Author Notes: This recipe is inspired by an appetizer dish offered at the Ecco restaurant in Atlanta, GA. I work for Fifth Group Restaurants (owners of Ecco) and (with the help of Ecco's culinary team), we have paired this recipe down for the home cook to enjoy hong kong weather. This delicious appetizer combines the distinct flavors of honey, goat cheese, and cracked black pepper. (less) - Alexandra Higgins

Food52 Review: WHO: Alexandra Higgins is a brand new member of the Food52 community.
WHAT: Disarmingly delicious balls of molten goat cheese, sweetened with honey.
HOW: Roll balls of goat cheese through seasoned flour and batter, deep fry each, then top with honey and black pepper for an appetizer that's much more impressive than it is labor-intensive.
WHY WE LOVE IT: These aren't your run-of-the-mill fried cheese appetizers. While cheese balls can be overwhelming, the light, crunchy crust, as well as the honey and pepper, balances the tangy goat cheese. We may try adding some lemon next time we make them (and the next time, and the time after that). (less) - The Editors

Makes 16 goat cheese balls

3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
4 tablespoons honey, divided
2 1/4 cups very cold soda water
1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
8 ounces fresh goat cheese, cold (the dryer the better, we like the Laura Chenel Chevre)
6 to 8 cups canola oil, for frying
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

To make the batter, sift 2 cups all-purpose flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 tablespoons honey. Whisk in the soda water until the batter is smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to use -- the batter needs to stay as cold as possible until ready to fry.

The prepare the seasoned flour, combine the remaining 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and finely ground black pepper in a shallow bowl or plate . Set aside.
Roll the goat cheese into sixteen 1/2-ounce balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a heavy-bottomed pot or deep fryer, heat the canola oil to 375o F. Roll the chilled goat cheese balls in the seasoned flour. Shake off any excess flour, then roll the balls into the batter a few at a time, making sure to fully cover the cheese ball. Remove them one or two at a time and carefully drop them into the oil, using a slotted spoon to move them around so they don’t stick to each other or the pot. Cook until golden brown, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, carefully remove the goat cheese from the fryer and drain on a cooling rack or paper towel-lined plate.

Place the fried goat cheese into a warm bowl . Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey and coarsely ground black pepper. Serve immediately.