What’s not to love about finger foods? Bite-sized snacks just make a party more fun, am I right? These adorable mini cheese ball treats have pecans, cranberries, cream cheese and blue cheese! Top them off with a little pretzel stick for serving, and they’ll be the hit of your next party…. next to the jello shots that is! 🙂
If you have the ingredients on hand, I think these are pretty easy finger foods to whip up last minute. I found and modified the recipe for Mini Cheese Ball Bites on Five Heart Home – thanks!
I usually try to buy organic ingredients whenever possible, and I was able to find pecans and cranberries in the organic bulk section of my local grocery store. I forgot to put the bag of pretzels in the photo, but I suppose they are optional anyway. They just make the cheese balls look so adorable, and it’s much easier to eat them with the sticks.
I didn’t have quite enough pecans, so I added cashews as well. I also added more dried cranberries to my version because I found an extra container of them in my cupboard after I had already bought some. Plus, I was winging it a bit, and it worked out thankfully.
Ingredients for the mini cheese ball finger foods:
- 250 g (8 oz) container of cream cheese – room temperature
- 3/4 cup (3 oz) of blue cheese – I used that entire chunk pictured above
- 3/4 cup of pecans (I also added cashews) – toasted
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries – chopped
- pretzel sticks
Chop the dried cranberries until they are nice small chunks. I used a mini food processor and it did the job. They were a bit sticky, but easy to work with still.
In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, the blue cheese, and the dried cranberries until smooth. Then, dampen/wet your hands to prevent sticking, and form the cream cheese mixture into approximately 24 tablespoon-sized balls. I think the balls I made were a bit smaller and that worked really well. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or until firm.
While you are waiting for the cheese mixture to chill, you can toast the pecans/cashews by spreading them out on a cookie sheet pan and baking them in a preheated 350°F (177°C) oven until lightly toasted and fragrant – so about 7 to 10 minutes. Allow the pecans/cashews to cool, then finely chop them. I used my mini food processor for the chopping again.
When ready, roll the chilled cheese balls into your chopped nuts. Don’t be afraid to press a bit firmly to get the nuts to stick. Keep the cheese balls refrigerated until you are ready to serve, and then just before putting them out, skewer each cheese ball with a pretzel stick. If you put the pretzel sticks in too early, they will likely get soft and mushy.
Five Heart Home offers some great suggestions for making different variations of the cheese balls, like using feta or sharp cheddar instead of blue cheese, and/or using dried cherries with pistachios, or other fruit and nut combinations. I love those ideas, and I’m inspired to try a caramelized walnut with the blue cheese, or maybe a feta cheese and pine nuts combo? Yum!
If you make your own mini cheese ball finger foods, please let me know how they turn out. Share in the comment section below what combination you try, or would like for me to try. Enjoy!