What we all need this time of year is one less thing to do, and having a plan in place for hosting a holiday party will pave the way for smooth sailing throughout the season. Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year by presenting three appealing appetizers you whip up in no time at all. Chilled prosecco served in flutes will pair nicely with all three hors d’oeuvre offerings and add a festive touch to your party.
Don’t let the sound of gougère scare you off. These light airy pastry puffs are a breeze to make. As easy as melting butter with water and milk, stirring in flour and whisking in the eggs, cheese and herbs, these melt-in-your-mouth marvels may just become your go-to appetizer recipe this holiday season.
The spicy shrimp cocktail components can all be prepped ahead, assembled and set out just before your guests arrive while the gougère and brie bites bake briefly in the oven.
Ring in the holidays with this week’s Special of the Day: A Super Simple Seasonal Soirée and recipes for White Cheddar and Chive Gougère Puffs, Peppy Brie Bites and Spicy Shrimp Cocktail. Enjoy!
Recipes and food photography by Sydne George.
White Cheddar and Chive Gougère Puffs
(makes about 40 bite-sized appetizers)
½ cup butter
½ cup milk
½ cup water
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup flour
1 tbsp. fresh chives, snipped
¼ white cheddar cheese, finely grated
1/8 tsp. sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat butter, milk, water and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Add flour all at once and stir until mixture comes together in a ball.
Whisk in eggs, one at a time, beating vigorously after each addition to fully incorporate before adding the next egg. Stir in chives and cheese. Transfer gougère dough to pastry bag loaded with large star tip. Pipe 1 inch puffs onto parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle puffs with seas salt. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove from oven and transfer puffs to a cooling rack. Serve warm. Enjoy!
Peppy Brie Bites
(makes 24 appetizers)
3 tbsp. mild pepper jelly with green jalapenos
3 tbsp. hot pepper jelly with red jalapenos
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
4 ounces brie, cut into ½ inch cubes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray two mini muffin pans with nonstick spray.
Unfold puff pastry out on floured work surface. Brush half of pastry with green pepper jelly and other half with red pepper jelly. Use pizza cutter to cut into 24 equal rectangles.
Tuck pastry squares into prepared mini muffin pans. Top with a brie cube.
Bake in preheated oven 13-15 minutes, until golden brown and flaky.
Remove from oven and immediately run a table knife around edges of brie bites to loosen.
Remove from mini muffin tins. Let cool on cooling rack.
(Do not allow the brie bites to cool in the muffin tins. They will stick.)
Spicy Shrimp Cocktail.
Make the spicy cocktail sauce:
2 cups ketchup
1 tsp. wasabi paste
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp. sea salt
Combine all spicy cocktail sauce ingredients in mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
Thaw 12 frozen jumbo shrimp (peeled and deveined) under cold running water.
Slice 1 lemon into thin slices.
Divide spicy cocktail sauce among four mini martini glasses. Arrange shrimp around edges of glasses, three per glass. Garnish with lemon slice and celery. Enjoy!
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.