Did you see our ideas this morning for fun, festive dessert ideas incorporating dairy? If you missed it, be sure to check out the sweet ideas here. In partnership with the California Milk Advisory Board, we are also sharing some fun, never-seen-before ways to serve cheese at your next holiday gathering! How cute is this Cheese Wreath we created? By simply cutting cheese slices with a leaf cookie cutter and forming around a foam wreath, you can creatively serve your favorite variation of cheese. Add an edible bow made from phyllo dough, or simply use ribbon to add a finishing touch. You can also add candied cranberries to your wreath for an extra detail.
Cheese Wreath with Phyllo Bow
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.
Cut the phyllo dough into 2-inch strips from the short end. You will only need to cut 2 rows. Divide 1 row of dough in half and create each side of the bow by layering a sheet of phyllo, buttering and repeating. Shape the bow ends around a piece of foil that has been folded over into a tear-shape. Pinch the ends to create a slight pleating. Set on the baking sheet. Make the center of the bow using a three layers of phyllo and cutting them in to thirds. Repeat the buttering process and shape the dough around foil that’s been formed into a cylinder; place on the baking sheet. Cut the remaining dough in half to create the ends of the bow. Repeat the buttering process and pleat one end of each. Place on the baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the pieces to cool before assembling like a puzzle piece to create a bow.
Meanwhile, use a leaf-shaped cookie cutter to stamp out 1/4-inch thick pieces of Monterey Jack. Cut enough leaves to cover an 8-inch wreath (approximately 36-40 leaves). Place the wreath form on a tray or board. Layer the cheese leaves over the wreath, using toothpicks to hold in place if necessary. Add the phyllo bow (or ribbon bow). Add sugared cranberries if desired.
In a pot, heat 1/2 cup of sugar with the water until the sugar dissolves. Pour the water into the top of a double broiler and add the cranberries. Cook over simmering water for approximately 45 minutes; stir occasionally. Remove the cranberries from the heat and let it sit on the counter overnight.
Drain the cranberries and coat with the remaining sugar. Allow the cranberries to dry for 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Another way to display your favorite cheese, is to create these darling cheese block “trees”.
Cheese Tree Skewers
Cut the Manchego and Monterey Jack cheeses into rectangular shapes of various sizes that will create a tree (sizes we used are shown below). Cut small cubes for the tree stump. Alternate the cheeses when skewering. Use a small star cookie cutter to stamp out a topper for the tree to be skewered at the top. The following outlines the measurements you should cut for each layer of the tree, starting from the tree stump and moving up. Measurements are width x height x base:
1/2″ x 1/2″ x 1/2″ – tree stump
3 1/2″ x 1/2″ x 1/2″
2 2/3″ x 1/2″ x 1/2″
1 1/2″ x 1/2″ x 1/2″
3/4″ x 1/2″ x 1/2″
Place the tree skewers in foam or in a cake pop stand and cover the base with crumbled cotija cheese, to create a snow effect.
We hope you give our creative ideas a try for your holiday celebration this year!
For more information about California dairy products, including milk and cheese, visit the California Milk Advisory Board.
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