A few months back, I showed you guys how to make a delicious, and slightly habit-forming brunch appetizer: an Everything Cream Cheese ball with bagel chips. Ever since, I’ve really wanted to make a sweeter version of that bagel and cream cheese combo. Blueberry lover that I am, I knew I wanted to invite a blueberry bagel to the party. Naturally, my next thought was a lemon pairing since the two are a match made in heaven.
I know there are plenty of lemon enthusiasts among us, but I would be willing to stick my neck out for the humble bagel to claim the lemon is a sidekick to the starring blueberry, and not vice versa. What do you think? Which of the two stands in the spotlight? Or are you just here for the cream cheese?

I would like to point out that the consistency and thickness of this cheese ball can be finicky if you’re not careful. If you’re like me and hate measuring ingredients, I recommend taking the few extra seconds to follow this recipe closely. If you add too much powdered sugar and it will be loose and sticky. On the contrary, if you don’t add enough, it won’t have the subtle sweetness we’re looking for. If you add too much lemon juice it will be thinned out and won’t hold its shape like a rich cream cheese spread should. I was sure to come up with proportions that lend just the right amount of sweetness and lemon flavor while still maintaining a nice thickness. It will do especially well if chilled overnight.

lemon cream cheese ball apples on top

LemonPoppyseed ball cutting WWM

Lemon Poppyseed cream cheese ball 

2 8 oz. sticks room temperature cream cheese
½ c + 1 Tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
Zest of 2 lemons
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp powdered lemon zest (optional)

1 ½ tsp poppy seeds
¼ tsp table salt ( or ½ tsp kosher salt)

Crunchy coating:
¼ c Panko breadcrumbs 
2 Tbsp. butter
1 ½ tsp poppy seeds
2 Tbsp coarse sugar (like Sugar in the Raw or sanding sugar) 

Other Ingredients:
Blueberry Bagels
Granny smith apple slices, tossed in lemon water

Lemon CC ball spreading bagel WWM

Using a stand mixer, electric hand mixer, or mixing by hand, slowly cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Mix in lemon zest and juice, poppy seeds, and salt. Once thoroughly combined, scoop out mixture onto a sheet of cling wrap and wrap into a ball shape. Place in a small bowl to help hold the shape, and refrigerate at least 4 hours, though overnight is recommended.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet on medium heat and add Panko. Stir every 3 minutes until breadcrumbs are golden brown, and remove from heat. Transfer breadcrumbs to a medium-sized mixing bowl and allow to cool. Once cooled, stir in poppy seeds and coarse sugar. Cover bowl with cling wrap and set aside. 

Turn oven’s broiler on low. Slice blueberry bagel into thick coins, about ½” thick. Place slices on a baking sheet and toast under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Toasting one side gives a nice crunchy-soft texture contrast. For a crisper chip, flip the slices over and toast the other side another 2 minutes, then remove from oven. These can be served room temperature or warm.

Lastly, retrieve the chilled lemon cream cheese from the refrigerator, and unwrap. Roll the cream cheese ball in the Panko coating mixture, covering the cream cheese as much as possible, while also shaping out cream cheese into desired spherical shape. Place on a serving platter and surround with apple slices and blueberry bagel chips. 

Lemon poppyseed CC ball apple spreading WWM

  I recommend serving this as an appetizer before brunch, but it can also be a refreshing snack or even a dessert. It will go great with my Mango Sorbet Mimosas

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