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About This Recipe
I brought this Caramel Pecan Dessert Cheese Ball over to my neighbors house the other weekend and it was completely devoured. And no one had even the slightest idea that it was lightened up!
Sweet cream cheese, crunchy pecans, crushed up graham crackers, all drizzled with sweet and salty caramel taste absolutely incredible together spread across your favorite treats like apple slices, cookies, and crackers. Plus, it’s full of great texture as well!
This really is the perfect fall dessert that everyone will enjoy. And it can also be made in advance, making it prep friendly.
And I’m always looking for easy dessert recipes to make for get-togethers. This Caramel Pecan Dessert Cheese Ball is one of my favorites, along with my Reese’s Peanut Butter Dessert Cheese Ball, Skinny Pumpkin Pie Dip or infamous Dunkaroo Dip!
Why You’ll Love This Caramel Pecan Dessert Cheese Ball
- It’s sweet and salty at its finest! Caramel, pecans, graham crackers, and cream cheese made for each other.
- Packed with incredible texture and flavor.
- Easy and quick to make!
- Make-ahead to make your life easier! I actually prefer it this way.
- A crowd favorite! Everyone will love dipping into this cheese ball.
- You’ll never know it’s lightened up!
- Cream cheese – I used a combination of fat-free and reduced-fat cream cheese. Fat-free cream cheese alone didn’t hold as well. Feel free to use whatever combo of regular cream cheese, reduced-fat, Neufchatel (Greek cream cheese), or vegan cream cheese you wish.
- Protein powder – To add a little punch of protein! I used PEScience Vanilla. I can’t speak for all protein powder brands, but you can’t taste this one at all aside from a subtle vanilla sweetness. For all PEScience products, you can use code Laurenfitfoodie to save 10% off your purchase.
- Confectioner’s sugar – I used Swerve Confectioner’s Sugar. Normal confectioner’s sugar or another calorie-free confectioners sugar blend would also work.
- Sweetener – I used Swerve Granular Sweetener.
- Pantry staples – Vanilla extract, lemon juice, and salt.
- Pecans – For a great crunch.
- Graham crackers – Makes another delicious topping. Soooo good!
How To Make
This is honestly one of the easiest appetizers ever to make. Just follow the simple steps below!
- Mix together ingredients. Mix all ingredients (except graham crackers and pecans) with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Wrap ingredient mixture in plastic wrap and form into a ball. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Coat with graham crackers and pecans. Put crushed up graham crackers and pecans on a plate. Remove cheese ball from plastic wrap and roll on plate until well-coated.
- Serve and enjoy! Place on a platter with cookies and crackers and serve. Enjoy!
Tips To Make-Ahead
This recipe is great because it can also be prepped the night before you serve it! I honestly think it tastes better if made a day ahead because the flavors have time to come together. This helps the cheese ball taste extra delicious!
To Make Ahead:
- Use an electric mixer to mix all ingredients together (except graham crackers and pecans) until smooth.
- Place mixture on top of plastic wrap, cover, and form into a ball
- Store in refrigerator overnight
- Before serving, roll in chopped pecans and crushed graham crackers until well-coated
- Serve on a platter with apples, graham crackers, cookies, crackers, or whatever suits your fancy!
There are so many options to dip into your cheese ball. The best part is that you can go the sweet AND savory route. My favorite ingredient to eat this with is graham crackers. But for the savory lover, Ritz crackers are delish! Here are some other ideas:
- Animal cookies
- Sliced apples
- Vanilla wafers
Can I make this cheese ball in advance?
Yes, this is a great recipe to make in advance! I honestly think it tastes better if made a day ahead because the flavors have time to combine together. To make in advance, just mix all ingredients together (except toppings). Then wrap and place in fridge overnight. When ready to eat, take out of fridge and add toppings and enjoy!
Why is my cream cheese lumpy?
You cream cheese may turn out lumpy if it’s still too cold. I highly recommend letting your cream cheese soften so that it will easily mix and create a smooth consistency.
Why do I need to use a combo of fat-free and reduced-fat cream cheese?
I used a combination of fat-free and reduced-fat cream cheese because I found that just fat-free cream cheese didn’t hold as well. The little bit of extra fat helps the cheese ball firm and hold steady. However, feel free to use whatever combo of regular cream cheese, reduced-fat, Neufchatel (Greek cream cheese), or vegan cream cheese you wish here.
- 8 oz reduced-fat cream cheese (226g) softened
- 8 oz fat-free cream cheese (226g) softened
- 1/4 cup Swerve confectioners sugar (36g)
- 2 Tbsp Swerve granular sweetener (24g) or other sweetener of choice
- 1 scoop peanut butter cookie protein powder* (32g)
- 2 Tbsp peanut butter powder (16g)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- 3 Tbsp chopped pecans (24g)
- 4 sheets cinnamon graham crackers (62g) crushed to crumbs
- 2 Tbsp caramel sauce (35g)
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- Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
- Add the protein powder, confectioner’s sugar, granular sweetener, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt; mix again until combined.
- Line two pieces of plastic wrap in an “X” and place cream cheese mixture in the middle. Wrap/twist it up, and form it into a ball. Use a twist tie or rubber band to secure and maintain the shape of the ball. Refrigerate for at least one hour. For best results, refrigerate for 2-3 hours (even better if you prep it the night before!
- Spread graham cracker crumbs and pecans in an even layer on a flat plate/surface. Unwrap chilled cheese ball and roll onto crumbs to coat. Gently press crumbs and pecans into any non covered spots.
- Transfer cheese ball to platter. Drizzle with caramel sauce. Surround the cheese ball with cookies, crackers, fruit and any other dippers that sound good. Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition is hand-calculated and accurate. No autocalulations! However, note that values can vary based on the brands you use and if you substitute ingredients.