The cocktail hour demands a nibble or two, and appetizer cups do triple duty. They are easy to prepare, hold their ingredients neatly, and impress guests with their elegance. Cooks can choose a number of different types of cupping, including phyllo dough, pie pastry, puff pastry, and even packaged refrigerated biscuit dough. The range of ingredients appetizer cups can contain mean neither the cook nor the company will ever become bored.
For cooks in a hurry, nothing beats beginning with refrigerated crescent rolls or buttermilk biscuits. Once cut to fit into mini-muffin tins, the dough is ready to receive a filling. A little shredded cheese mixed with sour cream and a dab of cream cheese does the trick, especially with seasoning in the form of dried or fresh herbs or curry powder. For a more substantial filling, many cooks are fond of including cooked ground beef, shredded chicken, canned tuna, or for vegetarians, tofu.
Homemade or store-bought pie dough offers a different texture and taste. As with all appetizer cups, the filling depends upon what’s on hand as well as the cook’s preference. Ricotta, dry cottage cheese or goat cheese, spinach or fresh basil, and an egg create a good foundation. This version loves a little bacon, prosciutto, or smoked ham as well as sautéed mushrooms, onions, and perhaps some Parmesan.
Another easy appetizer cup incorporates the cup and the ingredients into one in the form of batter that starts with boxed baking mix and takes shape in a mini-muffin tin. A very popular version combines the cook’s choice of cheese, sautéed diced onion, and several eggs as well as marjoram or Italian herbs. Many cooks have discovered these savory morsels take on a new dimension when a little shredded summer squash or carrot jumps into the mix.
Preformed phyllo cups offer tasters an entirely different experience. The crunchy texture of the dough is the perfect foil for a sweet lemon cream filling or savory cream cheese and salmon. Another option for these little yummies incorporates cilantro, basil pesto, or sun-dried tomato and olives. Noncheese variations include chicken, ham, or shrimp salad, as well as guacamole, artichoke, onion dip, or sautéed wild mushrooms and sour cream.
Perhaps the most impressive appetizer cups begin with buttery puff pastry. A fabulous, simple filling that includes cream cheese, a bit of sour cream, and canned or fresh crabmeat or lobster is sure to be a hit. Another almost effortless filling is one made with condensed mushroom, chicken, or celery soup, a splash of heavy cream, and frozen mixed veggies. Cheese isn’t essential for this variation, but sharp cheddar cheese or smooth brie will add dimension.