Goat Cheese Bacon Pops

Easy goat cheese bacon pops! Such a fun and festive appetizer for any party or holiday gathering. Make-ahead. Gluten-free.
Ingredients

Main Course
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (lower fat is fine here, if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon mild honey
  • Pinch dried chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries (cranberries, blueberries, or other tart dried fruit works well, too)
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh herbs (I used parsley and chives)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted pecan halves
  • Appetizer skewers

For the salad:
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut in half
  • 1/2 pound green beans, preferably haricots verts, ends trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 to 4 heirloom tomatoes of varying colors, sliced into thick rounds
  • 2 medium ripe avocadoes, sliced
  • Kernels from 2 medium ears of cooked corn (about 2 cups)
  • Leaves from 1 head Boston lettuce, or salad greens of your choice
Directions
  • Cook the bacon: In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Drain on a paper towel. This can be done several days in advance; store in the fridge until needed.
  • Make the cheese mix: In a food processor, combine goat cheese, cream cheese, honey, chili flakes (if using), a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Blitz for about 30 seconds, then scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse a few more times to fully combine. Transfer to a small bowl and freeze for 10 to 20 minutes, until firm but not frozen solid. (The cheese can be mixed up to 2 days in advance; store in the fridge.)
  • Make the bacon topping: While the cheese mix is chilling, clean your food processor to make your filling. Place the dried cherries in the food processor and blend in 1-second pulses until they’re chopped into tiny bits. Add herbs and pulse another 5 or so times. Add bacon and pecans and pulse until the mixture looks crumbly. Do not over-mix or you will end up with bacony nut butter. Transfer coating to a bowl.
  • Roll the cheese into balls: Remove the cheese mixture from the freezer and roll into twelve little balls (a scant tablespoon each). Wetting your hands in cool water helps to cut down on the mess.
  • Roll the cheese balls in the bacon topping: Gently press the coating into the cheese to make it stick.
  • Stick a small stick or skewer into your cheese balls and store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. The pops are best the day they are made, but will keep just fine in the fridge for several hours before serving.

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