It's HOLIDAY BAKING time, and if your guests are like mine, they'll be expecting something to eat the SECOND they walk in the door! These are three easy and delicious recipes that will knock the socks off your guests!
Spinach and Artichoke Breadstick Tree
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. each salt/pepper
3 sheets of puff pastry, thawed
4 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
non-stick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream and spinach. Stir in the garlic, artichoke hearts, and 1/2 cup of cheese. Season with onion powder, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
To shape the holiday tree, line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Unfold one of the sheets of puff pastry onto the cookie sheet and place another 1/3 of another sheet at the top. Use your fingers and a bit of water to seal the two sheets together. Cut a triangle from the bottom corners to the center top. Remove the trimmings and repeat the process to create a second triangle.
Spread the spinach and artichoke filling on top of the first triangle. Sprinkle with another 1/2 cup of cheese. Place the second triangle on top of the first and stretch the pastry dough to cover the first completely. Use a pizza cutter to cut matching 1” strips horizontally on each side of the tree, leaving about 1/2" uncut in the center. Twist each cut rectangle 3-4 times on the sides to create the breadstick branches. Cut two slices, 1/2” up from the bottom center to create a small tree trunk.
Melt the butter and garlic salt together in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir to combine. Brush the entire tree with the garlic butter and top with the remaining cheese. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees until golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Cinnamon Apple Pull Apart Wreath
6 tbsp. of butter
1 large Fuji or Gala apple
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 “blue tube” of biscuit dough
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
1/4 cup pecan halves or pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a large bundt cake pan with 2 tbsp. butter and set aside.
Core and slice the apple to 1/8” thick slices. Place them into a large glass bowl and mix with 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 tbsp. lemon juice and 1/4 cup water. Stir to combine. Microwave on high heat for 2 minutes to soften the apples. Allow them to cool for about 10 minutes. Layer about 2/3 of the apple slices in the bottom of the bundt cake pan, covering the bottom completely.
Place the remaining 4 tbsp. of butter, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon in a separate microwave proof bowl. Melt the butter on high heat for 20 seconds. Remove and stir until combined.
Open the tube of biscuits and cut each biscuit into quarters. Coat the cut biscuits in the melted butter mixture and arrange them in the bundt pan over the sliced apples. Place the remaining apple slices between the biscuit pieces and pour any of the remaining melted butter mixture over the biscuit pieces.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
Flip the bundt pan over to release the bread. Transfer to a serving dish and replace any apple slices that remain in the bundt pan.
Heat the caramel in the microwave for about 20 seconds and drizzle over the top of the bread. Sprinkle with the pecan halves and serve.
BBQ Chicken Crescent Wreath
2 tubes of crescent roll dough (about 16 triangles)
2 1/2 cups of cooked chicken breast meat, shredded
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (plus 1/4 cup for garnish)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
5 strips of cooked bacon, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped green onion
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl combine chicken, red onion, 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, and chopped bacon. Stir to combine.
Place a small bowl in the center of a large cookie or baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Arrange the crescent dough triangles (points facing out) around the bowl, overlapping 1” until you have completely surrounded the bowl. Remove the bowl for later use.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese around the base of the triangles. Spoon the chicken mixture evenly on top of the cheese, all the way around the inner portion of the ring. Sprinkle with another 1/2 cup of cheese.
Lay the points of the triangles over the top and into the center, tucking the points underneath the bases until it forms a wreath or ring.
Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, covering the top loosely with foil about half way through if it begins to get too brown.
Remove it from the oven, top it with the remaining mozzarella cheese and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes. Then drizzle with the remaining BBQ sauce and top with the chopped green onions and cilantro.
Transfer the wreath to a serving dish. Place the small bowl back in the center of the wreath and fill with ranch dressing. Serve immediately.