Look, I understand that the holidays aren't always full of cheer. There can be a lot of pressure to deliver the perfect holiday party fare, instead of the same old boring wine and cheese spread you find yourself snacking on every year. You want to impress your judgmental relatives so that they're all talking about the ingenious appetizers you served before Christmas dinner for years to come.
In theory, these deviled eggs that are supposed to look like Santa Claus might ease that pressure, by showcasing your culinary craftiness. There's just one problem: They don't look entirely appetizing (sorry).
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Santa Deviled Eggs "I love creating special deviled eggs for parties. These little Santas are easier to make than they look, and everyone raves over them." — Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado MAKES: 24 servings TOTAL TIME: Prep: 40 min. INGREDIENTS 12 hard-boiled large eggs Hot water 2 teaspoons red food coloring 1/2 cup mayonnaise 4-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish 1/4 teaspoon paprika 1 tablespoon horseradish sauce, optional 1 tablespoon capers, drained 1 to 2 ounces thick sliced deli ham, cut into 24 pieces 1/2 roasted sweet red pepper strips, cut into 24 thin pieces 1/3 cup cream cheese, softened DIRECTIONS Peel and cut eggs lengthwise in half. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl. Fill a mug 1/3 full with hot water. Stir in food coloring. Dip the narrow end of each egg into the red water and hold for 10-15 seconds. Drain eggs on paper towels, cut side up. In a small bowl, mash yolks. Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, pickle relish, paprika and, if desired, horseradish sauce. Spoon or pipe into each egg white. Attach capers for eyes, a ham piece for a nose and a pepper piece for a mouth. Cut a small hole in the tip of a pastry bag or in a corner of a food-safe plastic bag; insert #16 star pastry tip. Fill bag with cream cheese. Pipe eyebrows, mustache and beard on face; pipe pom-pom and trim on hat. Refrigerate, covered, until serving. Yield: 2 dozen.
This is coming from a person who loves a festive holiday treat, but typically only when it comes to cookies. In egg form, the theme gets a little lost. I'm not sure what the least appetizing element is: Maybe the the red dye for the Santa hat, or the tiny slice of ham for the nose, or the cream-cheese beard. If I had to pick, it would probably have to be the caper eyes.
The home cook behind these Santa deviled eggs deserves some credit, though. I honestly admire the ingenuity of these little snacks, which do almost succeed in being cute. I certainly don't have the type of steady hands and focus that it takes to put together such a detailed dish. They probably taste amazing, too. But who would want to find out? You want people to eat your food, not whisper about it behind your back.
Santa is a jolly old man who fills small children with wonder and joy. His image should not be sullied in this way. Deviled eggs are a delicious hors d'oeuvre that are a fitting treat for any party, holiday or otherwise, but might I recommend simply serving them the classic way, with just a dash of paprika sprinkled on top? No need to get fancy, especially when it comes to a food that doesn't exactly look pleasing all on its own. If you're planning on trying to impress your party guests with a festive snack, please, just stick to these Santa-shaped Christmas cookies.