Gingerbread Crusted Baked Brie and Cranberry Sauce

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Check out these tips to easy entertaining and grab the recipe for this delicious gingerbread-crusted baked brie served with a cranberry sauce.

When I was just beginning to gain an interest in food and wine, I used to sit and dream about the day when I’d be able to host lavish get-togethers in my beautiful, spacious home. I used to think that the best parties required tons of time-consuming, elaborate elements and that entertaining was reserved for fancy occasions that would demand limitless budgets.

Fast forward a decade to my husband and I living in a modest town home where I run a small business while simultaneously parenting a young child, and I’m happy to say that I was so very wrong. Entertaining doesn’t have to be expensive, excessive and super fancy to be fun! Let’s put it this way — had I waited for the ideal time, budget and space to entertain, I’d still be waiting!

Realistically, most of us who enjoy entertaining do not live on the set of Martha Stewart Magazine and have unlimited resources at our fingertips. But that doesn’t mean we should hold back from hosting family and friends for gatherings, especially during the holidays!

Over the years, I’ve discovered some tips and tricks that have helped me become a better hostess without having to sacrifice my savings or sanity to do so, and I figured now is the perfect time of year to share them with you since you might be tossing around the idea of hosting your own holiday soirees.

DO SPLURGE ON GOOD WINE.

Ok, bear with me, because I just finished telling you that I’d help you stay within budget, and my first tip encourages you to splurge. But hear me out — you don’t want to set the tone of your party by serving sub-par food and drinks. Sure, you may save a few bucks, but quite possibly at the expense of headaches and indigestion. Instead, consider investing in several good bottles of wine that can be enjoyed by guests and leave a lasting impression {in a good way!}

Sonoma-Cutrer is a great example of a quality wine that can bring an element of elegance to your party menu. Starting at $23, they offer plenty of affordable Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines to compliment your food offerings. Their wines are made using a perfect harmony of old world traditions and modern innovation to create the best, most balanced product. Most importantly, they are delicious and easy to enjoy! You can use their store locator to find Sonoma-Cutrer near you or easily order online and have it shipped directly to you.

Need some direction in choosing wines for your party? Make sure to check out the descriptions, wine profiles and tasting notes that can help you craft your menu to highlight the flavors of your wines!

DON’T SPEND A TON ON DECOR.

Think of the last great party you attended. Do you remember what kinds of floral arrangements decorated the tables? What kind of china they set out? Whether they used linen napkins or paper ones? Probably not!

As I mentioned, I think party budgets are best spent on food and drink. So why not use the food and drinks as a decorative focal point?

Make stunning displays with meats, cheeses, nuts and crackers to create a spectacular centerpiece. Speckle your table with seasonal fruits at the peak of their beauty. Use fresh herbs to add fresh color and aromas to the scene. Arrange alluring dessert trays filled with a mixture of gourmet chocolates, cookies and sweet treats.

You don’t have to spend a ton on platters and plates that you may never use again. Get creative by using things you already own in unconventional ways to create a unique look and feel to your party!

Small signs and mini blackboards not only help guests know what’s being served, but also add rustic charm. Overturned baskets lend texture and height to the table and make things visually interesting. Fabric swatches and napkins give pops of color to the display. Even wine corks and recycled bottles can be used for decorating. Use your imagination!

If I do need new things for a party, I love shopping at the craft store {using coupons!} for special touches that can be used to accentuate the spread! Think: Mirrors, frames and deeply-discounted holiday items.

DO KEEP THE PARTY SMALL.

If you’re on a tight budget {or live in tight quarters}, you might want to consider keeping things intimate and inviting over just a few friends instead of throwing a huge shindig. That way, you can allot funds towards quality products instead of a large quantity of items. Additionally, everyone will have a place to sit comfortably and odds are the conversation and interaction with your guests will be better since you won’t be running around trying to greet and check on a large number of people.

DON’T SNUB STORE-BOUGHT.

If you’re anything like me, then you may be inclined to want to make EVERYTHING from scratch. I have some advice for you: Don’t.

Taking on too much is a surefire way to stress yourself out and have zero fun. If you do want to cook or bake for the occasion, choose one or two simple recipes to focus on, then head to the store for assistance! Many stores offer party-ready platters, party-perfect desserts and appetizers that only need defrosting or warming. Your guests would rather have more time with a smiling, happy you than only catch a few glimpses of a frazzled, disgruntled you as you buzz in and out of the kitchen. Promise.

Speaking of easy, festive recipes… I’ve got the perfect addition to your spread: Gingerbread Crusted Baked Brie!

Does it get more “holiday” than melty brie cheese with a gingerbread crust? I didn’t think so, either! But then I topped it all off with a super quick {and extremely delicious} Pinot Noir Cranberry topping that takes it to the next level. It’s so good you may hide it from your guests and have your own little wine and cheese party in the kitchen, just you and your wedge of brie.

Whether you decide to share or not, don’t fear hosting friends and family this year! You’ve got everything you need to make holiday gatherings ones you’ll remember. Cheers to stress-free entertaining!

And check out these wine gifting tips!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Gingerbread Crusted Baked Brie and Cranberry Sauce
 
Author:
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Ingredients
  • 1 five ounce wedge or small wheel of triple cream brie*
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon half & half or milk {water will work, too}
  • ⅓ cup crushed gingerbread cookies
For Pinot Noir Cranberry Topping
  • ¼ cup pinot noir
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¾ cups fresh cranberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or use small baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg and half and half together to make an egg wash. Place crushed gingerbread cookies in a small dish.
  3. Using a pastry brush, brush it all over the wedge or wheel of brie. Place the brie directly into the gingerbread crumbs and press lightly to coat completely.
  4. Place the brie onto the prepared baking sheet or dish and bake for about 15-18 minutes or until the crust has set and the brie begins to melt.
  5. Remove from oven and top with Pinot Noir Cranberry Topping before serving with crackers or toasted bread.
For Pinot Noir Cranberry Topping
  1. In a small saucepan, combine pinot noir and brown sugar and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, about a minute.
  2. Stir in cranberries and reduce heat to medium. Allow to simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have all burst and the liquid has thickened to a syrup.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before spooning over top of the warm brie.
Notes
*In order to keep your brie intact while the crumb crust bakes, you may want to put your brie in the freezer for an hour or so before you bake it to ensure that it's super cold and doesn't melt too quickly.

 


Dianna Muscari

Dianna Muscari blogs about her cooking and antics on The Kitchen Prep. A self-taught cook and baker, Dianna shares with her readers the messes and successes she encounters in the kitchen. Along with her recipes - which range from healthy to hearty to downright decadent - Dianna shares anecdotes about life, marriage, travel, and living in Florida. Her conversational writing style draws you into her kitchen for a meal and a laugh as she navigates through life one recipe at a time.

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