Throughout De-licious-cember many of us go to holiday events, family gatherings, and ugly sweater parties and are often required to bring a little something to nosh. If you’d don’t want to bring the boring veggie tray or bake yet another sweet, bring a cheese ball. It’s the go-to holiday edible offering and almost everyone likes it. You can simultaneously wow Aunt Clara (who also brought a cheese ball, but of inferior quality by far) and keep things modern with a twist on the Southern classic.
Back home in Texas, my step-mom is the queen of jalapeno poppers. If they’re in season, and let’s be honest…its always jalapeno season in Texas, they are thrown on the grill stuffed with something spectacular, or whatever we have in the fridge. One of her best compilations was a homegrown jalapeno stuffed with cream cheese and a whole pecan (and some were wrapped in bacon!). I’ve translated that ultimate popper into a two-bite cheese ball that looks über awesome skewered on a thin pick. Add, bacon if you’d like or make them even spicier with peppers in the cheese.
Jalapeno Cheeseball Bites
makes about 2 dozen
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp white pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup pecans, chopped fine
2 jalapeno peppers sliced crosswise
1. Mix cheeses, Worcestershire, and spices in food processor (or, if by hand, let cheeses come to room temp). Refrigerate for 30 mins or until firm again.
2. Using a small stainless steel ice cream scoop (mine is about the size of a small melon baller, you could also use one of these), make small balls, quickly rolling in between your palms to even out. Roll each bite in chopped pecans to cover. Continue till all the cheese mixture is used.
3. Carefully pierce a round of jalapeno on a thin toothpick, pushing it towards the top of the pick. Stick this on top of a pecan covered cheese bite. Serve at room temperature.
Note: If you don’t prefer the sharp bite of fresh jalapenos you could alternatively use pickled jalapenos or even quickly grill or roast a couple of jalapenos and then slice.
Cheeseballs just got way cooler. Happy De-licious-cember 14th.