At your next party, include an array of little tastes that offer new and intriguing flavors. Set out a varied selection of miniature morsels along with a festive cheese and charcuterie tray.
A miniature version of a classic side becomes an instant party pleaser.
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp coarse kosher salt
- 1 ½ pounds
- 1½-inch round baby potatoes
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ¼ cup sour cream
- Fresh chives, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 450°F. In a large bowl combine the water and salt. Add potatoes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking pan. Prick potatoes with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
- In a small bowl combine oil, rosemary and garlic powder. Generously brush oil mixture on potatoes. Bake potatoes for 10 minutes more or until tender. Remove from oven. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Using a paring knife cut a small X in each potato. Slightly squeeze potatoes open. Top each with ½ teaspoon sour cream. Garnish with chives.
These aren’t your grandmother’s steamed sprouts.
- 48 small Brussels sprouts
- 2 (12-ounce) packages smoked bacon
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp coarse kosher salt
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 48 48 bamboo skewers
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with foil. Trim Brussels sprouts and cut off stems. Cut bacon strips in half. Wrap bacon around Brussels sprouts; place sprouts on prepared baking sheets, overlapping ends of bacon. Bake 25 minutes or until bacon is crisp and Brussels sprouts are tender. Let stand for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine maple syrup, brown sugar, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat.
- Simmer for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Skewer Brussels sprouts then lightly drizzle with syrup. Serve immediately.
- 2 tbsps salted butter, softened
- 8 (½-inch-thick) slices whole grain bread
- 4 (1-ounce) slices Swiss cheese
- 4 (1-ounce) slices Havarti cheese
- Spread softened butter on one side of each bread slice. Place four bread slices, buttered sides down, on a griddle. Top each with one Swiss cheese slice and one Havarti cheese slice. Place remaining bread slices, buttered sides up, on top.
- Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until golden and cheese is melted, turning once halfway through. Cut each sandwich into 1-inch cubes.
Complement your party nibbles with sprightly alcohol-free sippers. For each serving, fill a glass half full with ice and chilled fruit nectar. Slowly fill the glass with chilled sparkling white grape juice. Add a festive sprig, a wedge of fruit and serve immediately.
Select quality meats and cheeses to pair with homemade holiday crackers or savory paleo crackers. Choose cheeses from four basic categories: aged (extra-sharp cheddar and smoked gouda), soft (brie and mascarpone), firm (Parmigiano-Reggiano) and blue (gorgonzola and stilton). Include cheeses made from assorted types of milk (cow, goat or sheep) and ones that vary in sharpness and countries of origin.
Crackers & bites
Create something exceptional with homemade crackers as a base. Each of our eleven recipes uses just a handful of ingredients.
Prosciutto and cheddar bites
Stuffed tomato bites
Dyed deviled eggs
Shrimp cocktail bites
As cute as they are tasty, these treats will be the star of the Christmas party.
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup shortening
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp almond extract or ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Red food coloring
- In a bowl combine flour and salt; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl beat shortening and butter with an electric mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Add powdered sugar, egg and extracts. Beat until light and creamy. Beat in flour mixture until combined. Divide dough in half. Add enough red food coloring to one portion to reach desired color; knead to evenly distribute color. Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes or until easy to handle.
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. For each candy cane, shape 1 rounded teaspoon dough of each color into a 5-inch rope on a floured surface. Place one red and one white rope side by side; press together lightly, and twist. Place on prepared cookie sheet; curve twisted dough to form a candy cane shape. Place candy cane shapes 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Chill shaped dough on cookie sheets for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until set and very light brown. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
Citrus, always a welcome flavor around the holidays, is the main attraction of these irresistible bite-size tarts.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tbsps sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ cup key lime juice
- Lime zest, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Spray twenty-four 1¾-inch muffin cups with nonstick spray; set aside.
- Melt butter. Add graham cracker crumbs and sugar; toss to mix well. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin cups; press evenly onto bottoms and sides. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack.
- In a medium bowl whisk together egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and key lime juice. Spoon filling into baked crusts. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until set. Cool in muffin cups on wire rack. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before removing from muffin cups. Garnish with lime zest, if desired.
Strokes of gel coloring inside a pastry bag before piping these melt-in-your mouth delicacies reveals artistic design.
- 3 egg whites
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted
- ¼ tsp peppermint extract
- Red gel food coloring, for garnish
- Allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- Preheat oven to 200°F. For meringue, in a large mixing bowl beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium until soft peaks form (tips curl). Add granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight) and sugar is dissolved. Gently fold in powdered sugar and peppermint extract.
- Brush two or three stripes of gel coloring inside a pastry bag using a small paintbrush. Fill bag with meringue. Pipe 1¼-inch cookies 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cookies are dry and remove easily from parchment paper. Cool cookies on wire racks.
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