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Any food that gathers people around a communal space to enjoy and be merry is a sure-fire winner. A charcuterie or snack plate has become the go-to centerpiece at most gatherings, and I’m always looking for new and festive additions to have on my boards.
A cheese log is my new favorite. It’s a vintage staple, but this recipe updates the classic with more flavor and a complete seasonal look. The ingredients are fairly quick and use a simple, homemade cranberry jam. The balance of the various cheeses with the tart-sweet cranberry makes this a cheese log that everyone will remember!
The ingredients that make for the best cheese log
- Cranberries are the perfect fruit from which to make jam. They’re packed with natural pectin and become thick quickly. Plus, their tart flavor profile lends well to balancing the sweetness of other flavors and provides a depth to the cheese log.
- White wine, just a small amount, balances the tart cranberries with some acidity and also adds a nice flavor. If you do not like wine, you can use white grape juice and a splash of vinegar.
- Cream cheese is the main ingredient in most cheese logs. The creamy texture is the perfect carrier for herbs and spices and spreads easily on crackers.
- White cheddar cheese gives a strong cheese flavor against the cream cheese. Use a white sharp cheddar to stand up against the other strong flavors.
- Goat cheese is the surprise that nobody knew was needed. The slight earthy tanginess present in goat cheese really brings the log together.
- Prepared horseradish is essential to this recipe! Even if you do not like horseradish, the slight kick and balance it provides is needed. Just a little bit turns this cheese log into the perfect flavor combination.
- Onion powder and garlic powder are an homage to vintage cheese logs. Recipes today seem to not use these as much, but their flavor impact is perfect. There’s no raw flavor, simply a nice hint of the onion and garlic.
A cheese log may not have been first on your mind for your next party. But try this one and you will be forever in love. It’s fun to make and it leaves a delicious impression on anyone who tries it.
These are a vintage treat no more! Welcome to the new cheese log!
Watch how to make this cranberry cheese log
Cranberry Cheese Log
For the cranberry jam
- 4 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp white wine
- 2 tsp brown sugar
For the cheese log
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 4 oz sharp white cheddar cheese shredded
- 4 oz goat cheese
- 1 ½ tbsp prepared horseradish
- ¾ tsp onion powder
- ¾ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups chopped toasted pecans
For the cranberry jam
- In a 2 quart saucepan, combine the cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, white wine, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Simmer until the cranberries have burst and the mixture is thickened, 6-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.4 oz fresh or frozen cranberries, 1 tbsp orange zest, 1 tbsp orange juice, 2 tbsp white wine, 2 tsp brown sugar
For the cheese log
- Using a food processor, finely chop the toasted pecans until they are roughly ⅛-inch fine. Spread the chopped nuts on a small baking sheet and set aside.1 ½ cups chopped toasted pecans
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese on low until smooth, 1 minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the shredded cheddar cheese and goat cheese. Mix on low until combined and smooth, 1-2 minutes.8 oz cream cheese, 4 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, 4 oz goat cheese
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the horseradish, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and prepared cranberry jam. Mix until well combined, 1 minute. Pick up all but ¼ cup of the cheese mixture. Use hands to create a small log shape about 6 inches long and place it on the chopped nuts. Form the remaining cheese mixture into a miniature log and attach it to the larger one to form a natural-like shape. Press nuts over the entire cheese log and place in the refrigerator until firm, 4 hours.1 ½ tbsp prepared horseradish, ¾ tsp onion powder, ¾ tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt
- Once the log is chilled, it can be reshaped as needed. Place on a platter and service with crostini, crackers, or vegetables.