Herbed and Spiced Goat Cheese Balls

January 9, 2011

I’m really late in saying this but Happy New Year!!  I’m curious – what did you all do?  We were lucky enough to have a night out this year.

I spent my 20’s feeling like New Year’s Eve was Very Important.  I had to be doing just the right thing, otherwise it was disappointing.  The problem is, I never figured out what just the right thing was so I was always disappointed.  I spent Y2K in an uncomfortable skirt, heels that were too high, at a very expensive party where they ran out of wine by 9:30, wondering why I didn’t lower my expectations a little.

Once I did, New Year’s became just another fun night out.  Or in.  Some of the best that I have spent have been with close friends in someone’s home.  Since having kids, going out has become a little trickier.  Our babysitters all have social lives and often they include big plans for the big night.  Occasionally, Randy’s parents come to town right after Christmas and we have built in babysitters.  Such was the case this year.

My friend Julie rallied a small group of us and we had a 9:30 reservation at a local favorite Cantinetta.  I like to eat late but 9:30 is pretty extreme for Americans.  We decided to have everyone come over to our house for a nibble and a glass of champagne.  Knowing a big dinner was on the horizon, I wanted to make something relatively small and light but substantial enough to hold us until dinner was served.  I also had a lot of cooking in my future and didn’t want to spend a whole lot of time on a nibble.

Because we entertain a lot and because I have catered several parties, I have a lot of appetizers in my back pocket.  But nothing seemed right.  In those cases, I turn to Martha Stewart and as usual, she had the perfect thing.  These little balls of goat cheese are about marble size and take no more than 10 minutes to prepare.  You can really roll them in anything.  I chose some things I had on hand – parsley, dill, pecans, black pepper, and took her advice for rolling them in paprika to get that stripe.

One Year Ago: Petites Pissladières
Two Years Ago: Poblano and Cheddar Stuffed Mushrooms

Herbed and Spiced Goat Cheese Balls
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook
Makes about 3 dozen

1¼ pounds soft goat cheese
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp. finely chopped dill
2 tbsp. finely chopped pecans
1 tbsp. freshly cracked black pepper
2 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Form 1 tablespoon of the goat cheese into a small ball.  Transfer to the baking sheet.  Continue with the remaining cheese.  Refrigerate the balls for 10 minutes to set slightly.

In separate bowls, place the parsley, dill, pecans, and pepper.  Roll several balls in each of the coatings and set aside.  To make the paprika band, sprinkle the paprika in a straight thin line on a cutting board.  Straighten the edges of the paprika with a knife.  Roll some of the balls down the line to form the paprika strip.

Pour the olive oil onto a serving platter.  Sprinkle the oil with the red pepper flakes.  Arrange the goat cheese balls on the platter and serve with toothpicks.


  1. These are such a beautiful appetizer. I too agree, in my 20′ New Years eve had to be a perfect night of drinking and getting dressed up. This year I sat on the couch in my jammies. I suppose I am getting old, or possibly turning into my Father (GASP)

    Comment by leslie — January 10, 2011 @ 1:51 am

  2. These look beautiful and delicious! Yum!

    Comment by MollyCookie — January 10, 2011 @ 3:48 am

  3. Oh, how I love goat cheese! These look perfect. And, I agree about New Year’s– this year was spent in heels much too high, in a hotel room much too expensive. Next year I should probably follow your lead.

    Comment by Sarah — January 10, 2011 @ 5:13 am

  4. Goat cheese balls?

    I am laughing! Sitting here at midnight looking at a goat’s balls.
    How pathetic my life has become.


    Comment by stacey snacks — January 10, 2011 @ 5:24 am

  5. Nice idea Dana and very effective. Love the striped one.

    Happy New Year!

    Comment by Jacqueline — January 10, 2011 @ 6:50 am

  6. These photos are TOO beautiful!

    Comment by Koek! — January 10, 2011 @ 11:27 am

  7. Love this! How pretty is that paprika rolled one? Couting down the days until I can eat safely goat cheese again!

    Comment by fresh365 — January 10, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  8. Sounds like a fun New Year’s! My friends and I had a very low-key party in my roommate’s boyfriend’s apartment. Some alcohol, some sushi and a lot of sitting around and just talking. Which really, is my kind of night. I do hate all the pressure that’s centered around new year’s to have to be in exactly the right place at the right time. It almost makes you feel guilty to just want to stay in with the people you love most. Which is crazy!

    These goat cheese balls seems like a wonderful appetizer. I like that you can mix and match the toppings for such a huge variety of flavors.

    Comment by Joanne — January 10, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

  9. Hi
    Such a great looking blog…
    Happy new year to you and your family…
    I have added you to my sidebar…

    Comment by mahek — January 10, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

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    Pingback by Tweets that mention Herbed and Spiced Goat Cheese Balls « Dana Treat – Treat Yourself -- Topsy.com — January 10, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

  11. Gorgeous! We always spend New Year’s with family and friends where everyone contributes delicious appetizers and we all stay the night so we can indulge and don’t have to worry about hitting the roads. Happy New Year!

    Comment by Emily — January 10, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

  12. I love these pretty cheese balls! I’ve enjoyed these at a party when a friend made them, but I’ve never made them myself. If I haven’t said it yet, happy new year to you!

    Comment by lisaiscooking — January 10, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

  13. I’d totally forgotten about these until I saw your post pop up. I made them for a friend’s baby shower, and they were a huge hit (even though they were decidedly not as lovely as yours). I love that Martha Stewart book. I don’t cook from it often, but I do turn to it a lot for inspiration. Tons of creative ideas in there.

    We spent our New Year’s Eve playing Beatles Rock Band on the xbox. I am so NOT a gamer, but man, it was really fun.

    Happy new year to you and your lovely family.

    Comment by cheryl — January 10, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

  14. Super elegant and that stripe is adorable!

    Comment by kickpleat — January 10, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

  15. These are so attractive. They are also gluten-free, which means I can serve them as an appetizer when my G-F daughter-in-law comes next week. Thanks for the recipe.

    Comment by Nancy Baggett — January 10, 2011 @ 11:24 pm

  16. ooooh!!! yes. I am ALSO a fan of that stripe!! Totally eye catching.

    Comment by tracy — January 11, 2011 @ 2:32 am

  17. Perfect cheese balls. I am going to have to try these out next time we are having peeps over for drinks. Very pretty, great photos!

    Comment by Chez Us — January 11, 2011 @ 3:39 am

  18. These are stunning! I am sure they taste amazing, too. Saving this for the next time we have company and I need something to entertain with!

    Comment by Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — January 11, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

  19. Well, I spent the first half of New Year’s Eve sitting in the laundry room with a baby, a cat, and a dog – we had bad weather complete with tornados and civil defense sirens! Luckily it by-passed us! We stayed in on New Year’s and with weather like that I’m glad we did!

    Comment by Lisa @ The Cooking Bride — January 12, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

  20. I love all the little appetizers you post from Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook! I must get that book. My favourite of these balls is the paprika striped one.

    Comment by Ashley — March 16, 2011 @ 7:00 am

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    Pingback by Herbed and Spiced Goat Cheese Balls | igoYOUgo — December 12, 2011 @ 3:52 am

  22. […] to your own imaginations. These were very easy to make and equally as good. I found the recipe on Dana Treat’s blog, where I often visit for inspiration and good food. Basically, just roll the cheese into a balls, […]

    Pingback by Slowly comes our Christmas « Lifeonthecutoff's Blog — December 11, 2012 @ 3:28 am

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