We’re all social butterflies during the holiday season. You get to wear some killer looks and indulge in all that is festive and delicious. But you’re also busy, so if you need an easy starter for a party, these holiday cheese appetizers are all quick and delicious additions to your spread. From Christmas tree cheese balls to edible cheese wreaths, they’ll add that effortless touch of holiday magic to your dining scene.
Oh, and don’t forget the wine!
Related Reading: The Best Gifts for Your Cheesy Friend
There’s nothing wrong with a classic baked brie capped off by fruit and toasted nuts, but a warm, gooey baked brie with brown sugar—decorated for the season—is a foodie match made in holiday heaven. After baking, I top off the edges of the brie with fresh rosemary leaves, honey roasted pecans, and a few fresh cranberries so it looks like a wreath! Made of brie! Serve this up on toasted baguette or crackers, paired with green apple slices.
- 1 round of brie
- 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4-5 rosemary sprigs, de-stemmed
- a handful of honey roasted pecans (or any other nuts that tickle your fancy)
- cranberries for decoration
- green apple, grapes, baguette, crackers
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Put the whole brie wheel on a parchment-lined baking tray.
- Cover the top with a layer of brown sugar.
- Bake for 20 minutes. You will notice the brie inflate a little, and the sugar beginning to melt.
- Let the brie cool 5 minutes once out of the oven. Arrange rosemary leaves on the edges of the brie. The warmth of the cheese will make the rosemary fragrant.
- Sprinkle pieces of honey roasted pecans (or nuts of your choosing) in the rosemary. Finish with a few cranberries on top. It will look like a wreath!
- Arrange green apple slices, toasted baguette, crackers and other accouterments around the brie.
You can also make this in a mini cast iron skillet or a mini cocotte:
Le Creuset Stoneware Mini Cocotte, $29.95 on Amazon
Related Reading: How to Make Edible Holiday Wreaths
Let your inner sculptor shine! The great thing about a cheese ball is that you can mold it into any shape you like. Since cream cheese is the main base, you have a lot of flexibility to make this festive. Plus, you can make this days in advance!
This Christmas Tree Cheese Ball recipe from Betty Crocker uses two cheeses: cream and shredded cheddar, all rolled with herbs, nuts, and spices. The parsley acts as the leaves of the tree, and the red bell peppers are the ornaments. You can also try an olive-heavy Antipasto Cheese Ball Christmas Tree.
In the end, it’s all about the gorgeous presentation. You can serve this up on a white marble cheese board, so it looks like the cheese tree is on a base of snow:
Anolon White Marble and Teak Serving Board, $39.99 on Amazon
Not sure about those sculpting skills? This Snowman Cheese Ball recipe only requires rolling a ball (OK, two) in finely shredded cheese. There’s an equally easy Reindeer Cheese Ball recipe on the Number 2 Pencil blog that swaps the shredded cheese for crushed pecans, and both are almost too cute to dig into.
Nothing says the holidays like cranberries. This Goat Cheese Log recipe is covered in every festive ingredient you can think of: walnuts, pecans, cinnamon, and of course, cranberries. All you have to do is roll a log of goat cheese in these ingredients, wrap it, set it, and forget it. Serve the log on top of a smear of your favorite craft jelly.
Kids can get in on this one. It’s just like making cookies with festive cookie cutters, but with cheese instead! Slice into some of your favorite cheese blocks and use mini cookie cutters to make ornaments (or any other shapes for the season—snowflakes, stars, Christmas trees… you name it!) You can either make an assorted cheese board with the different shapes or scatter them on top of veggies. Like icing a cookie, you can have you guests “ice” their cheese with different spreads and jellies!
If you don’t have time, you can always buy a holiday platter of cheese and meats online and this gift set includes a variety of cheeses, sausages, mixed nuts, fruit spreads, and sweet treats.
Related Video: How to Make the Turducken of Cheese Balls
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