Easy Holiday Hors D'Oeuvres
Baked Camembert with Pears
A splash of pear brandy plus maple syrup and Spanish almonds put a modern spin on baked Brie.
Cristina's Famous Nuts
Cristina Salas-Porras tosses assorted nuts with sage and rosemary and bakes them for a long time at a low temperature; they come out perfectly crisp. No wonder she’s famous for them.
Three-Cheese Mini Macs
Anything big made small is ultrafun for cocktail parties, and these quick, one-bite mac and cheeses are the ultimate example. Cooked in mini muffin pans, the mini macs can be assembled early and baked just as guests arrive.
Caesar Salad Spears
Salads usually require forks, but Grace Parisi transforms a classic Caesar into a clever finger food. She tosses chopped endives with a lemony dressing, then spoons the mixture inside elegant endive spears, topping it with cheese and crunchy mini croutons.
Chef Steven Satterfield is a huge fan of kale—especially when it’s combined with sweet roasted squash. Look for Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato or Dinosaur kale) when possible; it’s tender and tasty.
Scott Conant serves these tender, peppery breadsticks as a starter. He packs them into a tall glass or plates them with small wedges of La Tur cheese (a dense, buttery Piedmont cheese made from a blend of cow, sheep and goat milk), drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with flaky sea salt.
Instead of pairing soybeans with the usual Asian flavors, this recipe calls for chipotle chiles (they add smoky flavor) and cumin.
Black Pepper Kettle Corn
This kettle corn is so satisfying—it's salty, sweet and a little spicy. Since it stays crisp for a few hours, you can make it in advance.
Crudités à la Mexicaine
Chef David Tanis created this raw vegetable platter, brightened with guajillo chile powder, lime juice and salt. He makes it year-round with whatever vegetables are in season, but he always includes crunchy cucumbers.
Buckwheat-Cheddar Blini with Smoked Salmon
As a nod to their Norwegian heritage, Sophie Dahl and her family ate blini (mini pancakes) topped with smoked salmon every Christmas Eve. Now Dahl makes the blini with wonderfully earthy buckwheat flour and serves the salmon-topped hors d’oeuvres at parties throughout the year.
Melissa Rubel rolls buttery puff pastry around salty prosciutto and melty Fontina to create deeply savory hors d'oeuvres.
Food stylist extraordinaire Susan Spungen makes a trio of deeply delicious hummus: one plain, one beet and one herb. She presents them in big bowls with plenty of colorful, fun garnishes.
Soppressata Bundles with Radicchio and Goat Cheese
Chef Dante de Magistris serves these little soppressata-wrapped cones as party snacks. He varies the filling—sometimes he replaces the peperoncini (Italian pickled peppers) with grappa-soaked raisins.
To intensify the flavor of boiled beets and form a rich glaze, David Hawksworth cooks them a second time in sherry vinegar and sugar.
White Bean Flatbreads with Prosciutto and Cheese
Great for a party, these flatbreads pack an entire antipasto tray into a single crunchy, gooey snack.
Bagel Chips with Ricotta, Chive Puree and Prosciutto
Using bagel chips as the base for an hors d'oeuvre is a quick way to add flavor and crunch. Grace Parisi tops the chips with fresh ricotta, chive puree and prosciutto. As an alternative, she sometimes uses dried apricot halves in place of the chips.
This deliciously nutty Japanese dip uses only four ingredients and takes 15 minutes to make.
Serve these mushrooms as an hors d'oeuvre or as an accompaniment to a beef or veal roast.
Hummus with Whole Wheat Flatbreads
"Kids like hummus," says Alice Waters, "and they like to make the little flatbreads and heat them like tortillas; the whole process is irresistible, and the price is practically nonexistent."
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar gougères are perfect on New Year’s eve with cava.
Brandied Apricot Butter
This fruit-filled butter is wonderful on crusty bread.
Spiced Roasted Chickpeas
Roasted chickpeas make a simple and delicious hors d'oeuvre or snack.
Shrimp Marinated in Lemon and Olive Oil
You’ll want to gobble up these succulent morsels immediately, but patience will be rewarded; the shrimp taste better the longer they sit in the marinade. Leave them for a couple of hours, if you have the time.
Minty Peas & Bacon on Toast
Chef Gregory Vernick makes these terrific toasts by pureeing frozen peas with mint and butter, then spreading the pea butter on thick slices of sourdough bread with bacon on top. The bread soaks up the bacon fat as it toasts.
Red Pepper Hummus with Hot Paprika
Using jarred roasted red peppers makes this hummus super-easy and fast. A generous sprinkle of hot paprika and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil are all that are needed to dress it up.
Black Olive Tapenade with Figs and Mint
What makes this tapenade special is the clever mix of oil- and brine-cured olives and the surprise of sweet, fresh and tangy notes from the dried figs, mint and capers.