The last thing you want to do after a hectic day at work is figure out what to bring to you neighbor’s holiday party. We’ve all been there—you said you’d bring something and you feel like you have to but don’t have the time to whip up an elaborate dish.
Enter puff pastry—your secret weapon this holiday season! This flaky, buttery dough can make even the simplest ingredients feel festive. We all stock our pantries around the holidays, ready to make cookies and snacks for parties and family gatherings. Take some of those ingredients you already have on hand, add a puff pastry base, and you’ve got an impressive, party-worthy treat. Good for sweet or savory goodies, you can buy puff pastry ahead of time and store it in your freezer for whenever the need arises.
Sweet: Tahini, Honey, and Cranberry Snowflake
This snowflake puff pastry trick is all over the internet, but ours is special because it combines common ingredients with sophisticated spices to create a dessert no one else will have thought of.
2 sheets puff pastry
¾ cup tahini
¼ cup honey
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
½ cup flour for rolling
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove pastry sheets from packaging and set aside to soften in the refrigerator.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together tahini, honey, cinnamon, cardamon, salt, and cranberries into a spreadable paste. If tahini is hard to spread, microwave at 30 second intervals to soften.
3. Lightly dust a dry surface or countertop with flour. Roll out puff pastry to a 12 x 12 inch square. Using a large bowl or pot cut a circle between 9 and 11 inches in diameter, using a paring knife. Keep surface flour-y for Step 6!
4. Carefully transfer circle of dough to parchment paper-lined baking sheet by lightly rolling it around your rolling pin.
5. Spread tahini-honey mixture in a thin, even layer over circle of dough.
6. Roll out your second sheet of dough and cut it into a circle. Carefully drape over your rolling pin and transfer it on top of the tahini-honey mixture, brushing off any excess flour.
7. Place a water glass in the center of your dough and tahini circle. Cut four slits in the dough to divide it into four even quarters using the outside rim of the water glass to create a cross with a space of dough in the middle. Cut the dough four more times in the middle of each quarter, to create eight even strips from the center. Cut each of those eight strips in half for 16 strips of dough.
8. Starting with the two strips of dough in the bottom middle (these two strips of dough will be on either side of the original quarters you cut) twist the dough three times in opposite directions from each other (twist the strip on the right to the right and the strip on the left to the left). Repeat this for the two strips of dough around the three other original quarter slits, and then continue with pairs of dough in between.
9. Lightly scramble an egg in a small bowl using a fork. Brush snowflake with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
10. Bake for 12-18 minutes until top of snowflake is golden brown and pastry has puffed.
Savory: Cheesy Spinach, Artichoke, and Paprika Puffs
Creamy spinach and artichoke dip is one of our favorite go-to dips for any occasion. Taking inspiration from the crowd-pleaser, these spinach puffs deliver that cheesy goodness in an easy, shareable, and cute holiday-party form.
2 puff pastry sheets
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and any water squeezed out
½ cup canned artichoke hearts, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6 ounces cream cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients (other than puff pastry) in a medium bowl. Lightly scramble an egg in a small bowl using a fork.
2. Lightly dust a dry surface or countertop with flour. Roll out puff pastry to a 12 x 12 inch square. Cut dough into 16, 3 x 3 inch squares.
3. Place a heaping tablespoonful of spinach-artichoke mixture in the center of each square.
4. Brush edges of pastry with eggs. Bring opposite corners over filling; pinch seams to seal.
5. Brush over remaining egg. Bake until hand pies are puffed and golden brown, 14-16 minutes.
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