The DO’S and DON’TS of a Charcuterie Board

It seems like 2020 is the year where EVERYONE is creating a charcuterie board for a party…I’m not kidding…EVERYONE. It’s popping up on social media accounts around the world, and for a good reason–they are delicious.

I’m part of this “everyone” I am talking about. Hello, it’s me–Sarah, a charcuterie board-obsessed lady who loves to buy all the fancy cheeses, meats, and snacks.

Each time, I’m asked the same question…”How do you decide what to put on a charcuterie board?” I’ve also been burned a few times in my personal choices of “fancy” cheeses and meats (mostly by picky kids). So, I’ve decided to create a helpful list of “The DO’S and DON’TS of a Charcuterie Board.”

Here ya go.

The DO’S and DON’TS of a Charcuterie Board

  1. The most important element is FLAVOR: Don’t be tempted by the big assortment of pre-packaged cheeses (and meats) you find at Costco. Go to your local grocery store and head to the deli. Ask to sample all the things that sound good to you. Think about WHO will be eating this charcuterie board and pick items both you and they will like. Include an assortment of flavors: salty, spicy, savory, and sweet.
  2. Keep it interesting with a variety of TEXTURES: Creamy, crunchy, smooth, chewy, etc. Remember that cheese is usually creamy, meat is usually stringy, and crackers are usually crunchy. Add in some chewy elements like dried figs or some crispy elements like sliced apples.
  3. We eat with our eyes first, so remember COLOR: Try to vary the colors on your board. Look for one food that is a rich red, another food that is a bright green, etc.
  4. Don’t forget to LABEL the various foods: Last week, I made the mistake of not labeling the different cheeses, and by the end, I couldn’t even remember which was which.
  5. Spruce up your board by adding fun DETAILS: Feel free to pop in some sprigs of rosemary and greens. (A cheaper option is to buy a fake Eucalyptus branch from Walmart for $2, trim it into parts, and place it in various locations on your board–plus you can reuse it!)
  6. KISS (KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID): Do not–I repeat–DO NOT spend $100 on your first charcuterie board. (I learned from that mistake and so did my wallet.) Before you make a trip to the store, assess what you already have in your pantry/fridge. Things you may already have that are great options include: dried fruit, nuts, apples, jam, cream cheese, olives, etc. The only things I usually need to buy are 2 types of crackers, 3 types of cured or dried meats, and 2 types of cheeses. EASY PEASY.

Our current favorite items to put on a charcuterie board include:

  • Aged white cheddar
  • A block of cream cheese, covered in jam (AMAZING on crackers)
  • Pastrami lunch meat (cut slices in half and form into cute little rolls)
  • Ritz crackers
  • Stacy’s pita chips

Have fun and LET ME KNOW if you have any questions!

Much love, Sarah

P.S. I would LOVE to keep in touch! Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest to stay up to date with my posts! If you end up making one of my recipes, I would love to see it! Just take a photo, post it, and tag me @saltanddough

Saffron Rolls (Lussekatter) Swedish Sweet Buns

These buns are a Christmastime favorite in Sweden. Made on “Santa Lucia Day” on December 13th, lussekatter is a tradition for most people living there. Slightly sweet and unique in flavor, these rolls may become your family’s new favorite!

If you’ve never had saffron, you’re in for a surprise! A truly unique color and flavor. The first time I had saffron was when my parents picked some up in Morocco.

I’ve created a helpful step-by-step recipe (with pictures). I hope you find it useful!

Fun little tidbit. This year, our little Lucy (our 2 year old) got to dress up for Santa Lucia Day. She was dressed in the traditional white dress, red ribbon, and crown. St. Lucia’s Day is festival of lights celebrated in Sweden on December 13th in honor of St. Lucia (St. Lucy). Since my husband lived in Sweden for a few years, this was a really special day for us. (See photo below.)

P.S. I would LOVE to keep in touch! Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest to stay up to date with my posts! If you end up making one of my recipes, I would love to see it! Just take a photo, post it, and tag me @saltanddough

Saffron Rolls (Lussekatter) Swedish Sweet Buns

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup white/granulated sugar
  • One 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • Raisins

Glaze

  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions:

