Goat Cheese with Spicy Maple Pecans

Deceptively deliciously appetizer with barrel-aged spicy syrup soaked pecans for effortless holiday entertaining!  

Distilled: Holiday Appetizer: Goat Cheese with Spicy Maple Pecans

Holiday entertaining can feel overwhelming, especially when you are hosting a big crowd or headed to a party and don't know what to bring. For us, one of the keys to actually enjoying this busy time of year is to keep things as simple as possible. That means often times using what we have on hand or tossing together dishes, cocktails and appetizers that don't require multiple steps or trips to different stores, but still deliver on the only thing we really care about - good flavor and time actually spent together!

The versatility of the majority of the gourmet products that we create is not an accident. The fact that we can (and do) use our classic Pappy Van Winkle Barrel-Aged Pure Maple Syrup, Spicy Maple Syrup and Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Pepper Sauce in everything from cocktails, to marinades to desserts is precisely why we crafted them. 

Our signature Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Pure Maple Syrup has been a staple our own personal kitchens, so we knew when we decided to make a spicy version that it had to deliver on the same multi-purpose promise and unparalleled flavor. Featuring the same rich flavor of our classic pure maple syrup with its familiar notes of vanilla, caramel and butter, but with the added infusion of our bourbon barrel aged ghost peppers for a subtly, smoky and sweet heat! Playing around with new recipes and trying out new flavors together is something we actually enjoy, and often times, the simpler the list of ingredients the better the outcome. 

That is true for this appetizer that is honestly good all season long, but we know it will be making its way to many a holiday gathering this year. The combination of creamy goat cheese blanketed in Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Spicy Maple Syrup soaked pecans with the fragrantly rich complementary rosemary and a final flourish of extra spicy syrup drizzle will delight your guests. Or bring to a festive holiday party and watch as it is immediately devoured and you can pretend it wasn't as easy as it was to throw together. 

Tip:this is best when chilled for at least an hour but even better when chilled overnight - so save the stress and make it ahead of time!

(Holiday entertaining & gifting bonus tip: Bring an extra bottle of Spicy Syrup as a host(ess) gift with a recipe card to ensure you stay on the invite list for years and years to come or delight your co-worker, friend, or teacher with a sweet and spicy surprise for a memorable and super simple holiday gift. 

Take the stress out of holiday entertaining with this simply delicious appetizer!
Louise Van Winkle Breen, Co-Founder

Ingredients For This Recipe:

  • 1 cup raw pecans, roughly chopped
    1/4 cup Spicy Maple Syrup
    2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    8 ounce log of goat cheese



1. Add pecans,  syrup, rosemary and salt to a skillet and cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until nuts are well coated and syrup is bubbly.
2. Remove mixture from heat and pour onto parchment paper to cool.  

3.  Line a ramekin with plastic wrap and fill the bottom of the ramekin with pecan mixture.  

4. Top the nuts with the goat cheese and press it down firmly using the plastic wrap to cover and press it down.  

5.  Chill for at least an hour or overnight.  

When ready to serve:  invert onto a platter and drizzle with more spicy syrup.  Serve with your favorite crackers!