6 Party-Perfect Recipes for New Year’s Eve

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New Year’s Eve is the time to go all out — with dress, food, and celebrations as you celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another. Whether you want to spend hours baking and preparing or are pressed for time and need a quick and easy treat, here are six recipes to get you ready for 2014.

1. Prosciutto Bread

Prosciutto is a dry, cured Italian ham. It is thinly sliced, and can add a wallop of flavor — making it perfect for this easy recipe from the Food Network, the only other ingredients of which are French bread, pepper, and olive oil.

Unroll one 11-ounce tube refrigerated French bread dough and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover with 8 slices prosciutto. Roll into a log and twist, pulling and shaping it into an 8-inch ring. Pinch the ends together. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with olive oil, and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until golden — 20 minutes. Brush with more oil; bake 5 more minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with more oil.

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2. Edible Party Horns

Kids and adults can delight at these noiseless horns from She Knows. They are a desert that doesn’t require any baking, and brings in a traditional element of New Year’s — a noisemaker — but with a delicious twist.

Ingredients:

12 ice cream sugar cones
About 3-1/2 cups white chocolate
Silver and gold decorating sugar
Multicolored nonpareils
Red chewy licorice or Tootsie Rolls

Directions: Place the chocolate in a large Mason jar, or other suitable container. Melt in the microwave for about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until completely melted. Be sure to stir the mixture every 30 seconds to prevent scorching. Holding the pointy end of the cone, carefully dip into the white chocolate. Then roll the cone all around to evenly coat the entire cone, all the way up to where you are holding it. Place on a wire cooling rack over a large piece of parchment paper.

Add colored sprinkles to the cones while the chocolate is still wet, liberally coat all around the entire cone. Let the cones dry. Using a skewer, place a hole in the center of the licorice so it slides on the top of the cone. Carefully attach to the top of the cones.

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3. French 75

Get your champagne flutes ready, because with this Saveur recipe, you’ll be serving light and refreshing French 75s this year. It yields 1, simple to make cocktail, so adjust as needed.

Ingredients:

1 oz. gin
1/2 ounces simple syrup
1/2 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice
Brut Champagne or a dry sparkling white wine
Lemon twist to garnish

Directions: Combine gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled and strain into a glass. Top with Champagne and garnish with a lemon twist to serve.

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4. DC Cupcakes New Year’s Eve Strawberry Champagne Sparkler Cupcakes

Of course, champagne isn’t just for drinking, but can be used in baking as well. For a dessert that will impress guests with its presentation, prepare this recipe by DC Cupcakes via Oprah.comYou will also need champagne flutes and and indoor-safe sparkler candles.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup fresh strawberries, diced
1/2 cup good Champagne (sweet rose Champagne suggested)
2 1/2 cups flour , sifted
1/2 tsp. baking powder , sifted
1/4 teaspoons salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract plus seeds from 1 vanilla bean (note: move down to next line and see edits to other recipe)
1 1/4 cups whole milk at room temperature

16 tablespoons (8 ounces) unsalted butter
4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 teaspoons whole milk
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup good Champagne (sweet rose Champagne suggested)

24 fresh strawberries
1 cup good Champagne (sweet rose Champagne suggested)

2 cups high-quality semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 mini cupcake pans with 36 mini baking cups or grease pans with butter if not using baking cups. Dice up 1/2 cup of fresh strawberries and soak in 1/2 cup of Champagne. Set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Place the unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Add the sugar; beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition. Combine the vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds and milk in a large liquid measuring cup.

Reduce the speed to low. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then gradually add one-third of the milk mixture, beating until well incorporated. Add another one-third of the flour mixture, followed by one-third of the milk mixture. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk mixture, and beat just until combined.

Gently fold in the diced Champagne-soaked strawberries, just until incorporated. Scoop batter into baking cups and bake for 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. If using paper baking cups, peel off all of the paper baking cups from the cupcakes at this time. (Continued on the next page.)

Place the unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Add the confectioner’s sugar; beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, milk, salt, and Champagne, and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Place frosting in a disposable piping bag with a large round tip. Slice 24 strawberries lengthwise and soak in 1 cup of Champagne for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Fill a medium saucepan with an inch or 2 of water and place over medium-low heat. Place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a medium glass bowl over the saucepan and melt the chocolate chips. Stir occasionally until the chips are completely melted. Remove the bowl of melted chocolate from the saucepan. Pour the ganache into a plastic squeeze bottle. (If a squeeze bottle is not available, you can drizzle with a spoon.)

Line up 12 glass Champagne flutes. Insert 1 mini strawberry Champagne cupcake in the bottom of each glass. Next, pipe a swirl of Champagne buttercream frosting on top of each cupcake. Add several slices of Champagne-soaked strawberries, and a drizzle of chocolate ganache. Repeat layers. Finally, place a third mini strawberry Champagne cupcake at the top of each glass, pipe with a final “Georgetown Cupcake signature swirl” of Champagne buttercream frosting, and top with a final drizzle of chocolate ganache. Insert 1 indoor-safe sparkler candle in the top of each glass. Light the candles at midnight, serve with spoons, and enjoy!

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5. Bacon-wrapped dates

Food that can be made ahead of time takes part of the stress out of entertaining. This Martha Stewart appetizer, found on Delish, can be prepared and then stored in the freezer for up to 1 month before baking.

Ingredients:

32 pitted dates (about 10 ounces)
2 ounces shelled, salted whole pistachios
2 ounces dried apricots, cut into 32 strips
1 pound lean best-quality bacon, thinly sliced and then halved crosswise

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Stuff each date with 3 or 4 pistachios. Lay a stuffed date and apricot strip on top of each bacon slice; wrap to enclose. If not using immediately, freeze up to 1 month. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes, flipping each wrapped date after 8 minutes. If frozen, bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes; flip and bake 10 minutes more. Transfer wrapped dates to paper towels to drain. Serve with toothpicks.

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6. Peanut Butter and Pretzel Truffles

Eating Well has given the humble ingredients of peanut butter and pretzels an upgrade by incorporating them into truffles. This recipe is sure to satisfy any sweet and salty cravings this New Year’s Eve.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
1/4 cup finely chopped salted pretzels
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, melted

Directions: Combine peanut butter and pretzels in a small bowl. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes. Roll the peanut butter mixture into 20 balls (about 1 teaspoon each). Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and freeze until very firm, about 1 hour. Roll the frozen balls in melted chocolate. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

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