By Alison Ladman Associated Press
Canapes may sound stuffy, but they actually are the ultimate in ease when it comes to party food. Plus, they look great and can be combined in endless ways to suit any taste.
So we created a simple formula for making canapes, dividing them into four components — bases, spreads, toppings and garnishes. For each canape, select one item from each category, then assemble.
And the easiest way to assemble enough for a party is to set out all of your ingredients (clustered by category), then just start selecting and building.
Each spread recipe makes enough to top 24 canapes. If you opt to use 24 of each canape base (for a total of 96 canapes), supplement the spreads below with purchased spreads such as hummus, tzatziki or flavored cream cheese.
24 multigrain crackers
24 thin slices of seedless cucumber
24 toasted baguette slices
24 purchased phyllo cups (found in the grocer’s freezer section)
To assemble the canapes, arrange the bases on a large serving tray. Top each with a small dollop of one of the spreads. Press one of the topping choices into the spread, then finish each with a garnish.
Garlic-herb cream cheese
4 ounces softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons milk
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and milk until smooth. Stir in the salt, pepper, thyme, oregano and garlic.
Zesty barbecue spread
3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons spicy red pepper jelly
1/4 cup sour cream
Splash of hot sauce
In a small bowl, stir together the barbecue sauce, red pepper jelly, sour cream and hot sauce.
Small cooked and peeled shrimp
Shredded cooked chicken
Halved cherry tomatoes
Small wedges of manchego cheese
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Sliced green and black olives
Sliced hot peppers (such as piri piri or Peppadew)