Christmas canapés to wow your guests
With all the obligatory events to attend and host at Christmas — work dos, family get-togethers, drinks with friends and of course the big day itself — it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. But there’s no need to worry, because we’re here to help with great ideas for canapés that will impress your guests but take next to no time to throw together.
For a relatively stress-free but look-like-you’ve-made-an-effort event, aim to serve one hot homemade canapé, one room temperature homemade canapé, and a few store-bought essentials, such as dips, charcuterie, cheeses and high-quality crackers. Bowls laden with fresh berries are also a nice, easy addition to a laden summer snack table.
Below we have created five hors d'œuvres that are easy to prepare. But first, a note on hosting: get out your best platters, arrange little piles of cocktail napkins and line up plenty of glassware before everyone arrives. Be a responsible host by filling a few jugs (or a drink dispenser) with water, ice cubes, slices of lemon and mint, so that hydration is always at hand and drivers have an alternative to alcoholic beverages. Along with plenty of wine and beer in the fridge, also prepare a non-alcoholic drink option of sparkling water mixed with a little cordial — we love Soda Press Raspberry & Mint.
Then it’s time to put your glad rags on, cue a Christmas-themed Spotify playlist and enjoy yourself!
Caprese skewers Make the most of summer’s fab produce with some Italian-inspired nibbles. Simply thread a cherry tomato, a piece of mozzarella or bocconcini (the tiny mozzarella balls) and a basil leaf onto a toothpick, arrange on a platter and, at the very last minute, drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar. The red, white and green combination looks great on this monstera leaf platter.
Devils on horseback Who doesn’t love a classic like Devils on horseback? All you need to do is pop pitted prunes onto skewers or toothpicks and wrap each one with a thin strip of streaky bacon. Arrange on a baking-paper-lined oven tray and spray with oil, then bake at 200℃ for 5-10 minutes or until the bacon is crisp. Remove from the oven and up the ante by brushing each morsel with a little Noble Handcrafted Bourbon Barrel Maple Syrup. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving to your guests.
Onion confit & goat’s cheese tarts Buttery puff pastry is your best friend here: simply roll out a square of it into a rectangle and use a sharp knife to score a 2cm border around it. Spread Wildly Delicious Caramelised Onion Maple Confit over the inside of the border, then crumble over some goat’s cheese or feta. Bake at 180℃ for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden, then allow to cool a little before cutting into bite-sized squares. Too easy.
Spiced nuts Select a mixture of nuts — cashews, almonds and Brazil nuts all work well — and arrange them on a baking-paper-lined baking tray. Beat an egg white until foamy, then mix through a spoonful of Entube harissa or Indian spice paste. Add the mixture to the nuts and use your hands to mix well until the nuts are well coated. Bake at 180℃ for 10 minutes or until golden, then allow to cool. You can prepare these the morning of your event if you like, then set aside at room temperature until ready to serve. Alternatively, for an even easier option, simply roast a mixture of plain nuts, then season by tossing with a little flavoured Amola salt.
Chocolate pastry stars With a few festive-themed cookie cutters on hand, you can create simple sweet treats that everyone will love. Paneton’s chocolate pastry, available from good supermarkets and specialty food stores, is the perfect cheat here. Simply cut out shapes from the pastry then bake at 180℃ for 10 minutes or until firm and light golden. If you can’t find chocolate pastry, you can also do this with regular sweet shortcrust pastry, then drizzle the shapes with a little melted chocolate once they’re baked and cooled.