Some combination of brie and cranberry is the gold standard of holiday fare, and these Cranberry Brie Bites deliver! The cranberry jam and crostini can be made in advance, so you’ll need just 10 minutes on party day to assemble this adorable two-bite appetizer.
I seriously love appetizers. One of the reasons I look forward to hosting parties is so I can nosh on appetizers for a solid 24 hours and feel zero guilt. Can’t let those leftovers go to waste!
Some kind of bruschetta or toast always makes an appearance on my party menus, and these Cranberry Brie Crostini Bites have become a solid member of the rotation. They are so incredibly easy to make, and can be mostly prepped in advance. They can also be served at room temperature, so there’s no need to worry about timing the oven correctly or refreshing the platters if they get too cold.
I’ve tried a variety of store-bought cranberry jams, but I keep coming back to this homemade recipe. It’s not too sweet, and not too tart, and so darn easy that there’s just no reason to bother with store-bought. Plus the flavor is unbeatable!
How to Make Cranberry Brie Bites on Crostini
These cranberry brie bites are a beautiful cocktail party appetizer and a snap to pull together! Brie and cranberries are natural companions, and these cute little bites are the perfect combination of sweet, tart, and salty. If you prepare the jam and crostini in advance (which takes less than 30 minutes, and is mostly hands-off), these two-bite appetizer toasts take just 10 minutes to assemble.
Step One: Make the Cranberry Jam
- In a small sauce pot, combine two cups of fresh cranberries with a quarter cup of brown sugar, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, a large sprig of fresh rosemary, and one whole orange that’s been zested and juiced. I zest the orange using a small paring knife, then slice it in half and juice by hand.
- Place the pot over high heat and stir frequently with a wooden spoon until the liquid starts to boil and the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the cranberries fall apart and a jam-like consistency has formed. It should take about 20 minutes for the cranberries to soften and the jam to firm up.
- Fish out the orange zest slices and rosemary stems, then taste for seasoning. If it’s too tart for your preference, add a touch more brown sugar (start with a tablespoon) and stir until it dissolves. I found a quarter cup perfect, but I like my jam a little more on the tart side.
Step Two: Make the Crostini
- While the jam is simmering, prepare the crostini.
- Slice a baguette into two dozen half-inch slices. I used a whole grain, french-style baguette, but use whatever you love.
- Brush the slices with olive oil on both sides, lay onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, then toast for 12-15 minutes in a 375°F oven until crisp and lightly golden brown. Flip the slices halfway through baking to ensure an even crisp throughout.
Step Three: Assemble the Cranberry Brie Bites
- Slice an 8-oz wedge of brie cheese into 24 pieces; it’s best to do so while the brie is still cold from the fridge and firm.
- Top each toasted crostini with a slice of brie and about a tablespoon of cranberry jam.
- Add a little pinch of rosemary for a festive garnish.
- Arrange the cranberry brie crostini onto a platter for serving. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Viola! Delectable and adorable cranberry brie bites!
My Best Tips for Perfect Cranberry Brie Bites
- Make the cranberry jam the day before. Store in a sealed container in the fridge; it’s delicious cold.
- Make the crostini the day before. Allow the toasts to cool completely, then place into a gallon ziplock bag, press out as much air as possible, and store on the counter. They’ll stay crisp for up to 24 hours.
- Slice the brie straight from the fridge while it’s still firm.
- Add a tiny sprig of rosemary to each crostini for a festive touch.
- These appetizers hold up well at room temperature (plus brie is terrific once softened a bit), so feel free to prepare them up to an hour ahead of guest arrival.
More Cocktail Party Appetizers
If you love appetizers as much as I do, check out these other seasonal favorites:
- Rosemary White Bean Bruschetta
- Winter Harvest Endive Cups
- Mini Butternut Squash Tarts
- 20 Fast, Easy, Make-Ahead Cocktail Party Appetizers
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- Cutting Board
- Small Pot
- 2 c fresh cranberries
- ¼ c packed brown sugar
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
- 1 baguette, sliced into 24 ½" slices
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp sea or kosher salt
- 8 oz brie, sliced into 24 pieces
- Combine the cranberries, brown sugar, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla, and rosemary in a small pot. Bring the liquid to a simmer and stir frequently with a wood spoon until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are falling apart and a jam-like consistency has formed, 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and fish out the orange peels and rosemary stems. Taste for sweetness, and add more brown sugar (start with a tablespoon) if the jam is too tart. Set aside to cool.
- Heat the oven to 375°F. Slice the baguette into 24 ½" slices. Brush each side with olive oil, then lay onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle the slices with salt. Transfer the slices to the oven and bake, flipping once halfway through, until golden brown and crisp, 12-15 minutes.
- To prepare the brie bites, top each slice of toasted baguette with a slice of brie cheese and a tablespoon of cranberry jam. Garnish with a small piece of rosemary if desired. Serve at room temperature. The jam will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days in a sealed container.