Special thanks to Harvest Stone for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
A delicious and simple-to-make holiday appetizer: pistachio-crusted goat cheese ball/log with fresh herbs and dried apricot
My toddler had a Thanksgiving “mini feast” at his preschool this week and as parents we were asked to send our kids with a healthy snack they could share with their preschool friends. I had just recently made a few of these cheeseballs for an event and happened to have a couple bags of dried apricots left-over.
So I packed the apricots in his backpack and sent him on his way.
That day when he came home from school I asked him how his feast went, and he responded, “Ummmmm. Nobody liked my apricots. Can I bring carrots or bananas next time?”
I had no idea dried apricots would be so unpopular! They are one of my family’s favorite snacks!
Although apparently dried apricots are a no-go for preschool feasts, these cheese balls with dried apricots have been very popular with everyone that has tried them! I recently took them to an event and they were a big hit:) But the best part is: they are ridiculously easy to make. In fact, there are only SIX ingredients (besides salt and pepper!): goat cheese, cream cheese, dried apricots, fresh thyme, pistachios, and chives.
To make, you simply mix everything together besides the pistachios and chill the mixture in the shape of a ball or log. Once it’s set, roll it in those chopped pistachios and served with some delicious crackers!
And the crackers I’m loving as of late? Harvest Stone(R) crackers.
They’re gluten-free, organic, whole grain, and a perfect supplement to any recipe this holiday season!
In addition to these crackers being gluten-free, this cheeseball is also gluten free – just ensure you check the labels on the cream cheese to confirm the brand you’ve chosen is in fact gluten-free. Since my sister is gluten-intolerant, this is the dip and crackers combo I’ll bring to any holiday celebrations we’ll have! It’s also a safe bet if you’re bringing it to a party and aren’t sure about others’ dietary restrictions.
Here are some quick tips to make the BEST Cheeseball:
- Use fresh herbs: this recipe only calls for two (thyme and scallions) so make sure you get them fresh for the best possible flavor!
- Make sure the apricots are fresh: feel through the bag before you purchase to ensure the apricots are soft and feel fresh. If they aren’t, it will make for hard bites in the cheeseball.
- Make sure the cream cheese is softened to room temperature. To soften the cream cheese quickly, place a completely unwrapped package of cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 10-15 seconds, check, then microwave for an additional 10-15 seconds as needed. You don’t want it at all melted, just heat it up to room temperature.
- If you can’t find pistachios already roasted you can roast them yourself for LOTS of additional flavor. To toast pistachios in the oven, spread the nuts in single layer in a baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 6-8 minutes or until just fragrant. (More information here).
More Holiday Favorites:
A delicious and simple-t0-make holiday appetizer: pistachio-crusted goat cheese ball/log with fresh herbs and dried apricot
- 8 ounces good quality goat cheese
- 1 package (8 ounces) full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons scallions or green onions, finely chopped
- 3 teaspoons fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped
- 1/2 cup roasted and salted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
- Freshly cracked pepper and salt, to taste
- Harvest Stone Crackers, for serving
Allow the goat cheese and cream cheese to come to room temperature (soften the cream cheese in the microwave for just a little if needed) and then place in a bowl attached to a stand mixer.
Beat the two until just combined.
Add in the finely chopped dried apricots, finely chopped scallions or green onions, and chopped fresh thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste (remembering the nuts are also salted).
Beat until the ingredients are combined and then scoop the mixture onto a large sheet of plastic wrap.
Using the wrap, knead the mixture together and form a long log or cheese ball. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or until firm. (I like to chill it overnight to allow the flavors to really meld!)
Coarsely chop the shelled pistachios on a cutting board and then unwrap the cheese ball or log right on top of the chopped nuts. Roll the ball around and use your hands to gently attach the pistachios to the ball or log until it is completely coated in nuts.
Serve with crackers!
*Total time doesn't include chilling time for the cheeseball which is a recommended overnight period.