An easy, impressive and crazy-delicious appetizer with butter-toasted pecans, fresh herbs and dried fruit, this Buttered Pecan Goat Cheese Log will wow everyone!
When you serve this Buttered Pecan Goat Cheese Log to family, friends and guests you'll hear lots of little sighs and words, like; "wow!", "yum". "whoa!", "mmm!". With creamy goat cheese crisp, butter-toasted pecans, fresh herbs, bits of dried cranberry (or other dried fruit) and a drizzle of sweet honey this is a crowd-pleasing showstopper!
I love having an appetizer that both grownups and kids enjoy, one that looks impressive but that's easy to put together and doesn't call for a lot of unusual ingredients. This Buttered Pecan Goat Cheese Log checks all the boxes!
What to serve with this Buttered Pecan Goat Cheese Log
I like to serve this goat cheese log with an assortment of crackers, but it's also delicious with crostini. To make crostini, simply slice up a small baguette, arrange the slices on a sheet pan, drizzle with oil and bake until crisp and golden. For those who are gluten-free or counting calories, a nice alternative option to crackers or crostini would be crisp celery sticks.
A few easy steps
How do you make this Buttered Pecan Goat Cheese Log? It won't take long, but here are just a few important steps. First of all, take the time (about a minute) to bring a cup of water to a boil in the microwave (or stovetop, if you prefer). Add the dried cranberries and let them "plump" for a few minutes. Then drain and set them aside to cool.
While the cranberries cool, melt a pat of butter in a pan. Add the pecans with a pinch of salt and stir, stir, stir until the pecans are golden and fragrant (2-3 minutes). Now, while the pecans cool, take out a sharp knife and chop up the cranberries and a handful of fresh herbs.
Just a few more steps... Combine the crisp buttery pecans, cranberries and herbs. Half of this toasted nut mixture is added to goat cheese, the other half reserved for rolling.
Place a piece of plastic wrap on a work surface, add the herby goat cheese and roll it up into a log. I like to chill the log at this point, in the refrigerator if I have time (30-45 minutes) or a short stint (10 minutes) in the freezer.
The final step is easy and fun. Spread the reserved pecan mixture out on a piece of plastic wrap, parchment or wax paper. Unwrap the chilled goat cheese log and roll until it's well coated. At this point, it's easy to shape into a nice log. All that's left is to pull out a serving platter and some crackers and wait for the "wows"!
The sweet crowning glory
You can serve this appetizer as is but, for a lovely presentation and flavor enhancement, drizzle a bit of your favorite honey over this Buttered Pecan Goat Cheese Log just before serving. The sweet, sticky honey pairs so nicely with the crisp, buttery pecans, bright fresh herbs and creamy goat cheese. It's the crème de la crème!
A delicious gift from the kitchen
For those of you who enjoy sharing homemade gifts with others, this makes a lovely gift with a nice box of crackers or a bag of homemade crostini. I've created two labels I like to attach when gifting this delicious savory treat. The first simply says Buttered Pecan Goat Cheese Log and the second gives serving instructions.
If you'd like to receive a free printable PDF of these labels, simply leave us a comment below in the comment area requesting the labels. We will email them to you. When you receive our email, simply click on the PDF and it will open up the PDF Reader on your computer. Then go to the menu at the top, click on the word "FILE" and you will see the option to print.
Bon appétit and happy entertaining!
Café Tips for making this Buttered Pecan Goat Cheese Log
- Feel free to vary the herbs in this recipe. Sometimes I sub fresh basil for the parsley. If you don't care for rosemary, exchange it for thyme. And although I think fresh herbs are best, in a pinch you could use a spoonful of Italian seasoning or herbes de Provence instead (you'll just need to back down on the amount since dried herbs are more concentrated than fresh).
- The same thing is true with the dried cranberries. Golden raisins, dried currants, dried apricots or dates would all be delicious in lieu of the cranberries.
- This recipe calls for an 8-ounce log of goat cheese. This will easily feed 8-12 guests as an appetizer. The recipe can be halved though, to feed a smaller number of people. Both 4 and 8-ounce logs of goat cheese are available in most larger grocery stores. Look in the specialty cheese area.
- Don't care for goat cheese? You could use this same recipe with cream cheese, although I might add some finely shredded Cheddar or Parmesan to pizzazz the flavor a bit.
- You can make this Buttered Pecan Goat Cheese Log a few days in advance and it will be delicious. However, if you're not in a rush, roll the log in the pecan mixture fairly close to serving time.
- Chopping the pecans for this recipe is no big deal, but to make things super easy when I'm entertaining and have a long list of other tasks, I like to keep a bag of these finely chopped pecans stashed away.
- I usually let my goat cheese sit out for 30-40 minutes to allow it to soften before adding the pecans, herbs, etc. but if I'm in a hurry, 10-20 seconds in the microwave does the trick nicely!
Thought for the day:
Then I heard every creature in heaven
and on earth and under the earth and on the sea,
and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne
and to the Lamb be praise and honor
and glory and power, forever and ever!
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon butter (I use salted)
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounce log of goat cheese softened
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- honey for drizzling
Bring a half cup of water to a boil in the microwave (or on the stovetop). Add the cranberries and let them sit for 2 minutes. Drain well and set aside to cool.
Heat a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the butter and swirl the pan until melted. Add the pecans and salt. Increase the heat slightly and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until the pecans are golden and fragrant. Remove from the heat and transfer the pecans to a medium-size bowl to cool.
Transfer the plumped cranberries to a cutting board and chop medium-fine with a sharp knife. Add the cranberries and chopped herbs to the bowl with the pecans. Stir to combine.
Place the softened goat cheese in a medium-size bowl and stir until creamy. Add half of the pecan mixture and stir to combine.
Place a sheet of plastic wrap (about 14-16-inches long) on a work surface. Transfer the goat cheese mixture to the center of the plastic wrap. Bring the plastic wrap up over the cheese and mold the mixture into a log shape (similar to the original goat cheese log). Refrigerate for 30-40 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes.
Place another sheet of plastic wrap or a sheet of parchment or wax paper on a work surface. Spread the remaining pecan mixture out to an even layer. Unwrap the goat cheese log and roll in the nut mixture, pressing gently to coat. Be sure to coat the ends too. Once the log is coated with the nut mixture, you can shape it again as desired. Refrigerate if making in advance.
To serve, remove the log from the refrigerator 15-20 minutes in advance then drizzle with honey before serving. Sprinkle with more fresh herbs, if desired. Serve with crackers, crostini or celery sticks.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips.
Recipe inspired by Carlsbad Cravings.