Right now fresh cranberries are at the height of the season goodness. They spring into full-blown deliciousness when combined with red wine, jalapeno pepper jelly (for a subtle punch of flavor) and a pinch of orange zest. The boozy tart taste of the cranberries is the perfect partner for rich, creamy goat cheese.
I’m a big fan of the goat cheese log! It’s always a crowd pleaser …looks impressive and is super easy to put together. I shared with you before one of my favorites Goat Cheese with Honey, Fig and Pistachios. I thought it would be nice to come up with something that would be festive for the holiday season, yet still be super easy to put together.
Cranberries are combined with red wine (your favorite variety) as well as jalapeno pepper jelly and a bit of orange zest. The jalapeno pepper jelly adds a subtle kick of flavor, or maybe I should say depth of flavor. Pepper jelly (you can find this at most grocery stores) is much milder than an actual jalapeno pepper…but if you like the heat, by all means you can substitute the real deal ( 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped).
The cranberry topping for this goat cheese log can be made ahead of time, and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 10-14 days. Any extra cranberry topping can also be used on lots of things!…like spooning over yogurt, as a sauce for pork or chicken, on a piece of toast with cream cheese, or a Panini with turkey and cheese. The options are endless.
The goat cheese gets rolled in sliced almonds and topped with a drizzle of honey, and the cranberry topping. A sprinkling of fresh chopped cilantro finishes off this festive, quick and easy appetizer.
- 8 oz. fresh cranberries (or frozen)
- ½ cup red wine
- ¼ cup water
- 2 Tbsp agave
- 2 Tbsp Jalapeno pepper jelly ( or 1 small jalapeno, diced)
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 8 ounce goat cheese log
- 2 Tbsp sliced almonds
- 1 Tbsp honey
- Cilantro, chopped for garnish
- Remove goat cheese from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 10 min.
- Stir together cranberries, red wine, water, agave, pepper jelly (or diced jalapeno) and orange zest in a medium sauce pan, over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Stirring occasionally, let cranberry mixture simmer until liquid is reduced by ¾. Cranberries will “pop” during this process and break down causing the mixture to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool for approx. 15 min.
- While cranberries are cooking, prepare the goat cheese. Place the sliced almonds on a small plate or in a shallow dish , roll the goat cheese in the nuts, gently pressing to adhere the nuts to the cheese, until all sides of the log are evenly coated.
- Place goat cheese log on a serving plate and drizzle the top with honey. When cranberries are cooled, spoon over cheese log. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.
- Serve with a sliced baguette or crackers.