Monday, December 17, 2012

Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites

'Tis the season for celebrating and that means you're probably in need of some easy appetizer recipes. Well, party people, look no farther than these fancy pants cheese and crackers. Part sweet, part savory and all parts festive and delicious, these are the perfect app to bring along to any holiday gathering.

When bringing treats along to a party, you want something that is relatively quick, easy and portable. Appetizers are great in this regard— you don't have to be a genius in the kitchen to create something that is tasty and impressive. Limited time or space? Not a problem. These little bites require minimal effort and will impress the pants off of your fellow party goers.

While these bites require a little bit of advance prep the day before the event, they can be thrown together in about 15 minutes on the day of. Plus they travel well and don't need to be kept at a particular temperature, which means they can sit out at a party without falling apart or getting cold.

So stop stressing about your next holiday party or potluck and get to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for your fun and festive appetizer.

Bon appetit!

Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites
Makes about 16 (with leftover cranberries)
2 c fresh cranberries 
1 c good quality maple syrup
1 c granulated sugar 
16 crackers (I recommend Carr's Water Crackers or Saltines)
8 oz brie
Cranberry chutney
Fresh mint for garnish
To make sugared cranberries, rinse and place in a medium bowl. Heat syrup in a small sauce pan until warm. Pour over cranberries when syrup is warm, not hot, or cranberries may pop. Cool, cover, and let soak in the refrigerator overnight. 

Drain cranberries in a colander. Place sugar in a large bowl or baking dish. Add cranberries in batches and roll around until lightly coated in sugar. Place on a baking sheet until dry, about 1 hour. 

Use leftover cranberries in a bowl at your holiday table or on top of vanilla ice cream

Assemble bites, by adding a healthy portion of cheese on top of each cracker, followed by a light layer of cranberry chutney, 2-3 sugared cranberries and a sprig of mint for garnish. 

I recommend making a sample bite first to make sure you have the correct proportion of sweet and savory. My first few bites did not have enough cheese and the sweetness of the chutney and sugared cranberries was overpowering, making them taste more like dessert than appetizers. Using a brand of crackers with some salt also helps counter the sweetness of the cranberries.

Source: Yummy Mummy Kitchen

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