Ever notice that during the holidays, people are torn between the apple pie and pumpkin pie? When you're stuffed from a holiday dinner, fitting in pie makes it feel like Sophie's choice.
It doesn't have to be this way. Bite-sized treats let you sample to goods, sleep around a bit. "Charcookierie board" started as a joke between my mother-in-law and I. We much prefer chocolate to apple or pumpkin pie, and she buys a variety of cookies and candies every year. This year, while arranging them on a tray, she came up with the term, and we laughed while trying to discern the best pronunciation for it.
Where a large slab of pie is committal, this charcookierie tray was slowly decimated as the night went on. A nibble there, a sample there. People grabbing a Hershey's Kiss in passing. It disappeared at the end of the night- save for a couple of Andes Candies.
Tips for a great charcookierie board
Certain flavors, such as mint, pumpkin spice or star anise (in biscotti) tend to infuse surrounding foods with their scent and flavor. If one of these types of treats are on your board, ensure that they are individually wrapped. For instance, Andes Candies come wrapped in foil, and biscotti has a plastic sleeve.
Though we love chocolate, we didn't want the tray to be awash in brown. Get candy wrapped in bright colored foil, but not those waxy holiday characters! Those are meant for children who don't know any better. Find truffles and candy wrapped in pretty colors. Break up the display with shortbread or raspberry linzer cookies, dusted with confectioners sugar.
Size matters. We had small truffles dusted with cocoa powder, and they were too flat on the tray. We elevated them in a raised bowl, which not only allowed room for more sweets, but it was visually interesting.
Variety is the spice of life. A big tray of chocolate chip cookies or truffles looks stale. Bring out the greatest hits: treats involving peanuts, wafers, coconut, crushed candy canes all add to the experience.
While symmetry may look odd on a rustic charcuterie board, symmetry looks amazing - even festive - on a charcookierie board.
So grab your prettiest tray and start shopping. Or, if you want to make everyone feel bad, start baking. You'll get better and better with practice, as far as assembly goes. Send us your charcookierie board photos - we'd love to see your creativity!