The start of December often marks the onset of Christmas parties celebrated with family and friends. If you've attended or hosted a Christmas party, then you know that aside from decorated sugar cookies and spiked egg nog, tasty finger foods are often the highlight of the evening. Whether it's a fanciful take on a cheese platter or irresistible tarts with traditional holiday ingredients, try out some of these finger food ideas to ensure that you impress all your guests.
Pine Cone Cheese Ball
Everyone loves cheese and crackers at a party, so you can never go wrong with a good chunk of cheese on your table spread. Rather than display a wedge of cheese, or a standard party pack, why not create a festive pine cone cheese ball that can act as a tasty centerpiece for your table? Create this festive cheese ball, in a recipe adapted from JSonline.com:
- Combine softened cream cheese with diced, crispy bacon and chopped, fresh dill.
- Loosely wrap the cheese mixture in a sheet of plastic wrap and mold into a pine cone shape. Refrigerate until chilled.
- Before serving, place rows of overlapping, toasted almonds all along the cheese. Serve the pine cone-shaped cheese on a nice serving platter with crackers and decorate the plate with fresh rosemary.
Cranberry Brie Tarts
These delightful tarts are made with creamy brie and a cranberry compote. To make sure they're extra loved, this delicious combo is baked in golden, flaky puff pastry. The crispiness of the pastry, combined with the melted cheese and tangy cranberry filling, is just the right mix of flavor and texture. Make these delectable cranberry brie tarts, in a recipe adapted from Crumblog.com:
- Cut a sheet of store-bought puff pastry into 24 even squares. Place a puff pastry square into each mold of a mini muffin/cupcake tin, forming little puff pastry cups.
- Cut the rind off of a 3 1/2-ounce wheel or wedge of brie before cutting the brie into 1/2-inch chunks. Place a chunk of brie into each puff pastry cup.
- Top each piece of cheese with a heaping teaspoon of cranberry compote, then bake the tarts at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
Pita trees are a wonderful option when you're looking for something that's both festive and healthy. They're made with pita bread, spinach hummus and red bell peppers, making them vegan-friendly and a suitable appetizer for all your guests. Pita trees are made, in a recipe adapted from Wellsphere.com:
- Cut 4 to 5 pita bread pockets into 3-inch-long triangles. Poke a pretzel stick into the base of each pita triangle.
- Spread spinach hummus over each pita triangle.
- Dice a red bell pepper, or alternatively, cut the pepper into thin slices. Arrange the diced or thinly sliced pepper on the pita triangles in a diagonal, left-to-right direction from the base of the triangle to the top, mimicking a Christmas tree's decorated strand of lights.
Caramel Popcorn Balls
These caramel popcorn balls are always a fun take on a sweet and salty snack for guests to munch on. The addictive popcorn balls are made with just a few simple ingredients, including store-bought popcorn, caramel sauce and red-striped cake pop sticks. To whip up this easy snack, use a recipe adapted from Sweetpaulmag.com:
- Pop a bag of popcorn in the microwave, then let it slightly cool.
- Heat 1 cup of caramel sauce until it's more fluid and falls off a spoon easily. Pour the warm caramel sauce into the bag of popcorn and, with the bag rolled shut, shake the bag of popcorn to evenly distribute the caramel sauce among the popcorn.
- Use rubber gloves to gently mold the popcorn into medium-size balls. Insert a red and white (or red and green) striped cake pop stick into each caramel popcorn ball.
Popcorn will most likely be hot after adding the caramel sauce, so be cautious when rolling them into balls. This is a job better suited for adults, so keep the kids at bay.
Santa Hat Brownie Bites
Who doesn't love a decadent chocolate brownie? Your guests won't be able to resist this irresistible dessert. The combination of a chocolate brownie topped with whipped cream and a plump, juicy strawberry is to-die-for. The best part about this festive dessert is that the brownies are bite-size, making them as easy to eat as they are to make. To whip up these adorable brownie bites, try a recipe adapted from Daisysworld.net:
- Bake a box of brownie mix in a mini muffin pan.
- Once the brownies have cooled, pipe whipped cream onto the top of each mini brownie.
- Place a strawberry (with the stem cut off) upside down on top of the whipped cream. With the pointed end of the strawberry sticking up, place a small dollop of whipped cream on the top of the strawberry.
No-Recipe Finger Foods
If you're looking for some really simple finger foods that require no recipes or fuss whatsoever, then consider the following finger food suggestions:
- A Christmas fruit tree: Arrange cheese squares, and grapes and other types of fruits, on a platter in the shape of a Christmas tree. Simply alternate the rows of fruit and cheese all the way to the top of the tree. The same can also be done with broccoli, cherry tomatoes and carrots for a vegetable version.
- A cheese wreath: Simply arrange cheese cubes in a circular pattern and add pitted olives strategically throughout the cubes of cheese. Create a border for the entire wreath by lining fresh rosemary sprigs along the circumference of the cheese cubes.
- Finger sandwiches: Whether you decide to make the sandwiches yourself or purchase a pack of sandwiches from your local deli, Christmas cookie cutters are an easy way to turn your sandwiches into a festive food. Use your favorite cutters, be it a stocking, a star or a Christmas tree, to cut out various Christmas-themed shapes from your sandwiches.