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Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Bite-sized cheese balls — studded with dried cranberries and blue cheese crumbles — are rolled in toasted pecans and skewered with pretzel sticks for fun, easy appetizers!

Mini Cheese Ball Bites ~ easy appetizers featuring dried cranberries, blue cheese, toasted pecans, and pretzel skewers | {Five Heart Home} ‘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.

Mini Cheese Ball Bites ~ easy appetizers featuring dried cranberries, blue cheese, toasted pecans, and pretzel skewers | {Five Heart Home}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.

Mini Cheese Ball Bites ~ easy appetizers featuring dried cranberries, blue cheese, toasted pecans, and pretzel skewers | {Five Heart Home}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.

Mini Cheese Ball Bites ~ easy appetizers featuring dried cranberries, blue cheese, toasted pecans, and pretzel skewers | {Five Heart Home}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.

Mini Cheese Ball Bites ~ easy appetizers featuring dried cranberries, blue cheese, toasted pecans, and pretzel skewers | {Five Heart Home}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.

Mini Cheese Ball Bites ~ easy appetizers featuring dried cranberries, blue cheese, toasted pecans, and pretzel skewers | {Five Heart Home}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 ~ easy appetizers featuring dried cranberries, blue cheese, toasted pecans, and pretzel skewers | {Five Heart Home}

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Yield: Approximately 2 dozen cheese balls

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Bite-sized cheese balls -- studded with dried cranberries and blue cheese crumbles -- are rolled in toasted pecans and skewered with pretzel sticks for fun, easy appetizers!

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Tips, Tricks, & Variations

You can make the cheese balls ahead of time, but don't insert the pretzels until just before serving or they will become soggy.

http://fivehearthome.com/2013/11/24/mini-cheese-ball-bites/

Rewritten from Family Fun magazine, December/January 2014

In search of more festive recipes for the holidays?

Holiday Recipes from Five Heart Home1. Gingerbread Pancakes   2. Bacon Green Bean Bundles with Brown Sugar Glaze

3. {5-Minute, 5-Ingredient} Homemade Caramel Sauce   4. Savory Herb & Cheese Monkey Bread

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Five Heart Home: Cookbook Giveaway

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I always love hearing from you! ~ samantha {at} five heart home {dot} com

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The Online Bake Sale has now ended. Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by to support it!

Just a reminder that the Online Bake Sale for typhoon relief in the Philippines is TODAY!

bake saleStop by Pinay In Texas Cooking Corner starting at 8:00 a.m. CST today (Monday, November 25th) to bid on a variety of baked goods, which will then be mailed directly to auction winners’ houses! I’m donating a batch of Chewy Chocolate Caramel Blondies to the bake sale…

Chewy Chocolate Caramel Blondies ~ a basic blondie batter can be customized with your favorite add-ins | {Five Heart Home}…so if you’d like me to send them your way (or even customize them to your preferences), please come bid! The auction will be open for 24 hours.

Visit Pinay in Texas Cooking Corner for more information, to peruse all of the auction items, and to participate in the online bake sale as a bidder. Thanks so much for supporting this great cause, friends!

 

This post may be linked up to Live Laugh Rowe, Mandy’s Recipe Box, House of Rose, 4 Little Fergusons, Lil’ Luna, Uncommon Designs, SNAP Creativity, and these fabulous parties!

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Comments

  1. I just LOVE this idea! So beautiful! Pinned:)

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thank you so much, Julie…I appreciate the comment and the pin! Hope y’all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! :)

    • Amazing and simple! Making for New Years Party! Thank u!!!

      • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

        Yes, Donna! Simple is my favorite part… ;) So glad you came across this recipe and will be able to use it for your party. Enjoy!

        • Anything easy and good! Afraid I will eat then before I get there. I was a little confused on the amount of blue cheese it said 3/4cup or 3 oz. Actually 3/4 cup is 6 oz. So I used 5 oz contAiner. Perfect! Thank you for shaRing!

          • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

            I think it’s one of those things where 8 liquid ounces = 1 cup, but when you measure out the blue cheese crumbles, it only takes about 3 ounces (by weight) to fill a 3/4 cup measuring cup. At least that’s how it worked out for me! ;) Maybe different sized blue cheese crumbles measure differently depending on how tightly they’re packed? Regardless, I’m glad that a 5 ounce container worked perfectly for you! This recipe is pretty flexible in that the ingredients can be adjusted up or down according to your taste and it will still turn out great. :)

            Thanks so much for the comments and I hope you have a wonderful New Year!

  2. Mary Ellen says:

    I can’t eat blue cheese or Gorgonzola…can you substitute another cheese for the blue, maybe Feta?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi, Mary Ellen! Yes, I think you can substitute any cheese you like and these will still turn out great! I mentioned feta and grated cheddar as alternative options in the post, but I think the possibilities are really endless. You can even swap out different dried fruits and/or nuts if you prefer. Hope you enjoy these!

      • Sandy from Ft Worth says:

        I am sorry I just saw the above post to substitute shredded chedder, thats good.

        • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

          Hi Sandy! I’m glad you found the answer above before I could get back to you! I honestly think you could sub any cheese that you enjoy in this recipe. The final result is going to have a different taste and texture, but it will still be delicious! :)

  3. I am SO in love with these! totally making these for our holiday dinner. pinned

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks, Heather! I think they’re pretty fun. :) Glad they’re going to have a place at your holiday dinner! Thanks so much for the pin…have a great Thanksgiving!

