First off, a link to my darling munchkin’s 9-month portraits. I don’t know how we settled on 9 months in our family as THE portrait date, just that my sister and I had formal ones done at that age and then my nephew did too. Now it’s more or less graven in stone. I have no idea what color Maggie’s eyes are; they look gray in these photos but they’re edging closer to brown in real life. I could spend hours looking at them to figure it out.
Now, my children, gather round, for I am about to teach you how to make friends and be popular. I know! Socially anxious ME telling assumedly normal YOU how to be popular. It’s shocking. But this is the easiest recipe ever, even easier than the vegetable platter my mom always advised me to make for parties. She knew the score: everyone at a party should love your dish and it should take no more than 15 minutes to assemble. And this baked brie (compliments of my college roommate, who introduced me to expensive cheese) takes exactly that amount of time, which includes finding the camera and photographing the whole shebang for the five people that read your blog.
First things first: ask your host or hostess if you can use their oven upon arrival. Tom still has to mop his brow and furrow his nose at the mention of a Thanksgiving guest nearly a decade ago who volunteered to make a side of mac ‘n cheese for Tom’s dinner of 20+ guests, arrived bearing two boxes of Kraft and asked him to make room for her food in the kitchen. Blue box blues, indeed. Never presume it’s okay to use the kitchen facilities, because hosting is stressful and even though this is a dish of magic it still takes up valuable oven real estate.
Once you have the blessing of your host, get an oval baking dish (IKEA makes a nice ceramic one, about 10″ long), three wedges of brie, dark brown sugar, and Craisins. Cut the rind off the top, bottom, and side of the brie wedges. Place them at angles in the dish. Cut the third one up the middle and wiggle it in between the two whole triangles. Then get your sugar.
Cover the whole thing with a layer of sugar, however much or little you want. Don’t measure! It will take up valuable time.
Sprinkle Craisins liberally over the top. If you are super-ambitious and have almond slices, those might be nice too but they don’t bake up as well.
That’s it. That’s all you have to do. I TOLD you it was easy. Congratulate yourself on your efficiency with a beer.
Once you get to the party, bake at whatever temperature you want (my oven defaults to 350, which is fine) for however long it takes for the cheese to melt together and bubble. Serve with crackers. I like Wheat Thins because they have sharp corners for dipping and I can fit like eight plain ones in my mouth at once.
Guys, this is the GED version of a party dish. You can’t screw it up unless you cook it so long the sugar burns. And if you do that, well, you don’t deserve the sweetened glazed melty deliciousness. It is ridiculous how easy this is to make and you will be shocked and probably very frightened by the depraved lengths your friends will go to in order to get you to make it again, again, again. If you put actual cocaine in the sugar it couldn’t be more addictive than it is already.
So there you go. Go forth, party, look like a badass gourmet because your cheese is French, and thank my Former Roommate W for improving your life.