Well, this year has gone fast, hasn’t it! I can’t believe that it is now just a few days before Christmas. Are you all prepared? I for one am not and it’s going to be the usual rush to get it all done. If you are anything like me then I am sure you will appreciate this round-up of easy last minute party bakes and if you already have everything planned maybe I can tempt you to add a couple more quick and easy treats.
Savoury Nibbles and Bakes
Even with the best-laid plans there is always the possibility over the festive period that you might have unexpected guests so, having a few quick and easy party recipes up you sleeve is jolly useful. My favourite quick and easy party nibbles are crostini, small pieces of toasted bread topped with something yummy. To make mine I use those part baked baguettes which I always have in the house at Christmas as an emergency stand by. Because they are only part baked, they do not have a very crisp crust making slicing them thinly so much easier. I brush them with a little olive oil and then I toast them in the oven. Once toasted they will keep for several days in an airtight container in a cool place.
To make Crostini, Preheat the oven to 190°C(180°C fan)/375°F/gas mark 5. Brush a little oil onto the bread slices and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven until crisp and golden, about 10 – 12 minutes. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container until required. To serve, add a topping of your choice. My Christmas Crostini are topped with a little gammon, brie and cranberry sauce, but you could use stilton and leftover turkey both ideal for boxing day or new year parties. Other toppings could include simple salsa of roasted peppers or tomatoes, pâté or Mozzarella and sundried tomatoes. Actually, the choices are endless and after the Christmas days you could make Crostini and using up your Christmas leftovers.
When it comes to parties no one wants to spend all the time in the kitchen but if you still want a bit of wow factor you could try my Pesto Christmas tree. It really does only take minutes to prepare yet is fun and makes a great table centrepiece.
Ready-made puff pastry is great for quick party snacks and here is another idea from The Baking Explorer who makes Chestnut Sage and Parmesan Palmiers. For a festive twist she arranges them in the shape of a Christmas tree. Lost in Food recommends these Lamb Curry Puffs as they are quick to prepare and the filling can be made ahead of time. Back on the Christmas tree theme and another puff pastry bake these Christmas Pizza Swirls from My Boys Club look very tasty.
Of course, you don’t have to use puff pastry and if you don’t mind making your own pastry these Mushroom and Chestnut Vegetarian Sausage Rolls with Mustard Pastry from Tin and Thyme would go down a treat.
Lots of party bakes are pastry based but not my Spicy Turkey Nibbles which are baked in the oven and also go down well at parties.
Sweet Nibbles and Bakes
For a sweet bake these Chocolate and Cranberry muffins from Farmers Girl Kitchen are quick to make and if you wanted to make them bite size you could bake them in mini muffin tins (Remember to reduce the baking time).
When you have young or old kids around, maybe the Sweet Nutella Christmas Tree from Cooking with My Kids is the right bake for you .
A good way to use ingredients you often have at this time of the year are Fab Food For All ‘s Cheats Stollen Croissants . I’ll have to try these this year as I love all the flavours so much and they do sound super easy to make. You could also try her Cheats Mince Pies with a Secret Twist – If you want to know what the twist is you will have to pop over to her site to see as I’m not telling here!
Biscotti with Cranberries and pistachios from Captain Bobcat would also make a lovely sweet nibble. Have you tried Biscotti dipped in Vin Santo or even sherry? Trust me, it is divine.
Although technically not a bake, a tiffin or rocky road type treat is also easy to make. Try Christmas Chocolate Tiffin from Veggie Desserts which is made with ginger biscuits and cranberries and has the flavours we all now associate with the festive season.
Now you are all set to party all that remains is to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.