  4. How brilliant! I love the balls on the pretzels! So cute and easy for a party! Pinned.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much, Lindsay! Hope you enjoy these…they’re fun to make and eat! And I appreciate the pin! :)

  5. What a fun appetizer! Love all the flavor combinations in this, might switch out the blue cheese bc I’m not a fun but totally pinning. Great recipe Samantha!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I totally get it, Krista…I only like blue cheese in moderation, but I didn’t think it tasted too overpowering in these between the cream cheese and the dried cranberries sweetening things up. In fact, even my 4-year-old ate them, which surprised me! But you can easily swap out the blue cheese for something milder and they would still be totally delicious. Thanks so much for the pin…hope you’re have a great Thanksgiving week! :)

  6. These are perfection!! What a wonderful dish to bring to a holiday party. I’d love for you to share this post with Life Created link party! This week’s party is now live :)

    Erin
    theviewfromfiveten.com

  7. I absolutely love this recipe and your pictures. A great idea for salad toppers too. Thanks.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much, Christine…I really appreciate your kind words! :) Hope you’re able to enjoy these soon!

  8. What a clever idea! Totally going to try it. I pinned it! -Michele @ Neat Little Nest

  9. These look amazing! What a fun appetizer!!!

  10. Oh my goodness, Samantha! Can I have some of these right now? They sound so tasty, and are such a great party appetizer! I can’t wait to try them, so thanks for sharing! : )

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much, Liz! The next time I make this recipe it will definitely have to be for a party, because I’m pretty sure that 90% of this batch was eaten by me! ;)

  11. Samantha this is so creative! I love the idea and the awesome flavors you put in there … I am SO making these :)

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thank you, Ann…I hope you enjoy these! They do have a nice balance of flavors and textures…plus they’re fun to eat! ;) Thanks so much for stopping by!

  12. These look fabulous. I am just wondering how far ahead they could be made-minus the pretzel stick?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi, Lianne! I think you could make these several days ahead of time and they’d be just fine. The pecans might not be quite as crunchy, but if that bothers you, you could always form the cheese balls ahead of time and then roll them in nuts and insert the pretzel sticks right before serving. Definitely don’t insert the pretzels until you’re ready to serve…they get quite soggy after sitting in the cheese ball for awhile. But otherwise, I think assembling these a good while ahead of time is totally doable! Thanks for the question…hope you enjoy!

  13. What a great idea! I love this!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thank you, Kathy! I think they’re pretty versatile for a lot of different types of holiday celebrations coming up in December! :)

  14. Congratulations…this post was featured on Create It Thursday #31! Thanks for sharing such a great idea last week!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thank you so much, Leslie! You have a great link party and it’s an honor to be featured. I appreciate you stopping by to let me know!

  15. Love everything about these! Would you PLEASE link to my Friday Favorites!! yum! laura

  16. Your cheese balls sound so yummy and easy too. Have a wonderful day.
    Candy

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thank you, Candy…I hope you have a chance to try them! :) And I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend…thanks for stopping by!

  17. Hi Samantha
    This will be featured on Friday Favorites at I’m Not a Trophy Wife.com. Thanks for linking up! Would love for you to link up again tonight!!! laura ps Great photos!!!

  18. These look wonderful. I just had a similar appetizer at an event and they used goat cheese for the cheese. My friend and I were trying to dissect the ingredients. I think they also used honey. I love blue cheese and will definitely try these sometime. They are so fun and easy to eat!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thank you, Dawn! I think you could miniaturize just about any cheese ball recipe (savory or even sweet!) and turn it into these little bites. Goat cheese and honey sounds delicious! Have fun with this recipe and have a great weekend…thanks for the comment! :)

  19. Samntha these look like FANTASTIC nibbles!!! Thanks for sharing. I cannot wait to try them for the holidays. Warmest, Nic

  20. This recipe will definitely not go unnoticed at any event. These cheese ball bites look insanely good!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much, Julia! I love this recipe because it’s tasty and impressive-looking yet easy to throw together…my favorite kind of recipe. ;) Hope you enjoy it!

  21. I love this idea! Do you think that these would freeze well (without the pretzel stick)?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Brianna! Many sources say that cream cheese can get watery if you freeze it and then thaw it. I do know someone who froze these and she said they turned out fine, but I’m pretty sure that she only froze them for a short period of time. So while I haven’t tried freezing them myself, I’m cautiously optimistic that it would work. But you’re right…leave out the pretzel stick until just before serving (it will get really soggy otherwise).

      If you end up freezing these, I hope you’ll come back and let us know how it worked out! Good luck…have a wonderful week! :)

  22. These are wonderful! Just whipped up a batch for Christmas Eve and had to of course sneak a bit. I used Gorgonzola instead (was on sale!) and man are they delish! I know my family will love these, thank you!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I am very happy to hear that, Inga! Thanks so much for stopping by to let me know, and I hope you have a very merry Christmas! :)

  23. These look so yummy! I pinned them and also just whipped up a batch for our NYE pre-party! I did a batch with blue cheese and a second batch with goat cheese! Pecans are in the oven now! So fun!!! Thank you for this easy, yummy recipe! I am sure everybody will love them!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I’m so happy to hear that, Toni! Your goat cheese variation sounds delicious as well. I hope these were a hit at your party last night! Happy New Year!

  24. love them! i add hint of cayenne pepper, black pepper and garlic salt to the cream cheese! adds a lil color and spice

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Oooo, thanks so much for sharing that, Sara! Those sound like delicious additions! :)

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