As much as I enjoy entertaining at home during the holidays, it’s often more fun to be a guest. Someone else is cleaning their house and setting the stage for good food and merriment…all that is requested of me is to bring an appetizer and at times a bottle of wine for pairing. I have a history of holding hot (and often drippy) appetizers while walking down the street or desperately hoping that the treats in my car don’t tip or spill while on my way to the party destination. This year it was time for a change!
When I found this simple, delicious, and spill-proof recipe for Mini Cheese Ball Bites I knew that had to make them for our neighborhood’s annual Christmas gathering. They were a rousing success especially when I shared the always festive Banfi Piemonte Rosa Regale 2013 ($20), a perfect all-occasion sparkler. From the Brachetto grape grown in Acqui Terme, Piedmont, Italy the color was a gorgeous, holiday cranberry red with subtle aromas of raspberries, roses, and fresh strawberries wafting from the glass. More juicy red fruits were on the palate along with crisp acidity and a fresh, dry finish. Its profile complemented the cranberries and blue cheese; it was difficult not to have a sip or two with each taste of the Mini Cheese Ball Bites!
Everyone at the party requested this recipe and information about the Banfi Piemonte Rosa Regale 2013 so I’m happy to make this bustling season that much easier for you all. Cheers!
Mini Cheese Ball Bites
- 8oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 3/4 cups blue cheese crumbles (about 3 ounces)
- 3/4 cups dried cranberries (finely chopped)
- 1 1/2 cup 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 them out on a sheet pan and baking in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, for 7-10 minutes.|
|Allow pecans to cool and finely chop them.|
|Roll chilled cheese balls in chopped pecans, pressing nuts so they adhere. Keep cheese balls refrigerated until ready to serve.|
|Just before serving, skewer each cheese ball with a pretzel stick.|
Enjoy the holidays! ~ Cindy
The dark cherry red color and aromas of rose petals, ripe red berries, and a hint of minerality led to tastes of the same with some juicy apple on the clean finish.