Cranberry Goat Cheese App - 3 ways!

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I love the combo of cranberry, goat cheese and walnuts and wanted to create a new bite size appetizer for the Christmas Party.  It was a risk trying something new for the party but hey; cooking for a crowd is the best way to know what people think.

First I’ll give you the recipe:

Cranberry Salsa:

1 bag fresh whole cranberries

1 jalapeño, chopped

¼ cup of fresh cilantro

¾ cup sugar

1 tsp cumin

2-3 TBs of chopped scallions or chives

¼ cup water

Dash of salt

Walnuts, chopped and toasted (portions vary depending on appetizer)

Goat cheese (portions vary depending on appetizer)

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The cranberry salsa must be prepared the day before to marinate. My little helper Nolan, was in the kitchen with me this time around and helped mix, and measure all the ingredients.  We added the first 8 ingredients to a large mixing bowl, and mixed.  We then let the salsa sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.   

The next day, put the salsa in a saucepan and bring up to a boil.  Remove from heat right away, cool and put back in the fridge. 

For the Goat Cheese Snowballs:

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Bring the goat cheese to room temperature.  While they’re cooling, place 1 cup of chopped walnuts in a blender and blend into crumb like pieces.  Use the cooled cranberry salsa from the fridge for this recipe.

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Put a tablespoon of goat cheese in the palm of your hand and flatten like a pancake.  Add ¼ tsp of cranberry salsa in the middle and fold over the goat cheese.  Lightly roll the cheese into a small ball and roll in walnut crumbs.  Serve cold and enjoy!

For the Dip:

Add  1-cup of goat cheese in a shallow pan and spread on the bottom, and then add ½ cup cranberry salsa on top and bake at 325 for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with 1/2 cup of walnuts.  Serve with Melba toasts or crostini.

For the Cranberry Bruschetta:

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Cut Italian bread into ¼ thin slices.  Spread out bread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and spread with a Tbsp of goat cheese and top with a ½ Tbsp cranberry salsa and a few walnuts on top.  Broil on low for 5-8 minutes.  The goat cheese seems to get creamer when melted and works well with the sweet tart cranberry salsa.

Overall, I think the Bruschetta is the best way to have the goat cheese, cranberry salsa combo, especially for a large crown.  But many guests also loved the snowballs.  No matter how you serve it, enjoy.  Oh, and very important, don’t skimp on the quality goat cheese you use. And most important, it’s better when you eat this festive appetizer 2gether during the holidays.