recipe // warm cheese bites with red pepper jelly (an epic appetizer for Thanksgiving)

Need an epic last-minute appetizer idea for your Thanksgiving dinner or holiday party? Our warm cheese bites are perfect and easy to make — and you can make them ahead and freeze them! Served with a red pepper jelly for a fiery kick. Get the full recipe with @americanexpress on Jojotastic.com and check out more great holiday insp on #bluecasheveryday #sponsored

If I have one bad habit (ha-ha, only one?), it’s waiting ’til the very last minute for anything. Not exactly the best habit, especially with Thanksgiving just days away! Today I’ve partnered with American Express to share my quick, easy, and epic last-minute appetizer to bring to Friendsgiving. I reached out to my friend and recipe guru Claire to whip up this delicious Warm Cheese Bites recipe — then she took it to the next level by suggesting a red pepper jelly. You guys…this jelly really takes it to a totally new place. That fiery kick is the perfect pairing with the flaky puff pastry, melty cheese, and bits of ham.

Need an epic last-minute appetizer idea for your Thanksgiving dinner or holiday party? Our warm cheese bites are perfect and easy to make — and you can make them ahead and freeze them! Served with a red pepper jelly for a fiery kick. Get the full recipe with @americanexpress on Jojotastic.com and check out more great holiday insp on #bluecasheveryday #sponsoredNeed an epic last-minute appetizer idea for your Thanksgiving dinner or holiday party? Our warm cheese bites are perfect and easy to make — and you can make them ahead and freeze them! Served with a red pepper jelly for a fiery kick. Get the full recipe with @americanexpress on Jojotastic.com and check out more great holiday insp on #bluecasheveryday #sponsoredDuring this time of year, I like to splurge, especially on the people I love. Whether it’s the perfect gift or specialty ingredients, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express helps me to earn cash back on every purchase I make. For example, that 3% cash back from US supermarkets really adds up! I also personally love that American Express has my back with their security and services. Plus, there’s no annual fee, meaning that this is the perfect card to have on hand as I stock my pantry, travel, or continue renovations on #mytinybungalow.

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Need an epic last-minute appetizer idea for your Thanksgiving dinner or holiday party? Our warm cheese bites are perfect and easy to make — and you can make them ahead and freeze them! Served with a red pepper jelly for a fiery kick. Get the full recipe with @americanexpress on Jojotastic.com and check out more great holiday insp on #bluecasheveryday #sponsored

Warm Cheese Bites (prep time: 15 minutes to prepare, plus 12-15 minutes for bake time. Recipe makes about 24 pieces)

Ingredients

  • 1 – 17.3 oz. package of puff pastry defrosted rolled out onto a floured counter top, until smooth and about 1/8 inch thick, cut into roughly 3×3 in. squares
  • 1 – 8-ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature 
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 cup green onion, green tops only, chopped coarsely 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 4-6 ounces ham steak, finely chopped 
  • 1 egg, whisked well

Red Pepper Jelly 

Ingredients

  • 1 – 12-ounce jar of roasted piquillo peppers, strained of liquid and rinsed with cold water 
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes 
  • 2 cups white sugar 
  • 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice 
  • 2 teaspoons Pectin (this is our favorite to use)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon calcium water (as provided dry in pectin box) 

Directions

Remove pastry puff from freezer, make calcium water for the pectin according the package instructions. Squeeze and strain the juice from 1 lemon. Place rinsed piquillo peppers into a food processor with the vinegar, sugar and pepper flakes. Mix well to create a smooth texture, place in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Keep a close eye on the mixture, and whisk well while heating. Once it comes to a boil, remove the pot from the heat and  allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes. Add the lemon juice, place it back on the heat and return it to a boil. Add the calcium water and pectin, whisk well, remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before using. The jelly can be stored in an airtight container in fridge for about 2 weeks. It’s also lovely paired with a cream cheese and crackers or as an accompaniment to a sandwich or even mixed into a salad dressing!

Place cream cheese, mayo, salt and green onion into food processor and blend until it’s emulsified and a light green color. Dice the ham steak into 1/8-inch cubes and fold into cream cheese mix. 

Roll out the thawed puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut it into 3×3-inch squares and place about two teaspoons of cream cheese filling into the center of each square. Fold the square over diagonally and press down to seal the edges. Whisk one egg in a bowl and using a pastry brush, cover each pastry with some of the egg wash.

Place the puffs, spaced evenly apart, onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in freezer overnight or for at least 2-3 hours. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425°. Place the cookie sheet, directly from the freezer, into the oven and bake for for 12-15 minutes. Pastry should appear golden and flaky, almost doubling in size. Enjoy with more red pepper jelly, a glass of bubbly and good company. 

Need an epic last-minute appetizer idea for your Thanksgiving dinner or holiday party? Our warm cheese bites are perfect and easy to make — and you can make them ahead and freeze them! Served with a red pepper jelly for a fiery kick. Get the full recipe with @americanexpress on Jojotastic.com and check out more great holiday insp on #bluecasheveryday #sponsored

For most parties, you can find me in one of two places: snuggling someone’s pet or hovering around the snack table. If there’s one appetizer I love, it’s anything wrapped in puff pastry. Puff pastry is sort of like… the most perfect vessel for delivering tiny bites to my mouth before dinner is served.  Not gonna lie, after this shoot I ate 5 of them in one sitting… and then had 3 more.

Need an epic last-minute appetizer idea for your Thanksgiving dinner or holiday party? Our warm cheese bites are perfect and easy to make — and you can make them ahead and freeze them! Served with a red pepper jelly for a fiery kick. Get the full recipe with @americanexpress on Jojotastic.com and check out more great holiday insp on #bluecasheveryday #sponsored

Be sure to check out our previous posts in partnership with American Express, too:

Photography and styling by Jojotastic. Recipe developed by Claire McAleese for Jojotastic.

This post is sponsored by American Express. All opinions are my own and always will be! Thanks for supporting content that keeps Jojotastic going.

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  • Looks like a really delicious recipe!!

    • they are SO good. I highly suggest making this recipe :)