Friendsgiving 2017! Maple Cream and Apple Baked Brie with the Ultimate Friendsgiving Crostini Bar.

OH MY GOSH! Welcome to Friendsgiving headquarters 2017.

I am so, so excited to share this spread with you over the next week or so. I can’t wait for you to see some of the delicious things I have in store! We have turkey and gravy, potatoes, slow cooker stuffing and dessert and cocktails of course.

As usual though, we had to start with an insane, over-the-top Thanksgiving cheese board. Or crostini board! Whatever you want to call it. As long as you have tons of bread and cheese, this is where it’s AT.

MY OTHER RECIPES

The star of the show here is a maple cream and apple butter baked brie. It is to DIE for.

Hilariously, even though I made this spread a few weeks ago, last night I ate some sliced brie on crackers because I’ve been in a crazy weird cheese and crackers mood. I almost actually warmed my brie up in the oven like a crazy person – I mean, just for MYSELF. Probably has something to do with being past my due date and going a little stir crazy at 9PM.

I don’t know?

(As a side note, thanks to Erin who helped me style this entire thing while I was nine months pregnant and who didn’t judge me when I almost sliced my bun off the top of my head on the ceiling fan while photographing.)

I usually prefer to wait a little longer to share Thanksgiving recipes, even though I know a ton (most?) of you plan in advance. But since I took on more of a Friendsgiving theme this year, I knew we had to get going. We only have a few weekends until Thanksgiving, so hopefully your menu can get set!

The difference between Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving for me is the menu.

For Thanksgiving, I want plain, boring, deliciously traditional. Like crazy traditional. I say this EVERY SINGLE year and most of you agree. I don’t want cheese in my potatoes and I want my stuffing to taste exactly like my mom’s does every year. My entire family agrees and you might remember that the one year I took this butternut squash lasagna to Thanksgiving (as a side dish, mind you! Not in place of anything else!) everyone had a heart attack and refused to eat it.

But!

That’s just for the main Thanksgiving meal, you know? I’ll go crazy with leftovers and if I must (really, like it’s soooo difficult) eat some sort of secondary Thanksgiving meal, I’m okay with it being a little crazy. I love that Friendsgiving can be that opportunity to experiment with nontraditional, out-of-the-norm dishes that are still somewhat holiday-themed but might not fit on that table that you’ve been serving for 10 or 20 or 30 years. You know?

It alllll starts with this big cheese and crostini bar! I’ve shared enough of these on the blog by now that you probably know my train of thought: find whatever cheese, fruit, breads, crackers, spreads, briney things like olives and maaaaybe even some veggies and throw them all on a board. No rhyme or reason.

I’ve done my all-time favorite classic cheese board with a few different cheese balls!

And last year I even made a smaller holiday cheese board with a butternut squash cheese ball. Ooooh yes.

Plus, a spring and a summer version too, but those may or may not be applicable depending on where you live.

One of my other favorite things to do here is to add in some seasonal produce for decor. So pomegranates! Little pumpkins! Fresh cranberries! Whatever greens you can find and maybe some fun flowers or whatever. And you absolutely don’t have to set it up LIKE THIS. Last year, I set it up on my kitchen table, but we ate dinner in our more formal dining room.

In the past, I’ve even set up a card table with a tablecloth in the corner and built my cheese board right on there! Find that space you have and GO FOR IT.

As a little note, here is where a few of there items are from:

Thankful plates

Slate cheese boards (I lined up two here)

Cocktail glasses 1

Cocktail glasses 2

Cheese knives

And! Some of go-to cheeses that ALWAYS make my cheese boards. I adore the Sartori Montemoré, BellaVitano Gold and the Merlot BellaVitano. I find mine at Sam’s Club (in large quantities!), DeLallo Foods or my local Giant Eagle. Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog and Truffle Tremor are also up there and always on the board. Also love any form of Beemster cheese! All of these cheeses are pricy, so I don’t use ALL of them at once unless I’m making a huge board like this for a party. And when I do that, this tends to be the only appetizer and/or snack. Basically, this could be my dinner.

Long story long, I encourage you to make it your own and size it appropriately. If there is an appropriate size when it comes to CHEESE.

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Maple Cream and Apple Butter Brie Cheese

Ingredients:

maple cream and apple baked brie

  • 1 (16-ounce) wheel of brie cheese (this is the larger size!)
  • 1/3 cup apple butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple cream or whipped maple butter, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

cheese board basics

holiday decor: whole and sliced pomegranates, fresh cranberries, satsumas or clementines, mini pumpkins

aged cheese: aged cheddar, aged gouda
hard cheese: merlot soaked parmesan, asiago, parmigiano-reggiano
goat/chevre cheese: truffled goat, humboldt fog
soft/semi-soft cheese: brie, camembert
blue cheese: smoked blue, gorgonzola, buttermilk blue

breads: sliced baguettes, hard sesame breadsticks, whole wheat crackers, water crackers, crostini squares, flatbreads, bagel or pita chips

charcuterie: paper thin prosciutto, capocollo, hard salami sticks, pepperoni

jams + chutneys: fig preserves, quince paste, hot pepper jelly, sour cherry preserves, bacon marmalade, apple and berry chutneys, honey and honeycomb, hummus

fruits + nuts: grapes, dried and fresh figs, dried apricots and pears, shelled pistachios, marcona almonds, smoked almonds, pepitas

tart + briney snacks: cornichons, olive medleys, marinated artichoke hearts, pickled green beans, roasted red peppers, balsamic glaze, pickled jalapeño peppers, whole grain mustard, hot and sweet mustard

Directions:

maple cream and apple baked brie

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking dish or pie plate with nonstick spray. I suggest using the dish you’d like to serve this in so you don’t have to transfer it.

Spread the apple butter on top of the brie cheese. Gently spread the maple cream on next. Layer on the apple slices and sprinkle them with cinnamon, then drizzle with maple syrup.

Bake the brie for 10 to 15 minutes, just until it almost bursts and the cheese is melty. Drizzle more maple cream or syrup on top right before serving. Serve with lots of crackers, crostini and breadsticks!

cheese board

I like to place my cheese on the board first and then add in bowls with spreads or nuts. After that, fill in your empty spaces with what else you have! It will all come together as you work at it.

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I appreciate you so much!

And now, stay tuned for ten days of Friendsgiving goodness!