Wednesday, December 9, 2015

From The Gaither Kitchen {4 Simple Holiday Hits}

The holidays are a time to slow down and be in the moment, but we are all guilty of letting things spin into total chaos. For me, that's kinda the fun of the Christmas season. I love the madness of running here and there,  picking up last minute items and pulling together last minute statement making dishes to share with family and friends. So today I thought why don't we try to plan ahead for the craziness that is quickly approaching?! Here are a few appetizers that will win over the crowds at your holiday soirees and require minimal time to prepare.


Caramel Toffee Bites with Cream Cheese
So this one actually comes from The Gaither Kitchen.  I prepared this over the Thanksgiving holiday and it was such a hit I've decided to add it to the list for Christmas.  All you need is 8oz of cream cheese, toffee bits, and caramel sauce. I prefer to make my own caramel sauce as it seems to be less sticky. 

Caramel Sauce 
3 Cups Refined Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Water
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
4 tablespoons Salted Butter
¾ Cup of Heavy Cream (add more cream if you wish to have a thinner sauce)
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Spread sugar evenly in the bottom of a clean uncoated 3-4 quart saucepan
Pour in water, and heat over medium. Do not stir. 
Bring to a boil. The sugar will begin to bubble and dissolve.
Watch for the color to change from clear to a golden amber, the caramel should begin to slightly smoke then deepen to a reddish-brown color. Once the mixture begins to change in color, the process moves very quickly so make sure you have all ingredients and utensils in arms reach.
Once it reaches the proper reddish-brown color, immediately remove from heat, and stir in remaining ingredients.
Be prepared for mixture to foam up when you add the whipping cream.
Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
You can store the extra caramel in a heat safe glass container in your refrigerator and just reheat (slowly) in the microwave as need. 

How darling is this?! Mason Whitley a former NC blogger who I adore recently posted this pine cone shaped cheese ball covered in almonds and dressed with rosemary and I thought, how perfect for the holiday season! Here is a homemade cheese ball I suggest trying.

Olive, Pickle, and Mozzarella Rosemary Wreath 
 Ok this one, doesn't get any easier!  The presentation speaks for itself.  Just promise me all your holiday parties will have this beauty there! The scent of rosemary alone will be a win!

And of course I would totally suggest the Rosemary Spiced Mixed Nuts that I posted last week.
You can see the complete recipe here.

Do you have any go-to last minute holiday recipes?
Comment below and share a little sanity to help us through the holiday rush!

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