One of my favorite activities while quarantining was watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. I’m admittedly a reality TV junkie, and The Bachelorette is one of my favorites. To put it bluntly, this show is T-R-A-S-H, but it’s an excuse to get together with your friends, eat snacks, drink wine, and comment on the train wreck that is the show. If you’re anything like my group, we spend more time talking than watching. Today I’m sharing some apps that are the perfect accompaniment to any Bachelorette watch party.
Gougerès, or French cheese puffs, sound more complicated than they are. You make a choux pastry, then add in Gruyère and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. I use Ina Garten's recipe from her book Barefoot in Paris, but with some small edits. I don't have a food processor large enough to fit everything, so I adapted the recipe to use a stand mixer. Once your dough has come together on the stove top, add it to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. I turn the mixer on low to cool the dough off a little, then add 5 extra-large room temperature eggs one by one (not 4 like the recipe calls for), mixing well between additions. You want your batter to be smooth and thick. Once your batter reaches the correct consistency, add in the cheeses, then proceed with the recipe as written. This recipe makes 40 puffs, perfect for 6 people. I made these puffs about an hour before my guests arrived. To make ahead, bake the gougerès and allow them to cool, then freeze in plastic bags. To reheat, bake them at 425 degrees for 5 minutes.
Get the Recipe: The Barefoot Contessa's Cheese Puffs
I hate making individual appetizers, but these blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto were a breeze. You replace the pits from whole Medjool dates with a hunk of blue cheese, wrap each date in prosciutto, then bake on 400 degrees for 8 minutes. I prepared the dates ahead of time and refrigerated them on a baking sheet until my guests arrived. I had a vegetarian guest so I made a few without prosciutto for her. I used extra creamy Danish blue cheese, which was delicious. The sweet date pairs perfectly with the salty prosciutto; they're addictive.
For something sweet, I served strawberries with chocolate dip. Semi-sweet chocolate is elevated with coffee, Grand Marnier, and orange zest. This is such a quick dessert to whip up. You combine the cream and orange zest in a double boiler over simmering water, then add the chocolate and stir until completely melted. You can keep the chocolate warm in a bowl set over simmering water. Ina's recipe called for long-stemmed strawberries, which my grocery store doesn't carry, but regular strawberries worked perfectly.
Get the Recipe: The Barefoot Contessa's Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
A raspberry royale is one of my favorite cocktails (I love anything with champagne), and seemed apropos for The Bachelorette. As far as cocktails go, it doesn't get much simpler than this. Add liqueur and raspberries to champagne flutes, then top with champagne after your guests arrive.
Confession: I initially planned on serving Ina Garten's herb coeur a la creme for another savory option. I've made this recipe several times before and it turned out perfectly. This most recent attempt? Not so much... The creme did not set up in the fridge at all, and after chilling was still a thin consistency. I ended up tossing it and serving some leftover blue cheese and crackers instead. C'est la vie...
Here's the recipe if you want to attempt this dish (it seems foolproof, so whatever went wrong was definitely operator error): The Barefoot Contessa's Herb Coeur a la Creme
Get the Look:
I served everything buffet style, so everyone could help themselves as we watched. I kept things simple with all white serving dishes. The white milk glass compote is my grandmother's from the 60s. I think it's perfect for strawberries and adds height. I served the dates on a cake stand and the gougerès in a bread basket. I picked up some white and light pink roses for a subtle nod to The Bachelor franchise and placed them in a silver champagne bucket.
Thanks for reading!