Need a last-minute finger food for your party? To make these Mini Cheese Balls on a Stick, toss the ingredients in a food processor, form little balls, roll in finely chopped nuts, and skewer with a pretzel or toothpick. Easy!
6ozcrumbled blue cheese(¾ cup, or other strong cheese--grated smoked cheddar is also good)*
12 - 24pretzel sticks,gluten-free pretzel sticks, if necessary
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and toast for 7-10 minutes, just until fragrant, watching carefully. Allow to cool, then chop finely in a food processor or by hand. Remove and set aside. Clean food processor.
Cut the cream cheese into cubes and add to the food processor bowl. Process until smooth, scraping the sides with a spatula.
Add the cranberries and pulse just until the cranberries are slightly chopped. Add the blue cheese and pulse until just combined. If you process it too long the cheese mixture will take on an unappetizing blue tinge.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dampen your fingers and roll balls of the cheese mixture about ¾ to 1 inch in diameter. They should be small enough for a single bite. Roll in the chopped pecans and place on the parchment paper. Chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
Just before serving, insert a pretzel stick in the middle of each ball. If you insert it too early, it will turn soggy.
Make this your own creation! What other kind of cheese can I use? These cheese balls are one creamy bite, perfectly balanced with the sharpness of blue cheese and the sweetness of cranberries. Use cream cheese as a base, but if you don't care for blue cheese, substitute another strongly-flavoured cheese, like aged cheddar or smoked cheese. Add a small amount of cheese at first, taste, and add more to your liking.Can I use different dried fruit besides cranberries? Try chopped dried apricots or dried cherries and roll the cheese bites in finely chopped salted pistachios or pumpkin seeds.What else can I roll these cheese balls in? Try different nuts, like walnuts, almonds, or pistachios. Keep these nut-free by rolling them in bacon bits.