There comes a time when your old standby of chips and dip just won’t cut it. Perhaps you are celebrating a successful week at work or your friend’s almost-birthday. Maybe you just feel like getting fancy for the thrill of it. Whatever your motives, we are here to help you plan your way out of the potato chip blues and into the reds (and yes, we mean wine!).
Start your menu off right with some classic crunchies. Cheddar crackers are universally beloved and these Parmesan Basil Cheddar Stars take it a step further, putting a sophisticated spin on a childhood favorite. You can cut these out in any shape you’d like, but we went with stars for a touch of whimsy.
- 2-1/2 cups (10 oz.) freshly shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped basil
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Beat Cheddar cheese, butter, half-and-half and salt on medium speed in a stand mixer. Gradually add in flour Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and basil, mixing until combined.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a log. Slice into four rounds. One at a time, roll each round out to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out pieces of dough with a 1-1/2-inch star-shaped cookie cutter and place one inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden and allow to cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack.
- 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- 1 (8 oz.) wheel of Brie cheese
- ¼ cup raspberry jam
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Heat oven to 425F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cut puff pastry into an 8-inch square and place Brie in the center. Top the cheese with the raspberry jam. Pull the corners of the pastry dough up to meet in the center on top of the brie and pinch together to seal.
- Beat one egg in a small bowl with the tablespoon of water and salt. Carefully brush on the outside of the pastry and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese has melted.
A nice dry cured sausage is another go-to item for last minute get togethers. Stay with the milder options for this one, unless you know your guests like it hot. Don’t skimp on the carbs either! The cornerstone of any good spread, a crusty baguette is practically imperative.
If you’ve got them, toss a few more cheeses into the mix. Uncork your favorite reds (or whites!) and have yourself a swanky Saturday night!