This post is sponsored by McCormick® but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
Tender, cheesy, Chorizo Apple Sausage Balls – the easiest-to-make, must-have appetizer for your next snack board! Pairs perfectly with sips of my warm, heady Roasted Cinnamon Apple Cider Sangria.
Roasted Cinnamon – a new tradition!
I’m always on the lookout to experiment with exciting new flavor profiles. Especially when it comes to putting my spin on a traditional appetizer recipe like sausage balls. Chorizo Apple Sausage Balls – made with chunky apple sauce for convenience, and my homemade Mexican Chorizo Spice Blend (inspired by) for maximum flavor control!
Recently spotting the new McCormick® Roasted Cinnamon at Meijer sent me down a rabbit hole of culinary inspiration. Cinnamon is commonly used in savory Mexican dishes. It pairs beautifully with fragrant spices like cumin and coriander. McCormick® Roasted Cinnamon has more depth, mellowing cinnamon’s classic sharpness into toasty undertones. Which plays very well with the fresh-ground ancho chilies in my chorizo spice mix.
Mexican Chorizo Spice Blend
- 1 1/2 tbsp McCormick® Ground Cumin
- 1 tbsp McCormick® Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp McCormick® Roasted Cinnamon
- 1/2 tbsp McCormick® Ground Coriander
- 1/2 tbsp McCormick® Whole Mexican Oregano
- 1 tsp McCormick® Thyme Leaves
- 1 tsp McCormick® Ground Cloves
- 1/2 tsp McCormick® Fennel Seed
- 1/4 tsp McCormick® Crushed Red Pepper
- 2 McCormick® Bay Leaves
- 5 McCormick® Whole Black Peppercorns
- 1 large dried Ancho chile, stem and most seeds removed
Add ingredients to an electric spice grinder. Pulse until finely ground. Ingredients can also be ground together by hand using a mortar and pestle. Store spice blend in an air tight jar out of direct light for up to three months.
The Basics – How To Make Apple Sausage Balls
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl season one pound ground pork with two or more tablespoons homemade chorizo seasoning. Add two cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, one cup buttermilk baking mix, and one and half cups unsweetened chunky apple sauce to chorizo.
Use clean hands to combine completely. Roll approximately one tablespoon mixture into a ball, place on tray. Repeat with remaining batter. Bake 10-14 minutes until internal temp is 160ºF – let rest at least 5 minutes before serving warm. Pair with this creamy 5 Minute Honey Mustard Sauce!
Appetizer + Drink Pairings – overlap flavor profiles
To really enhance your meals you can overlap flavor profiles when planning a menu by weaving flavors – like McCormick® roasted cinnamon – throughout various dishes.
Apple Cider Sangria = fresh apple + apple cider + roasted cinnamon/ honey simply syrup + citrus (lemon) + fresh thyme + dry white wine + bourbon
Chorizo Apple Sausage Balls = pork + chorizo spice blend (roasted cinnamon + coriander (citrusy) + dried thyme) + chunky apple sauce + cheddar cheese + buttermilk baking mix
Select cohesive flavors to round out your snack board. Use my suggestions as a starting point for your own apple-centric platter of goodies!
- Calabrese salami
- Maple honey ham
- Havarti cheese
- Dried apricots
- Cheddar popcorn
- Honey wheat crackers
- Celery sticks
- Apple + pear slices
- Jalapeno slices
- Roasted pepitas
Apple Cider Sangria – Balance Warm + Sweet + Tart Flavors
Making sangria is always fun since you really can’t mess it up! In it’s simplest form you simply soak fruit in wine overnight and enjoy. Since this roasted cinnamon is anything but simple, I went all out by making a spiced simple syrup from honey to sweeten this apple cider sangria.
Roasted Cinnamon Honey Simple Syrup – combine one cup water, with half cup wildflower honey, and one tablespoon McCormick® roasted cinnamon in a small saucepan. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer until honey is dissolved. Set aside to cool. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge.
Roasted Cinnamon Apple Cider Sangria
- 1 750 ml crisp white wine
- 1 cup apple cider not apple juice!
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 1/4 cup roasted cinnamon simple syrup
- 6-8 sprigs fresh thyme or lemon thyme plus more for garnish
- 3-4 small sweet and tart apples cored and sliced
- 2 medium pears cored and sliced
- 1 small lemon sliced and any seeds removed
- Mix all ingredients together in a large pitcher.
- Chill in refrigerator overnight. Serve cold with fruit slices and fresh thyme garnish
I hope you like this Roasted Cinnamon Apple Sausage Balls + Cider Sangria Pairing as much as I do! If you love these delicious bite-sized recipes, you can find more like it by checking out my Appetizer section! For recipe inspiration delivered to your inbox, subscribe to my newsletter, follow my photography journey on Instagram, and for generally inappropriate humor follow like me on Facebook!