How to Create a Brunch Board

Creating a brunch board can take something simple, like bagels and cream cheese, and elevate it into something special.  Turn a few humble ingredients into the unexpected centerpiece of a gathering. We love giving our guests the opportunity to pick and choose their favorite bagel and toppings.  Each bite can be unique and creative. Follow this step-by-step guide to create a beautiful brunch board using ingredients you likely have on hand.

Choose your Spread

Start by preparing two or more of your favorite Wind & Willow Cheeseballs. On our board we used two sweet Cheeseballs, Carrot Cake and Lemon Blueberry, but you could also mix in a savory Cheeseball to give more options. Whether you choose sweet, savory, or a combination, starting with Wind & Willow is a must for creating the best gourmet spread!

Once your cheeseballs are prepared, place them on the board. This could be any food safe tray, cutting board, or even a sheet pan! Placing the cheeseballs in a bowl first is optional, but helps to contain them.

Add Some Color

Next, place fruit around the tray. Here, we chose berries, but depending on what cheeseballs you use, pair whatever fruit you like! If using savory cheeseballs, traditional savory toppings like tomatoes and red onions would be perfect in place of fruit.

Waffles, Bagels, and Toast… oh my!

Add waffles, toast, or bite sized pancakes to the board. Adding at least one option in addition to bagels ensures that everyone will have something they love. Plus, it makes the board look beautiful.

Finally, add a variety of mini bagels. The small size fits perfectly on the board and also means guests can try more than one flavor combination!

Serve this board as is or alongside savory fare and cocktails for a full brunch effect!

Brunch Made Easy

Using Wind & Willow Cheeseball Mixes takes a breakfast that could come across as pretty boring and turns it into a colorful centerpiece full of flavor! Gathering quality ingredients and being intentional about placement on your board makes all the difference in the world.  We love taking simple everyday moments, like breakfast with your family, and elevating it to a moment full of memories! 

We would love to see how you use Wind & Willow products to spruce up your brunch! We are on PinterestFacebook, and Instagram @windandwillowfoods. Tag us for a chance to be featured on our page.

The Easiest Appetizer for the Holidays

With parties to host, potlucks to attend, and a million things on the to-do list this holiday, having an easy go to appetizer recipe in your back pocket is essential.

Crostini Appetizers

With parties to host, potlucks to attend, and a million things on the to-do list this holiday, having an easy go to appetizer recipe in your back pocket is essential. When hosting, the right appetizer also keeps guests happy and occupied while you finish up the main course. Something labor intensive would obviously defeat the purpose! That is why we always turn to Crostini Appetizers. Wind & Willow mixes make the preparation quick and easy, but guests will be amazed at all the effort it appears you put it! 

How to Build a Crostini

A crostini has 3 main components: toasted slices of bread, a spread or topping, and a garnish. The bread acts as the base and vehicle for this finger food; the spread is the “meat and potatoes” of it all; and the garnish adds color, a contrast of flavor, or can give a hint as to what is in the topping.

The Toasted Bread

First, some pointers on getting the base, the toasted bread, just right. You will want to buy a French baguette or a skinny Italian loaf (anything too wide and this bite-sized appetizer will start looking like an open-faced sandwich). Use a serrated bread knife to cut 1/2″ slices on a bias (diagonally). Lay each slice of bread on a sheet pan in a single layer. You can add olive oil or butter to the tops of the slices for added flavor and to enhance browning, but this is optional. Spread the slices on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until the bread begins to brown.  Remove, let cool, and put in the next batch.  Once they cool, the toasted bread will keep for several days at room temperature in an air tight container.

baguette or italian loaf cut for crostini

Tip:  Many stores now sell these small baguette toasts ready-made! You can find them in the cracker or bread aisle, but we prefer the ones in the bakery area that are freshly made.

The Topping or Spread

The best part is the topping or spread on the toast. The possibilities are truly endless. Use your favorite cheese (we love melted brie), something fresh like the tomatoes in our bruschetta recipe, or for lots of flavor and easy prep, a simple Wind & Willow cheeseball makes the perfect spread! Simply make your favorite cheeseball according to package instructions (using cream cheese and butter) and then spread a tablespoon or two onto your toasted bread. This is easier to do while the mixture is still at room temperature. You can either stir the topping packet into the mixture as well, or hold on to it and use it as your garnish in the next step.

Garnishing a Crostini

Topping your crostini appetizers with a garnish is totally optional, but gives even more room for creativity! You can garnish with a contrasting flavor, like topping a Jalapeno Jack crostini with cranberry jelly. You can garnish to add color like adding the tomato and herb topping to the top of a BLT crostini. Likewise, you can add a garnish that hints at the flavor of the topping, like adding cheddar and bacon to the top of a Smokehouse Bacon & Cheddar crostini. Keep it simple by topping the crostini with the cheeseball topping packet, or let your creative side show by trying out new combinations on each slice. 

Some of our Favorite Combos

Jalapeno Jack + Cranberry Sauce

Bacon Bleu Cheese + Bacon & Bleu Cheese Crumbles

Caramelized Onion + Caramelized Onions

Bacon Stuffed Mushroom + Mushroom, Cheese, and Chive

Bruschetta + Fresh Tomatoes, Bacon, and Balsamic Glaze

The Perfect Holiday Appetizer Could not be Easier

Toasted bread? Check! Wind & Willow Cheeseball and topping? Check! There you have it. The perfect holiday appetizer with items you can keep on hand. Crostini appetizers will make you look like you worked hard, but truly you will have gotten the party started with minimal effort. That is the beauty of having Wind & Willow in the pantry. With the time you save, you may actually be able to relax and enjoy your guests!

We would love to see the creative combinations that you use to make your own crostini recipes! Tag us on Facebook and Instagram @Windandwillowfoods for a chance to be featured.