24 multigrain crackers
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24 thin slices of seedless cucumber
24 toasted baguette slices
24 purchased phyllo cups (found in the grocer's freezer section)
Garlic-herbcream cheese spread
4 ounces softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons milk
Pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
Zesty barbecue spread
3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons spicy red pepper jelly
¼ cup sour cream
Splash of hot sauce
Orange sweet potato spread
1 medium sweet potato, microwaved until fork-tender
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Small cooked, peeled shrimp
Shredded cooked chicken
Halved cherry tomatoes
Small wedges of manchego cheese
Shaved parmesan cheese
Sliced green and black olives
Sliced hot peppers (piri piri or Peppadew)
For the garlic spread: In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and milk until smooth. Stir in the salt, pepper, thyme, oregano and garlic.
For the barbecue spread: In a small bowl, stir together the barbecue sauce, red pepper jelly, sour cream and hot sauce.
For the sweet potato spread: Peel the sweet potato, then place it in a medium bowl and mash it. Stir in the orange marmalade and vinegar, then season with salt and pepper.
To assemble: Arrange the bases on a large serving tray. Top each with a small dollop of one of the spreads. Press one of the topping choices into the spread, then finish each with a garnish.
Cook's note: Each spread recipe makes enough to top 24 canapes. If you opt to use 24 of each canape base (for a total of 96 canapes), supplement the three spreads above with a purchased choice, such as hummus, tzatziki or flavored cream cheese.
Alison Ladman, The Associated Press