The Sweet Charcuterie Board of your Holiday Dreams

Dinner parties would not be dinner parties without a charcuterie board. There, we said it. The two go hand in hand. If you are having people over for dinner, how could you not provide a platter of deliciously salty cured meats and creamy, tangy, sharp cheeses for nibbling before the main event. Go wild! Throw a pickle on there. Maybe even an apple or some honey for drizzling? The opportunities are endless.

But what if we took this obligatory-platter-of-delights idea and applied it to after the meal–a sweet charcuterie board of sorts? A board of sweets instead of sausages—and cookies in place of cheese. A mélange of goodies that are great on their own, but even better together—just like your favorite winter boots & that sweater you wore three times this week.

Chocolate-Tahini Cookies with Sesame Seeds
An homage to your classic charcuterie board’s go-to sliced meats, our chocolate-tahini cookies provide a decadent dark chocolate-y shortbread taste in every bite.

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
parchment paper
3 packets sugar in the raw
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 eggs
kosher salt
baking sheet

1. Prepare ingredients
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place butter in a large bowl to soften at room temperature (we recommend at least 10 minutes). Alternatively, place butter in a large heatproof bowl and microwave in 10-second intervals until softened, but not melted. In a small bowl, stir together sesame seeds and sugar in the raw for Step 4. Separate 1 egg, placing yolk in a separate small bowl.

2. Cream butter and sugar
Add granulated sugar to bowl with softened butter. Whisk vigorously until mixture is pale and fluffy, 1-2 minutes (this technique, called creaming, gets easier as the butter continues to warm and soften; if you have a hand mixer, even better!). Add vanilla, tahini, and egg yolk; whisk until mixture is pale and fully combined, 2 minutes more.

3. Finish dough
Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and ¼ teaspoon salt to bowl with butter-sugar mixture. Gently stir until dough is just combined.

4. Roll dough
Arrange 1 parchment paper on a clean, dry surface, then add dough. Using your hands, roll dough into a log, about 1½-inches thick and 8 inches long. Sprinkle over sesame-sugar mixture, rolling dough to fully coat. Roll up dough inside parchment, transfer to freezer, and chill until set, at least 30 minutes.

5. Slice and bake cookies
Once dough is set, transfer to a cutting board. Remove and discard parchment paper from dough log, then slice dough into ¼ inch–thick rounds to yield about 18 cookies. Line a baking sheet with remaining parchment paper, then add dough slices in a single layer, spacing apart. Bake until slightly puffed and golden, 10-12 minutes.

6. Plate cookies
Allow chocolate-tahini cookies to cool slightly on baking sheet, 5-10 minutes. Feel fancy and enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Homemade Spicy Honey

1/4 cup honey
Good pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
small pot (for heating up)
small bowl (for serving alongside your sweet charcuterie board)

1. In a small pot, combine honey (1/4 cup) and crushed red pepper (a good pinch).
2. Place over medium heat and cook until runny and warmed through, about 3 minutes.
3. Remove pot from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
4. Drizzle over your sweet charcuterie board or place in a small bowl on the side for dipping. Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Bark with Goji Berries, Pistachios, and Toasted Coconut
A little color variation is fun to break up the sea of sweets and add a little contrast. Switch out dark chocolate for this bark and use milk (or even white!) chocolate with toasted coconut, pistachios, and goji berries.

1 ounce coconut chips
6 ounces dark chocolate
¾ ounce Goji berries
3 tablespoons pistachios
¼ teaspoon coarse Maldon sea salt
1 parchment paper
kosher salt
baking sheet

1. Toast coconut flakes
Place coconut flakes in a medium nonstick pan over medium heat and toast, stirring frequently, until browned and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Melt dark chocolate
Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until melted. Alternatively, create a double boiler: Bring 2 inches water to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Place bowl with chocolate over pot and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth, 2–4 minutes (Recipe tip: To create the double boiler, be sure to use a heatproof bowl that fits over the pot without touching the water. You want to create a seal between the bowl and the pot to trap the steam. This gentle melting technique prevents the chocolate from sticking and burning). Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Using a spatula, spread into a smooth, even layer as thin as possible.

3. Assemble dark chocolate bark
Immediately sprinkle goji berries, pistachios, Maldon sea salt, and toasted coconut over melted chocolate. Transfer to refrigerator or freezer to chill until set, at least 20 minutes.

4. Plate dark chocolate bark
Once chilled, break dark chocolate bark into pieces. Indulge your chocolate craving—cup of hot cocoa optional!

Additional fixins’ for your sweet charcuterie board

Pretzel rods (with salt)
Mascarpone cheese with cinnamon
Fresh (or dried) figs
Hearty green grapes
Cocoa nibs
Graham crackers
Maldon salt for sprinkling

Love experimenting in the kitchen? Try Plated!

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