nooks and crannies

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress

Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Dinner Party, Posted on July 18, 2015 by Sandy Bergsten

Savvy hostesses need a few secrets up their sleeves. I always like to impress without the stress. That means I am constantly on the hunt for things that look complicated but are practically effortless.

Take my take on mushroom cheese puffs. Not sure if you’ve ever made a pate au choux, but in my former life as a professional chef and caterer I can’t tell you how many batches I piped onto parchment paper. Now purists will say there is nothing more heavenly than hot gougeres right out of the oven. But let me tell you attempting to make them at your own party can make you a hot mess.

So how to make a canapé that looks like you slaved with a minimum of effort? Let your grocery store do the heavy lifting for you. Here are my mushroom cheese crisps.

Most grocery stores sell a high-end jarlesburg dip (essentially cheese, mayo and onion).

Cremini mushrooms are more exotic than white button mushroom and dice up and sauté beautifully.

And the most secret of ingredients- English muffin halves. With all their little nooks and crannies whatever you put on top makes bakes deep into those crevices completely transforming this breakfast staple.

Remove the stems from cremini mushrooms, and dice uniformly.

Sauté in butter until they have thrown off their water and begin to crisp on the edges. Cool completely.

Combine the jarlsberg dip with the cooled mushrooms.

Place a generous spoonful of mushroom-cheese mixture on top of each muffin half. With the back of a spoon press the mixture into the nooks and crannies.

Cut each topped muffin half into six wedges.

Place on a rimmed cookie sheet. Cover with foil and freeze until solid, at least two hours.

Remove and place in a Ziploc bag. These will last in the freezer for up to three months.

Put the frozen wedges cheese side up on a cookie sheet lined with heavy-duty foil. Bake in a 350-degree oven until crisp, about eight to ten minutes.

These amazing little canapés are truly uncanny.

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