Tree trimming, egg nog drinking, cookie baking and hors d’oeuvres prepping galore! It’s a time where you may be hosting your own fête or trudging to a friend’s for their festivities. Either way, you most likely have to whip up a ‘lil platter to bring. Or at least we think you should. Your friends and family will probably like you even more. Or at least we think they should. Of course holiday soirées will be in full effect between now and New Year’s, so if you’re in charge of something other than bringing the wine, we suggest you give one of these a try. They were a hit with our folks!
The test kitchen was quite toasty and full of the scents of the season. Desserts and appetizers were on plates for a festive weekend holiday party. We like things to be quick and simple as possible, and these are a couple of the treats that went over quite well–with little time and effort.
Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tartlets – Serves 8 to 12
1 cup cremini mushrooms, washed & roughly chopped
1 cup white mushrooms, washed & roughly chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, divided
1/3 cup red wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces goat cheese
24 pre-made phyllo dough shells
1. Heat olive oil on medium heat and add garlic. As garlic cooks, add mushrooms, red wine and 1 tablespoon thyme. Cook until wine evaporates and mushrooms become soft, approximately 5-10 minutes.
2. While mushrooms cook, crisp fillo shells in a preheated 350 degree oven for 3-5 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool.
3. When mushrooms are done, allow to cool completely.
4. Dollop goat cheese on the bottom of each cooled fillo shell. Top each with mushrooms.
5. Sprinkle remaining thyme leaves over shells.
Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates – Serves 8 to 12
24 dates, pitted
1/2 pound bacon, cut in half
3 ounces goat cheese
1. Poke a bit of goat cheese inside each date.
2. Use a half strip of bacon to fully wrap each date.
3. Bake on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until bacon has cooked.
4. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and stick a toothpick inside each date before serving.
Peppermint Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis) – Makes 1 dozen
1 tube prepared sugar cookie dough
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chocolate chips, divided
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
6 peppermint candy canes, crushed
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine sugar cookie dough and flour. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Cut symmetrical circles of dough. (Make an even number.)
3. On a parchment paper lined sheet, bake cookies for 8-10 minutes or until golden.
4. As cookies cool, set up a double boiler or place a heat-resistent bowl on top of a larger pot of simmering water. Combine 1 cup chocolate chips and cream and stir until melted. Add peppermint extract and refrigerate for an hour.
5. Once chocolate has cooled, spoon a bit on the flat sides of half the cookies. Press another cookie on top to distribute the chocolate evenly.
6. Place all sandwiches on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and freeze for 20-30 minutes or until chocolate filling sets.
7. Using same previous set up over simmering water, combine remaining chocolate chips and vegetable oil and stir until melted.
8. Dip top of cookie sandwiches into chocolate and spread over top evenly.
9. Top each cookie with candy cane sprinkles and refrigerate until firm.
White Chocolate Peppermint Bark – Serves 8 to 10
8 ounces white chocolate, roughly broken apart
1/3 cup peppermint candy canes, crushed
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1. Melt chocolate pieces in a double boiler or in a bowl over simmering water.
2. Add peppermint extract and stir until incorporated.
3. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and spread chocolate out on evenly.
4. Sprinkle candy cane bits onto chocolate.
5. Refrigerate until firm, approximately 45-60 minutes.
6. When completely hardened, break into pieces and serve.
Click HERE for printable recipes.