a white plate topped with pastries covered in cranberry sauce

It feels like yesterday I was exclaiming “Merry Christmas” and now somehow we are at a point where Easter is a few weeks away. Whatever the holiday, I have the perfect, easy, last-minute, small-in-size, big-in-flavor appetizer for you. 

In fact, these are so addicting and simple, I keep the ingredients stocked for whenever I have last-minute guests. They’re called brie bites. They’re nearly impossible to mess up and they’re the first hors d’oeuvre to disappear off the table. All the ingredients are very forgiving and interchangeable, so don’t be afraid to make this your own and give it a personal twist. 

Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees, then take a can of crescent rolls or a thawed puff pastry sheet and unroll it onto a lightly floured surface. Take your rolling pin and roll out the dough so it’s slightly thinner. Cut it into roughly 20-24 even squares.

Off to the side, grab your brie wheel and slice into 24 cubes. Take a mini muffin tin and give it a coat of non-stick spray such as Pam. You can use a regular muffin tin as well; they just won’t have as much of a raised edge. Push a dough square into each mini muffin slot. Then place a brie cube on top. 

Here is where you can get creative. For the holidays, I take a teaspoon of canned whole cranberry and place a dollop on top of each brie cube. If it’s not a holiday, I’ve used everything from fig preserves to orange marmalade or even peach jam and they all taste wonderful. Now for some texture and crunch I eyeball a pinch of rough chopped walnuts or pecans to put on top. Pop this in the oven for about eight to 12 minutes; the time varies with the dough choice and toppings, so I really just keep an eye out for that gorgeous hue of golden brown. 

They should also be somewhat puffed up. After they’ve reached that point I remove them from the oven and give the tiniest little sprinkle of kosher or sea salt on top while they’re piping hot. After letting them rest for three minutes, I plate them and give the most minuscule drizzle of honey to enhance the flavors but not make this overly sweet. If you feel frisky, use hot honey.

If you really want to impress your guests, put one single drop of truffle oil on each brie bite to bring in a umami flavor profile. I finally top each amuse-bouche with two or three needle-like leaves of rosemary. These are best served warm and can be stored inside the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days. You can reheat them in the oven to melt the cheese. Here is the ingredient list for a batch of 24, but feel free to make as many batches as you’d like. You can make a whole different savory version of this dish by using brie, cooked pork sausage, sage and a teaspoon of apple butter. Easter will be here before we know it and now you’ll be ready to celebrate with these fun brie bites. Cheers and bunny ears!

Ingredients
8-ounce brie wheel
8-ounce tube of crescent rolls dough or one puff pastry sheet
1/2 cup whole berry canned cranberry sauce or fig preserves in a jar
1/4 cup chopped nuts such as walnuts or pecans
Fresh rosemary
Spoonful of flour for rolling of the dough

To kick it up a notch
Sea salt
Truffle oil
Honey or hot honey

Samantha Dellilo
Samantha Dellilo has been in the Keys since she was 1 day old, so definitely consider her a Conch. Holding a passion for food since she can remember, while most kids were watching Barney, she was watching Emeril. "Being half Cuban and half Italian, food in those cultures is considered a love language. It's a total experience whether eating out or cooking." She's been with her other half, Marky, going on 17 years. The two met when they were 9 years old at Key Largo School. Samantha owns Florida Keys Eats, which is a blog of "must eat, must see, and must dos" from Key Largo to Key West.