We have rules about Christmas music around here. Well, really one rule.
Not until after Thanksgiving.
(Exception: Unless it’s beautifully snowing outside.)
And thus far, neither snow (beautiful or otherwise) or Thanksgiving have arrived. However, maybe it has something to do with being pregnant and
overly emotional sentimental, but I am pining away for Christmas music this year. (Puns win again).
I almost cracked and played this album while making this appetizer, despite it’s Thanksgiving Thursday classification. And that’s why I’ve saved it for last this month.
Because this brie, topped and baked with maple syrup, cranberries, thyme, and orange zest most definitely belongs on your Thanksgiving menu. I mean, besides turkey, cranberries pretty much are Thanksgiving fare, right?
But this appetizer would also be just as fitting for your upcoming Christmas parties…because cranberries + thyme = red and green. Plus, for just the first few minutes that this is baking, and that thyme starts to roast, your house smells like a giant Christmas tree and you might, before you know it, start humming along with these familiar holiday tunes.
But the brie continues to bake. And the aroma of thyme gets replaced by this gloriously cheesy smell alongside those cranberries, and you remember. It’s still November. And there is certainly no need to rush the days any more than they already are.
I stumbled across this baked brie recipe last year and made it several times, tweaking as I went. It’s fabulously easy, and let me just tell you…from experience…that eight ounces of maple-sweetened brie with perfectly tart cranberries, punctuated by aromatic thyme and orange zest, goes down surprisingly easy. #eatingfortwo
We like to serve it with really thinly cut toasted baguettes slices, but any sturdy cracker (or spoon) will do.
Happy Seven Days ‘Til Thanksgiving. Happy Almost Christmas Music Season.
(recipe adapted from Real Simple, Simply Stated )
(yields one 8-oz. brie round of goodness)
This appetizer is so easy and visually beautifully, not to mention the fabulous combination of flavors. I tweaked this recipe by maple-roasting an additional cup of cranberries, because really, every bite wants some cranberry action. Addtionally, I caution you, do not do more than the 1/2 tsp. orange zest. It will take over the dish!
2 tbsp. maple syrup, divided
1 c. + 1/4 c. fresh cranberries, divided*
8 oz. brie cheese round
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, minced
1/2 tsp. orange zest
For serving: sturdy crackers or buttered, toasted baguette slices (directions below)
*I've made this dish using frozen (then thawed) cranberries. The taste is the same, but doesn't end up quite as pretty.
Maple Roast the Extra Cranberries:
Preheat oven to 350*. Spray a pie plate with cooking spray. Pour 1 c. of fresh cranberries and 1 tbsp. maple syrup into the pie plate and stir to coat the cranberries. Bake 10-15 minutes until maple syrup is bubbling and cranberries are soft.
Remove from oven and let cool on a plate (parchment-paper lined is even better).
Assemble & Bake the Brie:
Increase oven heat to 400*.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place your brie round on the parchment paper and pour 1 tbsp. of maple syrup over the top, spreading to coat the top of the brie. Place about 1/4 c. of cranberries on top of the brie, and top the cranberries with the thyme and orange zest. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until brie is soft. (I've found the best way to know this is done is to peek at it after 20 minutes. Some of the maple syrup will have spilled off the side and will start to bubble like crazy. You want to remove the brie from the oven before these bubbles become a black, sticky mess.)
Remove pan from oven. Bring your serving plate close by. Using a spatula, carefully transfer the brie round to your serving plate. Be really careful not to break the round or cheese will start to come oozing out. Once on your serving plate, arrange the extra maple-roasted cranberries around the edges. Serve with sturdy crackers or baguette slices (described below).
To Toast the Baguette:
Line a baking sheet with foil. Thinly, THINLY slice your baguette. Butter one side of each piece. Place pieces, buttered side down on your baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 3-4 minutes until baguette slices are golden-brown (on the buttered side) and crispy.