Mini Chive Blossom Cheese Balls With Chive Picks

Photo: Jena Carlin

½ cup colby cheese, shredded

½ cup smoked gouda cheese, shredded

½ cup mascarpone or cream cheese, softened

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2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp spicy brown mustard

1 tsp maple syrup

¼ tsp black pepper

3 tbsp fresh chives, minced

1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced

1 tsp basil leaves, minced

1 tsp lemon verbena leaves, minced

¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted, finely chopped

2 chive blossoms, purple or white, petals preserved

2 chive blossom stems, cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces

½ whole honeycrisp apple, cut into ¼ inch slices

For cheese balls, in a small mixing bowl, combine colby cheese and next six ingredients (gouda cheese, mascarpone, butter, mustard, maple syrup and pepper). Blend with a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Form cheese mixture by heaping tablespoons into balls. Place balls on a sheet pan lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for one hour or until firm. Meanwhile, make herb coating.

In a small bowl, combine minced chives and next 5 ingredients (parsley, basil, verbena, almonds and chive blossoms). Stir to combine. Place cheese balls in herb mixture one at a time. Lightly pressing mixture into each ball. Return balls to sheet pan. Place chive picks in the top of each ball, cover and refrigerate for one hour. Serve cheese balls on apple slices and enjoy.

6 servings.

From the cookbook Herbs for Flavor, Health, and Natural Beauty by Jim Rude and Jena Carlin (Hobble Creek Press)

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