Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Faith and Begorrah!
I’ve mentioned several times before that I am a founding member of the Phoenix chapter of Les Dames d’ Escoffier. Our March meeting was an appetizer pot-luck and I made these fun and savory pimento cheese lollypops to share.
No matter how cute and tasty they may have been, they could never compete with the out-of-this-world Fried Chicken that Charleen Badman, chef/owner, of the ever wonderful FnB, brought to the meeting! So darn good! But since I don’t have the recipe for Charleen’s chicken, the recipe for the lollypops will have to suffice.
Pimento Cheese & Bacon Lollypops
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 8 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
- 4-ounce jar diced pimentos, drained
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 12 ounces bacon, finely diced cooked until crisp (1 ¼cups after cooking)
- 1 ¼ cups finely chopped pecans, toasted *
- 1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
- Pretzel sticks **
- Carrot and celery sticks
In a large bowl, use a hand-held electric mixer to beat the cream cheese until smooth. Whip in mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic salt, onion powder, and cayenne.
Mix in the cheddar cheese and pimentos until well combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until firm.
In a medium bowl, combine cooked bacon, toasted pecans, and cilantro.
Using small cookie scoop, form into balls. Roll each cheese ball in the bacon-pecan mixture, pressing the mixture into cheese so that the balls are covered completely.
Refrigerate cheese balls until firm, and keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Just before serving, insert a pretzel stick, carrot stick or pretzel stick into each cheese ball.
Makes about 32 cheese balls
*To toast pecans: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread out on a dry baking sheet and toast in preheated oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 6 to 8 minutes. Allow pecans to cool completely before using.
**You can make the cheese balls up to 24 hours ahead of time and you can even insert the carrot or celery sticks a few hours ahead, but do not insert the pretzel sticks until just before serving or they will get soggy.