Last Friday the Gosneys enjoyed the famous, world-renowned, completely awesome Graham Christmas Party. The Grahams are good friends and they have established a great tradition of hosting an adults-only Christmas party. Matt and Sharon celebrate their attendance at the party in two significant ways. First, they buy spiffy new Christmas sweaters (although Sharon refuses to buy one with snowmen or Santa Claus on it.) Next, they find some sort of tasty new treat to make and bring. The results of the sweater purchase can be seen here, along with a very pregnant and very ready to not be pregnant anymore Laura Hammontree in the background. The tasty treats were Cheese Straws and Mini-Cheesecakes. As both were un-abashed hits at the party the Gosneys have decided they are willing to share their recipes. Rest assured, they were glorious. (Recipes are at the bottom of the post.)
Another significant aspect of the Graham Christmas Party is the great and imaginative games that Cori Graham thinks up to keep everyone entertained. This year's major hit was a game in which a series of Christmas songs were written on slips of paper, and genres of music on seperate slips of paper. Each group drew from each pile and, with provided props, had to perform the song in the genre selected. Here several friends are performing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" in the style of High School Musical. The Gosneys did "Deck the Halls" in a country-music style that ended up being much more redneck hillbilly than country. Frightening to behold, but highly entertaining.
Hope everyone is well!
Flour, for dusting
1 extra-large egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup finely grated Gruyère cheese (or Aziago, which is what we used.)
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll out each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board until it is 10- by 12-inches. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the surface of the pastry. Sprinkle each sheet evenly with 1⁄4 cup of the Parmesan, 1⁄2 cup of the Gruyère, 1⁄2 teaspoon of the thyme, 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt, and some pepper. With the rolling pin, lightly press the flavorings into the puff pastry. Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife or pizza wheel into 11 or 12 strips. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. (We also found that twisting the strips and then doubling them over and twisting again worked best. Otherwise they end up way too long.)
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each straw and bake for another 2 minutes. Don't over bake or the cheese will burn. Cool and serve at room temperature.
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
3 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 (21 oz.) can Wilderness filling or topping, any flavor,
chilled (we doubled the recipe and went half blueberry and half cherry.)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine crumbs, sugar, and
butter; press equal portions into bottoms 24 lightly
greased or paper cup lined muffin cups. In large bowl, beat
cheese until fluffy (muffin paper cups worked great.) Gradually beat in condensed milk until
smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Spoon mixture into
cups. Bake 20 minutes or until set. Cool. Chill. Top with
filling. Refrigerate. Makes about 2 dozen mini cheesecakes.