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Simple Holiday Food Hacks

Time-saving tips help turn store bought items into impressive holiday fare

Article by Angela Broockerd

Photography by Janie Jones

Originally published in Bend Lifestyle

Make holiday entertaining easy with these styling food hacks that look impressive but are simple to create. If you don't have time to bake a dessert but want to serve something that doesn't look store bought, simply top it with berries, herbs, a sauce or a holiday prop to give it a little something extra. We made a trip to Trader Joe's and purchased most of these items, and after some simple assembling and minimal baking, we were able to create a beautiful, eye-catching holiday spread. 

Holiday Charcuterie Board

Why not create a unique holiday charcuterie board in the shape of a Christmas tree or snowman. It looks impressive and was a quick assembly. For this look, a few trimmed evergreen clippings from the backyard served as a great edging for the board. With a variety of cheeses, berries, nuts and olives, this tasty display makes the perfect statement board. For an added touch, use a cookie cutter to add a cheese star to the top.

New York Cheesecake

This inexpensive cheesecake was purchased at Trader Joe's but definitely needed a little something to make it look festive. Candied pecans (we made ours from scratch but they can be purchased), fresh berries and mint sprigs added color, dimension and interest. 

Apple Tart

This apple tart was already really pretty right out of the box, however adding a few toppers made it look like it was made from scratch. Sliced pears, fresh herbs, berries and drizzled caramel added color add a homemade touch to this delicious treat. 

Naked Cake

A cake mix, a simple buttercream frosting and a gingerbread house kit is all it took to create this adorable 3-layered naked cake. After preparing the cake layers, simply ice the cake in a thin layer to give an opaque look that reveals some of the cake underneath. This cake was topped with a gingerbread house and coconut flakes to resemble snow. 

Double Creme Brie Board

This double creme brie with truffles can be purchased at Trader Joe's and is always a crowd favorite. After baking the brie, add berries and a sauce of your choosing to the top as a flavor enhancer and to add interest. This brie is drizzled with local honey, berries and candied pecans and is served with crackers. 

Double Chocolate Cake

If you don't have time to bake a cake but want your store bought cake to look special, add berries and a holiday topper to give it that special flair. Fresh raspberries adorn the top of this cake, and to add cascading fresh berries down the side, toothpicks can be used to hold them in place. Not only is it simple and quick to do, but it turns into the perfect entertaining table centerpiece. 

Gourmet Hot Chocolate

If serving a warm beverage for guests to enjoy, consider hot chocolate with burnt sugar rimmed mugs. If creating a hot chocolate bar, provide whipped cream and marshmallow toppings as well as added flavorings such as caramel, peppermint, or make it a boozy hot chocolate with whiskey, Bailey’s or Peppermint Schnapps. 

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