Goat Cheese Balls with Herbs, Pecans, & Bacon
6 slices bacon
4 ounces goat cheese
4 ounces cream cheese (not whipped)
2 tablespoons chopped thyme or basil, divided
Cracked black pepper
1/4 cup pecans
Apple slices, to serve
Cut each piece of bacon in half. Place the bacon in a large skillet without overlapping the slices, and turn the heat on low. Cook on low for about 15 minutes, turning frequently, until the bacon is quite crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pat the slices to remove excess grease.
While the bacon is cooking, whiz the goat cheese, cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of herbs, and a few turns of cracked black pepper in the food processor. Whiz until creamy and well-mixed, then form small balls, about the size of the tip of your thumb. Insert lollipop sticks. Put in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up a little more. (Don't let them freeze all the way; just help them firm up. You can also place them in the refrigerator for a longer period of time.)
Clean out the food processor. Crumble in the cooled bacon, the remaining tablespoon of herbs, and the pecans. Whiz until very fine and crumbly; it should be as fine as your food processor will make it.
Take the cheese balls out of the freezer and roll them in the bacon mixture, pressing it in with your fingers if it doesn't immediately stick.
Place the balls in a container on their sides and refrigerate until serving. Serve on full rounds of sliced apple. These are delicious eaten together with apple; take a bite of one and then of the other.
Extra-bacon option: If you aren't content to simply roll these in bacon, then fry an additional two strips of bacon and crumble them into the cheese mixture itself.