by Julie Snyder
Penguins -- you'll find them on wrapping paper, Christmas ornaments or your favorite pair of pajamas. Now you can find them on the buffet table.
A display of marching, cream cheese and olive penguins gets folks laughing! We think it's worth the effort just to see the looks of delight. They're perfect for a kids' party and a gathering of the young at heart.
One you've spent make the penguins, you can simply plate them or create a true masterpiece! How about adding an igloo carved out of a cheese ball or creating a cauliflower "ice-flow" with a ranch dip?
Don't forget to make baby penguins! Fill a single olive and set on top of carrot feet with large whole facing up. Insert a toothpick through center to pin it to the "feet." Set the "beak" into the cream cheese sticking out of large whole.
Cream cheese and olive penguins
Prep time: 30 minutes | Total time: 35 minutes | Yield: 20 to 25 penguins
• 1 can jumbo black olives
• 1 can small black olives
• 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
• 1 carrot
• pimento, sundried tomatoes or red pepper slices (optional)
• ranch dip mix or herb flavored dip mix (optional)
Cut a slit from top to bottom, lengthwise, into the side of each jumbo olive. You may have better luck if you remove a small lengthwise wedge of olive flesh. Insert about 1 teaspoon of cream cheese into each olive.
Slice the carrot into 1/4-inch thick rounds, one for each penguin. Cut a small notch out of each carrot slice to form feet.
Save the cut out piece and form into a beak. Cut a tiny slit in the center of each small olive and insert the carrot sliver to form the beak. Make all the pieces and set aside.
To construct a penguin, add a dab of cream cheese on a carrot "foot" and set a jumbo olive, large hole side down. Then, set a small olive onto the large olive, adjusting it up so the beak, cream cheese chest and notch in the carrot line up. Secure it all with a toothpick.
Add pimento or marinated sundried tomato "scarves" and red pepper "top hats" if desired.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Filling the olives may be easier if you pipe in the softened cream cheese using a sandwich bag.
If the beaks give you problems, trying cutting the leftover section in half and insert them slightly vertical instead of horizontal.
To transport the penguins, push the toothpick into a foam board or egg carton to hold them in place.
How would you plate these little troopers?
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.