No tricks! Pin this post so that you can follow the easy steps to make Reuben The Cheese Ghost exactly the way the picture looks. If I can make him look like this, so can you!
Halloween is a fun time for parties, theme costumes and making cute food items you can decorate and eat. I have a costume party to attend coming up in a couple of weeks. Of course, I am bringing something to share. I want to bring something that everyone will eat. There will be plenty of organic, sprouted, homegrown-with-chia, flax and wheat germ items from my “healthy choices” friends. Last year we brought a dish that was such a hit that I will be bringing something similar again this year. That’s right. I’m busting out the cheese ball. My costumed friends - all said it was amazing.
So let me introduce you to the best “guest” you can bring to this year’s Halloween party! I’m going to show you how to make Reuben The Cheese Ghost for your Halloween party.
A good cheese ball begins with a base of 16 ounces of softened cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter in a mixing bowl. Turn on the mixer and beat at medium speed until creamy.
Once the mixture is creamy, take a measuring cup and remove 1 cup of the mixture. You will use this mixture to “frost” the cheese ball to make it look like a ghost. Place the mixture in a plastic bag (or just cover it with food wrap) and place it in the fridge for later. I used my collapsible measuring cups. It was so easy to pop the mixture out of the measuring cup; I didn’t even have to use the spatula to scrape the sides to get the rest of the mixture out.
Back to the cheese ball mixture! Add 2 cups of Swiss cheese (which is about 8 slices). The recipe calls for you to shred the cheese. I decided to dice it finely because I couldn’t find my shredder when it was time to make the recipe.
Last year I knew we had a winner of a recipe when my foodie friends asked, “What’s in this ghost? It’s so tasty…but I just can’t place the ingredients!” Here are the mystery ingredients and how Reuben starts to come to life:
Chop 1 cup corned beef and add in to the cheese.
Measure 1 cup of sauerkraut and drain the liquid. Not sure where to find sauerkraut? You can usually find the fresh style in the deli counter refrigerator case. Canned works, too, and is in the canned vegetable section. (I’m going to tell you a secret – I’m actually not a fan of sauerkraut, but I really like the taste of this recipe.)
After draining the sauerkraut, you will want to remove the excess liquid. I put the sauerkraut on a paper towel, placed another towel on top of it and rolled it with my rolling pin to squeeze out the rest of the liquid.
Then add the sauerkraut right into the mix. You may be concerned that the sauerkraut will overwhelm the recipe, but it doesn’t! It adds a complexity (ooh, listen to my Food Network language here) to the cheese ball that will make it super tasty (back to my usual language). Start mixing it all together.
The last ingredient to add is 3 tablespoons of Thousand Island dressing – it gives it a little zip!
The recipe also calls for 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds, if desired.
After the cheese ball is all mixed together, scrape down the sides of the bowl and start to form the mixture into a ball. I think this step will help you when you start to form the ghost later on. The main “shape” will be there to work with when you place it into the refrigerator.
Cover the cheese ball and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
When you are ready to make Reuben The Cheese Ghost, remove the 1 cup of reserved cream cheese mixture from the fridge (at least 30 minutes before forming the cheese ball). This will help it soften up a bit for easy spreading. Place the cheese ball mixture onto a plate and start to shape it into a ghost. Think like a kid…this is like working with molding clay, but much more fun!
I placed my hands on the middle of the cheese ball and started to squeeze the top half of the cheese ball inward and upward. This also makes the formation to Reuben’s ghostly arms as you can see the indention and nubby look to the bottom half of the cheese ball.
I then elongated the cheese ball at the bottom where the “arms” were. I knew I didn’t want them too long because I wanted the ghost shape to hold for a longer period of time and not worry about the arms sagging or falling down. With this recipe, you won’t have to worry about anything falling apart or not holding together. This cheese ball is intact when you make it. Besides, when you set this down on the table, everyone will snap pictures of Reuben and then they’ll all dig into him.
I proceeded to flatten him vertically a bit so he would be about 5 inches tall and 3 inches wide.
Ghost shape achieved! I know the website picture shows him leaning over in a ghostly way…I chose to make him standing straight up. I think the ghost sitting straight up was easier, but feel free to try the leaning ghost in the picture.
Now to make him more ghostly… You’re going to frost Reuben with the cream cheese base mix that you set aside when you started to make the recipe. Stir the mixture so that it is smooth and easy to spread.
The trick to a Pinterest-worthy ghost is to fully cover the ghost with the cream cheese mixture. If you use a thinner layer of the frosting, the chopped up corn beef shows through. After spreading the bulk of the mixture using utensils, I switched to using my hands for the detail work by the ghost arms and for smoothing the frosting at the bottom.
Next, take 2 black olives without pits and cut off the end with the larger hole. Perfect eyes! If you have any sort of small green pepper, green olives or even a jalapeño, cut a small slice and place it on Reuben for a mouth.
Reuben is ready to party! I chose to serve cocktail rye breads, as they were easy to spread the cheese mix onto, but you can use pita chips, rye crackers, pretzel chips or whatever sounds good to you. He’s going to look great on the table next to the creepy cut-out cookies and other Halloween recipes.
Now, I know what you’re thinking when you see these pictures: Pinterest projects… Ugh. No way can I re-create that. I am here to tell you that you can do this! I would love to see the versions that you come up with. Take a picture and post it to Instagram, tagging @landolakesktchn. We want to see how your Reuben turned out! This Halloween, try this tasty treat that doesn’t require any tricks to make. Reuben The Cheese Ghost is very cute, and you’re guaranteed to bring home an empty plate! Happy Halloween!
Alexandra is paid to write for the Recipe Buzz® Blog.