  1. In a small pot over the stovetop: heat the milk, saffron, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar together. Heat should be medium-low. Gently stirring, heat up the milk until it is steaming. Remove pot from the heat. Let milk mixture cool until it’s about 115°F, or warm to the touch. As it’s cooling, the saffron will infuse into the milk.
  2. After testing the milk, sprinkle in the yeast and gently stir in. Let sit and proof in the warm milk mixture for 5-10 minutes (until foamy).
  3. As the yeast is proofing, get your dry ingredients. In a the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl): combine 3 1/2 cups flour, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, salt, and cardamom. Mix together.
  4. In the bowl of dry ingredients, add eggs, butter, sour cream, and the yeast milk mixture. Mix the ingredients until well combined.
  5. Switch to a dough hook of your stand mixer (or use your hands if using a large bowl) and knead your dough. Start kneading on slow speed. Continue kneading until the dough is slightly sticky to the touch. Add in 1 tablespoon of flour at a time, if you think you need more flour. The key is to make sure the dough doesn’t stick completely to your hands.
  6. Once the dough is kneaded, now it’s time to rise the dough. Shape the dough into a ball and place into a large bowl that has been sprayed with oil (or shortening). Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1-2 hours). The key to telling if the dough has properly risen is to gently stick your finger in the risen dough. If your finger indentation remains, the dough is good to go! If not, cover and let the dough rise longer.
  7. Gently punch down the dough and knead it with your hands. Now we are going to create the shape of the s-shape buns. Break off a piece and form it into a ball (it should be about 2 inches thick / 60-70 grams). Roll it into a snake-shape until it’s about 12 inches long. Curl the ends in opposite directions, toward the center. This will form the classic s-shape. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue to do this until all the dough is used up.
  8. Now it’s time for the second rise. Cover rolls in plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 20-30 min).
  9. Once doubled in size, remove the plastic wrap. Using a pastry brush, spread on the beaten egg for the glaze. Once glazing is done for all the buns, place 2 raisins on each bun, in the spirals of the “S”.
  10. Place in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius). Bake for about 10-11 minutes, until buns are golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before eating.
  12. Makes about 12 buns (give or take).
Lucy dressing up for Santa Lucia Day
Sarah (me) with final product…whilst holding baby boy

Grinch Cookies

This weekend, we traveled to Colorado to visit our favorite aunt and uncle (I pick favorites, it’s true). We seriously adore them. My husband and daughter feel welcome in their home anytime.

Their house was full of goodies. These Grinch Cookies were one of those goodies. Super FAST, EAST, and YUMMY. Heck, they are made from a cake mix–you can’t get easier than that! It’s cheating in the baking world to many, but I embrace ease. And in the wise words of Nadiya in “Nadiya’s Time to Eat“, “I love cheating!” (I do Nadiya, I do too.)

Cheating is the best when it comes to the holidays…because let’s be real, we are all busy!

So if you feel like cheating a bit and using a cake mix to create these cookies, please do!

P.S. I would LOVE to keep in touch! Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest to stay up to date with my posts! If you end up making one of my recipes, I would love to see it! Just take a photo, post it, and tag me @saltanddough

Grinch Cookies

  • 1-15.25 oz box vanilla cake mix, dry
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • green food coloring
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • red hots candies or heart sprinkles

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl: place the dry cake mix, butter, eggs and oil. Mix until well combined.
  3. Add green food coloring until desired color of green is reached.
  4. Mix together the powdered sugar and cornstarch.
  5. Roll dough into balls and into powdered sugar mixture and place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Press a heart candy/red hot candy onto each cookie.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes. (Make sure not to let cookies brown.)
  7. Remove from oven and let sit about 2 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Makes 20-24 cookies.

This recipe is originally adapted from: I Heart Naptime

Best Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello! This is my first official blog post for Salt and Dough — and I’m super nervous/ecstatic. As some of you know, my previous food blog was Wild Yums. However, due to a change in my life and learning to love baking AGAIN (it’s been a while), I decided to change my food blog so it would be more fitting to represent myself.

I hope you’re as excited as me to see all sorts of recipes for baked goods, pastries, entrees, and some healthy additions too.

Enough chat — let’s get to the recipe!

This recipe is inspired by Alton Brown. I used to watch his Food Network TV show called Good Eats in college. It was legitimately my guilty-pleasure show. I used to watch it between study sessions, between classes, and even when I was supposed to be studying for finals. (Haha…oops.)

Please enjoy and let me know if you love these cookies as much as I do.

For thin/crispy cookies: increase baking soda by half, replace one egg with applesauce, and add more white sugar than brown sugar.

For puffy/soft cookies: use butter flavored shortening or margarine rather than butter, use cake flour rather than all-purpose flour, use baking powder instead of soda, chill the dough before baking, and place smaller scoops of dough on the cookie sheet.

For chewy cookies: melt the butter, use bread flour rather than all-purpose flour, use baking soda rather than powder, add more brown sugar than white sugar (the darker the sugar, the chewier the cookie), add in milk, replace an egg yolk for one egg, and chill the dough before baking.

THIS RECIPE BELOW IS FOR THE CHEWY TYPE OF COOKIES

Best Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if butter is salted)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • freshly ground sea salt

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl.
  • Pour melted butter in a separate (large) bowl.
  • Add sugars and then cream these all together.
  • Add the egg, egg yolk, milk, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
  • Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until well combined.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips. Chill dough.
  • After placing scoops of dough on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with freshly ground sea salt.
  • Bake for about 14 minutes or until golden brown. (Check them after 5 minutes of baking).

ENJOY!

P.S. I would LOVE to keep in touch! Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest to stay up to date with my posts! If you end up making one of my recipes, I would love to see it! Just take a photo, post it, and tag me @saltanddough