Michelle Buffardi’s Gluten-Free Chilly Penguin

Countdown to 2014 Cookbook Giveaway: Day 8

This year I wanted to share my favorite cookbooks and health-focused books of 2013 with you from some of my friends. Since it’s the holiday season, they’ve decided to generously give away a copy of their books along with a recipe (see below!) starting today until the new year! Thanks to all of you for participating! To enter for your chance to win a book, just leave a comment below. The winner will be selected at random on January 2, 2014 and books will be mailed out to each winner shortly thereafter. Please note: This giveaway is available to U.S. residents only.

1/2/14: Please note that this giveaway ended on 1/1/14. All comments are now closed. Thanks for visiting! 

Now, I’d like to introduce my eighth guest and her book!

WHO: Michelle Buffardi
BOOK: Great Balls of Cheese (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2013)
RECIPE: Gluten-Free Chilly Penguin

Great Balls of Cheese

If you prefer a sportier penguin, set this guy on two slices of red bell pepper to make him look like he’s skiing, but if you want your penguin to chill, set him on feet made from sliced carrots.

Michelle Buffardi’s Gluten-Free Chilly Penguin

Yield: 15 to 20


16 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 ounces blue cheese

2 teaspoons chopped shallots

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Dash hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot

1/2 cup poppy seeds, for coating

2 dark raisins, 1 almond, 1 carrot, 1 red bell pepper (optional), and 1 scallion, for decorating

Gluten-Free crackers, for serving


  1. Using a stand mixer or a bowl and a spatula, mix together the cream cheese, blue cheese, shallots, salt, and hot sauce. Form the mixture into a ball and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Before serving, remove a 2-inch piece of the cheese mixture, roll into a ball, and set aside; this will be the penguin’s head. Re-form the remaining cheese mixture into an egg shape. Cut out a triangle shape roughly the length of your cheese ball from a sheet of wax paper. Press the wax paper into the cheese ball, with the widest part of the paper on the widest part of the cheese ball. Roll the cheese ball in the poppy seeds and set the ball on a plate. Slowly remove the wax paper; the ball should be covered in poppy seeds except for the penguin’s breast. Set the head on top of the penguin’s body and add the raisins for the eyes and the almond for the beak. Slice off 2 equal-sized rounds of the carrot and arrange them on either side of the head as earmuffs. Connect the earmuffs with the green part of the scallion. Using a vegetable peeler, peel 1 long strip off the carrot; wind this around the penguin’s neck as a scarf. Slice the remaining carrot into toes and arrange at the bottom of the penguin’s body to make its feet, or use two red bell pepper slices.
  3. Serve with crackers.


Excerpted from GREAT BALLS OF CHEESE, © 2013 by Michelle Buffardi. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Photo © Jason Wyche.





  1. Nicole Worrall on December 30, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I love the penguin cheese ball!

  2. April on December 30, 2013 at 11:12 am

    I love chees balls. The peguin is cute!

  3. Karen on December 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    how cute! that would be fun to make

  4. Kathy on December 30, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    This is adorable! I love anything made from cheese. 🙂 Thanks!

  5. Wehaf on December 31, 2013 at 1:33 am

    This is adorable – but someone has to eat that cute face!

  6. Venessa F. on December 31, 2013 at 2:33 am

    I love the cover on the book. This is a unique idea. I’d love to have this book!

  7. Brenda Gaines on December 31, 2013 at 5:04 am

    I put this book on my wish list too. I especially like Manchego cheese and am eating more goat and sheep cheese as I believe it is easier to digest, has less lactose, and more fat solids and minerals- plus it is recommended for Type ‘O’.

  8. Sharon on December 31, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Love this! Too Cute to eat! Great cookbook cover!

  9. Turq on December 31, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Our family’s favorite holiday treats are cheese balls! How great to have cool ways to present them!

  10. Amy Dodge on December 31, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Love this whole cookbook! Michelle’s recipes are fantastic!

  11. Cindy W. on December 31, 2013 at 4:22 pm


  12. Melanie on December 31, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    These are so cute. I know my kids would love to see these critters on the dinner table.

    • Silvana Nardone on January 15, 2014 at 7:16 am

      Hi Melanie! I’m happy to announce that you are the winner of this cookbook! Please email me at silvana@silvanaskitchen.com with your name and address information. Congratulations again!

  13. heath_phree on January 3, 2014 at 12:39 am

    So very cute!! cheesy goodness + adorable animals = best thing ever!