It’s the holiday season. Time to eat, drink and be merry as much as possible before the arrival of the new year. And few traditions honor this adage better than a swanky cocktail party. So whip up a big batch of your favorite boozy beverage and choose a few of these simple snacks for a holiday event your family and friends are sure to remember.
Latkes are ideal cocktail party fare since they can be made ahead of time, frozen and then reheated before your guests arrive. For a unique twist on this old favorite, try out these Grape and Ricotta Latkes from the queen of Jewish fusion cooking, blogger Molly Yeh. Yeh uses a basic latke base as canvas for a hearty dollop of fresh ricotta cheese and tart grape preserves. Sweet and salty finger food at its finest! Get the recipe on My Name is Yeh
Who can resist an oozy wheel of baked Brie pulled straight from the oven? To take this cheesy delight to the next level, top it off with a quick blackberry compote courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker. I’d recommend making at least two or three of these; I can tell you from experience, they go fast. Get the recipe on Brown Eyed Baker
Baked chickpeas are a great fried food hack, giving you all the flavor and crunch with far less calories. A Beautiful Mess’ variation combines canned chickpeas with chopped fresh rosemary, garlic, parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil before a 45-minute stint in a very hot oven. When finished baking, you have a crunchy treat you’ll be scooping up by the handful. Get the recipe on A Beautiful Mess
It doesn’t get much easier than hummus and chips for a stress-free snack with cocktails. This recipe medley from Half Baked Harvest shares all sorts of fun tips for dolling up store-bought hummus with festive flavors like Indian Spice with Cilantro Pesto, Roasted Garlic with Rosemary Oil and Pumpkin and Goat Cheese with Crispy Sage and Prosciutto. If you’re feeling up to it, you can even try out her roasted root vegetable chips to accompany all of these gorgeous dips. Get the recipe on Half Baked Harvest
Surprising as it may seem, a delicious spiced nut mix can steal the show at a good cocktail party, and the Spiced Cocoa Roasted Almonds from Gimme Some Oven are no exception. Ali Elbright covers all the holiday flavor bases with a mixture of vanilla bean paste, brown sugar, cocoa powder and a dash of cinnamon and cayenne pepper for some kick. A perfect nibble to pair with a stiff drink. Get the recipe on Gimme Some Oven
While potstickers may seem like a daunting party project, they are nothing to fear. They take less than 30 minutes to make, can be made ahead and most of the ingredients are probably already staples in your pantry and fridge. Blogger Kelly Senyei walks you through the process with the greatest of ease in her recipe for Easy Chicken Potstickers with Soy Dipping Sauce, a dish that is sure to impress and delight. Get the recipe on Just a Taste
Nothing says holiday celebration like a hefty prime rib. But, a whole roast isn’t necessarily the best cocktail party fare. Enter Prime Rib Crostini from Armelle Blog, which pairs thinly sliced prime rib with a tangy blue cheese sauce and sprigs of peppery arugula. All the flavor of the beloved entrée but in snackable form. Get the recipe on Armelle Blog
Cheese and the holidays go together like PB&J. To take your cheese board to the next level, why not try homemade crackers like this rosemary sea salt variety from Fox and Briar? Not only are they an excellent starter project for those who are typically fearful of baking, but they take just 30 minutes from start to finish. Pair with an elaborate selection of your favorite cheeses for a real showstopper. Get the recipe on Fox and Briar
Pastry is like the food mascot for the holiday season, and not just in sweet form. Take this ham and cheese puff pastry (from The Clever Carrot), wraps layers of Black Forest ham, grated Gruyere cheese and a generous spread of Dijon mustard in flaky puff pastry before baking it to golden perfection. Serve straight from the oven in bite-size squares and wait for the recipe requests to come pouring in. Get the recipe on The Clever Carrot
It wouldn’t be a true holiday celebration without some peppermint in the mix. For something different from your average peppermint bark or candy canes, try Nicole Nared-Washington of Brown Sugar’s mini peppermint meringue cookies. Bursting with minty flavor and streaked with stripes of red and white, they are sure to get everybody in the spirit. Get the recipe on Brown Sugar
Maddie LaKind is a personal chef, caterer and writer living in Ravenswood. For more information about her services, visit her website, madonfood.com.
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