Mini Cheese Ball Bites are studded with dried cranberries and blue cheese, rolled in pecans, and skewered with pretzel sticks for fun, easy party appetizers!
'Tis the season for holiday get-togethers, potlucks, and parties! That means that this time of year, from Thanksgiving right on through New Year's Eve, there are ample opportunities for delicious and creative appetizers. And today I'm sharing one that's not only quick and easy, but also fun and just a little bit different.
Everyone enjoys a good cheese ball, and this recipe simply miniaturizes that concept. After all, who doesn't love cute, bite-sized party food? Skewering each cheese ball with a pretzel makes these little gems easy to serve and eat. Furthermore, you can always customize the flavors to your liking.
As written, this recipe is simply softened cream cheese flavored with blue cheese crumbles and sweetened dried cranberries. After forming the mixture into bite-sized portions, each ball is then rolled in toasted pecans and inserted with a pretzel. The cream cheese neutralizes the blue cheese so that it's a bit less overpowering, and the cranberries provide a nice sweet contrast while the pecans lend some toasty crunch.
However, if you're not a fan of blue cheese, feel free to swap it our for a less pungent variety of cheese, like feta or even grated sharp cheddar. For that matter, you can substitute different dried fruit and nuts as well. Dried cherries with pistachios would be tasty, as would dried apricots with almonds.
Another yummy alternative would be to scatter these mini cheese balls (sans pretzel sticks) over a salad. I think that doing so would elevate a simple salad to something really special for a fancy holiday meal or dinner party.
So the next time you're asked to bring a munchy to a potluck or party -- or you're hosting a soirée yourself -- do yourself (and the other party guests) a favor and make these Mini Cheese Ball Bites! They require just a few ingredients and minimal effort for an impressive presentation and maximum flavor. Now tell me...what more can you ask of an appetizer than that?
Mini Cheese Ball Bites Recipe
Mini Cheese Ball Bites
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) blue cheese crumbles
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups pecans
- Pretzel sticks
- In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, blue cheese, and dried cranberries until smooth. Dampen hands to prevent sticking and form cream cheese mixture into approximately 24 tablespoon-sized balls. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or until firm.
- In the meantime, toast the pecans by spreading out on a sheet pan and baking in a preheated 350°F oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, for 7 to 10 minutes. Allow pecans to cool and finely chop them.
- Roll chilled cheese balls in chopped pecans, pressing nuts so that they adhere. Keep cheese balls refrigerated until ready to serve. Just before serving, skewer each cheese ball with a pretzel stick.
Recipe adapted from Family Fun magazine, December/January 2014.
Post originally shared on November 24, 2013. Video added in December of 2017.
More Festive Recipes for the Holidays
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- Holiday Honeycrisp Salad
- Slow Sugar Brown Sugar Ham
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