These Vegan Cranberry Cream Cheese Bites are fabulous for entertaining during the holidays or all year round! Layer vegan cream cheese, cranberry sauce, hazelnuts, and rosemary in puff pastry for irresistible bites that nobody can resist.
These simple, easy-to-make, and elegant bites are the perfect appetizer or snack for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve; they're so festive! They can also be an anytime treat.
- Why you need to try these Vegan Cranberry Cream Cheese Bites
- What is puff pastry?
- Where to buy puff pastry
- How to make vegan cranberry cream cheese bites
- Expert tips
- Can you make these ahead of time?
- Can these be frozen?
- Can these be reheated?
- More holiday recipes
Why you need to try these Vegan Cranberry Cream Cheese Bites
These are just the thing to make when you have leftover homemade cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving. If you don't have any leftover sauce, I recommend making my homemade cranberry sauce; it comes together in 20 minutes. You can make this cranberry sauce the day before or the week before you make these bites.
As long as you have the puff pastry thawed, you can have these appetizers ready to be devoured in 30 minutes. I love pairing these bites with a sparkling cocktail with bubbles like this Blood Orange French 75 or this Sparkling Cranberry Mocktail.
What is puff pastry?
Puff pastry is a light, buttery, and flaky pastry dough used in sweet and savory dishes. It is time-consuming and moderately difficult to make, which is why I buy it! Whether you choose to make it yourself or buy it, it's important to remember to keep it cool and to flour your work surface.
It's a laminated dough that looks similar to a croissant, with hundreds of flaky layers, but it doesn't contain any leavening agents or yeast.
You only need five ingredients to make these vegan cranberry cream cheese bites!
- Vegan puff pastry, many brands are accidentally vegan; such as the brands Aussie Bakery and Pepperidge Farm. You can find these in the freezer section of the grocery store near the frozen pie crusts.
- Vegan cream cheese, I like Kite Hill's plain cream cheese alternative which is tangy and works well in this recipe
- Cranberry sauce, preferably homemade (not the jellied storebought kind)
- Chopped hazelnuts
- Chopped rosemary for garnish
Where to buy puff pastry
As I mentioned above, you can usually find puff pastry at all the major grocery stores (and smaller stores too) in the frozen dessert section where frozen pies are sold. It's typically near frozen phyllo. You may see it labeled as puff pastry sheets or puff pastry dough. I've never seen it refrigerated, but maybe you will!
The brand I used for this recipe is called Aussie Bakery which I found at Whole Foods. Pepperidge Farm makes puff pastry sheets too. I haven't tried any other brands. If you can't find any puff pastry, ask someone at your local grocery store! You might be able to order it online if your local grocery store delivers.
What you need to make these cranberry bites:
- two 12 well mini muffins pans, or a 24 well mini muffin pan. The mini muffin pan helps support the shape of the puff pastry. If you don't have a mini muffin pan, you can try a regular muffin tin, but the puff pastry will be more spread out and flat rather than curved at the edges.
- rolling pin
- pastry and pasta cutter wheel (nice to have, not essential)
- chef's knife
- two spoons
- marble board (nice to have but not essential) to keep your pastry cool.
How to make vegan cranberry cream cheese bites
Thaw the vegan puff pastry according to package directions. I usually put it in the fridge the night before.
Oil the mini muffin tins lightly with avocado oil or grapeseed oil.
- 1) Roll out the puff pastry on parchment paper and cut the puff pastry into 16 squares. This is easiest with a pizza and pastry cutter. I did not need to sprinkle the parchment paper with flour using this method, although that's an option to prevent sticking, especially if you're using a marble surface which also helps to keep the pastry cool.
- 2) Separate and place the squares in the mini muffin tins, gently pressing them at the bottom.
- 3) Fill the squares with vegan cream cheese.
- 4) Follow by filling the squares with cranberry sauce and chopped nuts on top of the vegan cream cheese.
- Bake until golden brown, and top with chopped rosemary. To keep the vibrant green color of the rosemary, I garnish after the bites come out of the oven. Let the bites cool for a few minutes before serving.
Do not use your chef's knife to cut pastry on your marble board, use a pastry cutter or a dull knife; otherwise, your chef's knife is going to get dull immediately!
Place the frozen puff pastry in the fridge the night before you plan to use it. I've had greater success doing this rather than thawing it on the counter before use; I find it's more likely to get gummy in texture.
- Keep the puff pastry cool and flour your work surface. A marble pastry board is perfect for working with pastry since it is naturally cool.
- If your puff pastry gets too warm or gummy, place it back in the fridge.
- If you have trouble separating the folds of the puff pastry, roll it out into an even 9-inch x9-inch or 10-inch x10-inch square anyways. It works!
- If you wish to balance the sweetness of the cranberry sauce, add a little salt and pepper. Since I don't find my homemade cranberry sauce to be too sweet, I skip this step. Season to your taste.
Can you make these ahead of time?
Yes, you can make it up to 3 days ahead of time. Assemble the bites, do not bake them, and cover them in plastic wrap or place them in a ziplock bag. Store them in the refrigerator.
Before you plan on serving them, bake them according to the recipe directions, and serve them right out of the oven (let them cool for a few minutes first) or let them cool to room temperature.
Can these be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze them if you have any leftovers! Thaw them overnight in the fridge and allow them to reach room temperature on the counter before serving them.
Can these be reheated?
If you wish to enjoy them heated, place them in a preheated oven at 350°F and bake for approximately 10 minutes, keeping an eye on them so they don't get burnt at the edges. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving.
Get creative and try other nuts such as walnuts, pistachios, or pecan.
To make these throughout the year, you can replace the cranberry sauce with your favorite jam or jelly. Try different preserves, fig jam, mango chutney, or jalapeño pepper jelly.
- Garnish with chopped fresh thyme instead of rosemary, once the bites are out of the oven.
- I've made a savory version by sauteeing onion, garlic, and tempeh, and then mixing it with chopped vegan cheese.
- You can substitute puff pastry with phyllo dough, but it won't rise as much, and the result will be crispier.
More holiday recipes
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Vegan Cranberry Cream Cheese Bites
- mini muffin pan 24 well
- rolling pin
- chef's knife
- pastry and pasta cutter wheel (optional but nice to have)
- wooden spoon
- marble pastry board (nice to have)
- Thaw the vegan puff pastry according to package directions.
- Oil the mini muffin tins with avocado or grapeseed oil or spray.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Gently roll out the puff pastry to a 9-inch or 10-inch square. With a pastry and pasta cutter wheel or a knife, cut the dough into 16 squares.
- Separate and place the squares in the mini muffin tins, gently fitting them into the wells.
- Place a dollop of the vegan cream cheese in each of the pastry squares, follow with cranberry sauce, and top with chopped hazelnuts.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges of the puff pastry and golden brown and puffed up.
- Take out of the oven and top with fresh chopped rosemary. Let cool for several minutes, place on a serving platter and enjoy!
- I prefer to thaw the puff pastry in the fridge the night before, or refer to the package for thawing instructions.
- If you want to make only 12 bites, then put the rest of the puff pastry in the fridge or freezer for another use.
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