Day 13- Holiday Appetizers and Desserts

The holidays are a time where much is celebrated. From October to January, life is just one big party! We’re sure your calendar is jam packed with dinners, gatherings, and maybe even full-blown ragers. The more classy evenings call for a memorable outfit and delicious food, appetizers to be specific. There’s nothing more satisfying than the finger food you find at parties, and the leftovers that come after.

If you’re looking to make something that says “I taste really good and will definitely impress your friends,” we recommend buffalo chicken dip– think buffalo chicken wings, but with a facelift. The best part about it is that it is easy to make and only has five ingredients, so the cost will be low. If you’re anything like me, you love cheesy and things with a kick and lucky for us, this buffalo chicken dip has both!

All you need in order to make this mouth-watering party favorite is cream cheese, celery, hot sauce, rotisserie chicken, and blue cheese, with crackers, bread, or carrot sticks for serving. First you will melt the cream cheese in a saucepan until smooth, and then mix in the chopped celery, shredded chicken, and hot sauce. Once everything is thoroughly combined, pour the mixture into a pie plate, sprinkle the blue cheese on top, and bake for 25 minutes at 425 degrees until bubbly. Serve with your crackers, bread, or carrot sticks and viola!, you are now ready to party (and eat)!

This dish will have people coming back for more, no leftovers guaranteed. You’ll be the talk of the evening and with a short, easy, and affordable prep time, you will want to brag too!

And what would a holiday party be without sweet desserts! Our choice this holiday season is macaroons. Try these peppermint macarons to end your holiday party with a bang!

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 Macaro0ns:
1 1/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (4 ounces) finely ground sliced, blanched almonds
6 tablespoons fresh egg whites (from about 3 extra-large eggs)
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

STEP 1
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and ground almonds. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites (mix in pink food dye) with salt on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip until stiff glossy peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the confectioners’ sugar mixture until completely incorporated.

STEP 2
Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch #4 round tip, and fill with batter. Pipe 1-inch disks onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. The batter will spread a little. Let stand at room temperature until dry, and a soft skin forms on the tops of the macarons and the shiny surface turns dull, about 15 minutes.

STEP 3
Bake, with the door of the oven slightly ajar, until the surface of the macarons is completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet to a wire rack and let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheet. Gently peel off the parchment. Their tops are easily crushed, so take care when removing the macarons from the parchment. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Peppermint Ganache:
4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup of heavy cream
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of pure peppermint extract

STEP 4
Heat the cream in a small saucepan. When the cream just begins to boil at the edges, remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let sit one minute, then stir until smooth. Stir in the pieces of butter until smooth.  Then add peppermint extract.

Let cool completely before using. 

Let us know what you thought about the SAK favorite, and share with us your favorite party food in the comments below or by sending a tweet to @Simplyaudreek. We’d love to hear from you!

Photo courtesy of foodnetwork.com and marthastewart.com

By Contributing Writer Kelly Burleson

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