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Date & Blue Cheese Ball

['8 oz/225 g of low-fat cream cheese (bar style), at room temperature', '1 cup/115 g crumbled blue cheese, at room temperature', '1 tbsp reduced-fat buttermilk', '3 tbsp minced Medjool dates (5 to 6 pitted dates)', '1 tbsp minced shallots', '1 tsp grated lemon zest', '1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt', '1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper', '2 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley', '2 1/2 tbsp finely chopped toasted walnuts', 'Crostini', 'Baked Pita Chips', 'Baked Bagel Chips', 'Marbled Rye Toasts', 'celery and carrot sticks']

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese, blue cheese, and buttermilk on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the dates, shallots, lemon zest, salt, and pepper and beat until well combined.
2. Transfer the cheese mixture to a large sheet of plastic wrap/cling film and form it into a ball. Wrap the ball in the wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.
3. In a shallow bowl or plate, mix together the parsley and walnuts. Remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator. With the wrap/film still on, shape into a well-formed ball. Unwrap the cheese mixture and roll it gently in the nut mixture until all sides are well covered. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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