What’s more special than an array of irresistible nibbles to begin and end an evening? With a small group it’s easy to splurge. So pull out the stops and create an assortment of delectable bites to greet your guests and send them on their way. Here are some distinctive bookends that can be prepped entirely ahead of time, ensuring your night goes off without a hitch.
There is something elegant about putting your favorite ingredients together in a tiny package. These caviar egg toasts are sure to make a big splash.
Make toasted bread rounds from thick sliced country bread. Brush with melted butter and cut into rounds using a one inch round cutter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about five minutes or until lightly toasted.
For the egg salad combine three peeled hard boiled eggs finely chopped with two teaspoons mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, one tablespoon minced onion, freshly ground pepper, taste for salt.
To assemble top each toasted bread round with a little mound of egg salad. Finish with a small dollop of caviar. Serve immediately.
Do Ahead- The egg salad can be made a day ahead of time, cover and refrigerate. The toasts can be made earlier in the day, cool completely then store in airtight container at room temperature.
Here’s an appetizer inspired by my recent trip to southern Spain where seemingly everywhere everything had a bit of ham. Serrano, manchego and cherry confit croutes.
Slice the baguette into ¼ inch rounds. Lightly brush baguette rounds with melted butter. Bake until just crisp about 7 minutes.
Slice the manchego cheese using a vegetable peeler.
Stir together butter and cherry confit.
Spread a thin layer of the butter mixture on the baguette rounds.
Top with a thin slice of Serrano ham.
Then a thin slice of Manchego.
Do Ahead- All the components can be made earlier in the day. Toast the croutes, allow to cool completely, store in an airtight container at room temperature. Mix the cherry confit butter, cover and refrigerate, bring to room temp before assembling. Slice the manchego with the vegetable peeler, cover refrigerate. Portion out the Serrano ham, cover and refrigerate. The croutes can be assembled 30 minutes ahead of time.
Here coconut macaroons get a rich veil of chocolate.
In a large bowl flake the coconut.
Combine the coconut with the condensed milk, and vanilla.
Beat the egg whites and salt until they form medium-firm peaks.
Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop.
Bake for 25 or until golden brown. Cool.
To chocolate dip the macaroons earlier in the day melt high quality chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe container at 50% power for one to two minutes.
Stir, then continue heating at 50% power for 30 second intervals until just melted and smooth.
Dip the bottom of each macaroon in the chocolate.
Carefully place on the wax-lined baking dish.
Allow to harden.
To quicken this process put a layer of ice cubes on a rimmed baking sheeting and place the wax paper lined sheet on top.
Serve alongside a bowl of ripe berries.
Do Ahead- The macaroons can be made a day ahead, keep in an airtight container at room temperature. Earlier in the day dip the macaroons, keep on the wax paper lined baking sheet. Right before the guests arrive place the macaroons on a serving dish. Rinse and allow strawberries to dry completely earlier in the day, place in a serving bowl.