'll abandon my old stand-by recipe at this point. These are definitely good, and adding the cream cheese and potatoes stretched the recipe out and made more balls, but I prefer a stronger sausage flavor. The added potatoes did seem to absorb some of the grease from the sausage so the balls were less greasy.   I'll give the updated version one more try and use less grated potato or try commercially prepared hash browns.  Freshly grated potatoes may have more moisture than frozen hash browns and that would definitely affect the outcome of the recipe.

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