Smashed Berry Crostini with Cinnamon Labneh and Fresh Chives

I know I’m not the only one who wasted 5+ hours of my life watching the Red Carpet/Oscars on Sunday night. Listen, I LOVE all the pomp and circumstance surrounding this yearly event (which I’m never invited to btw) BUT really? I don’t ever think I have watched a bigger snooze fest and WHY wasn’t there a HOST? Don’t tell me that Ellen or Jimmy K. had better things to do. Wait. They most likely did.

Let’s start with the fashions, which were basically non-existent this year. How do I get a job as a Hollywood stylist? I’m sure I can figure out how to dress a star. It’s basically the same as dressing a plate, right?

Which brings me to my point. Sometimes I don’t always think ahead for my shoots. They just HAPPEN. These crostini were a last minute “red carpet” snack that I threw together at 5:00 p.m. (just before the E Red Carpet broadcast). The clock was ticking and so was the fact that darkness was looming along with a major windstorm happening outside. This is where you hope and pray that your camera settings can do what they are supposed to do.

I quickly ran through my freezer and fridge provisions and came up with this simple but totally yummy appetizer. Sometimes I just get lucky and foraging pays off. When I toasted these brioche buns with a light schmear of olive oil and sea salt, my husband Steve was actually salivating from the aroma. There really is nothing quite like the smell of freshly toasted bread.

I whipped up a mixture of blackberries and blueberries with a hint of honey then spiced up some Labneh with cinnamon to spread over the toasted brioche. Let me tell you something. These were absolutely the best dressed things I laid eyes on all night.

As soon as I took my first bite, I knew these would be the highlight of my evening (and I was correct).

I think you might be wondering what Labneh is? No? Well, I’m going to tell you anyways just in case you’re curious.

Labneh is a soft, cream cheese made from strained yogurt and is very popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. The good news? It’s half the fat and calories of standard cream cheese, which makes it a healthier alternative. You can use it in any way you would normally use cream cheese, such as a spread on bagels, as a baking ingredient or as a dip for your favorite fruit and vegetables. I’m going to try Labneh in a few recipes that would normally call for cream cheese and see how that goes. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I’m sharing these Oscar worthy beauties with you today. Leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of this year’s show!

Smashed Berry Crostini with Cinnamon Labneh and Fresh Chives
Serves: 8 -12
  • 4 - 6 mini brioche buns, sliced
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • ½ cup of labneh
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup of fresh berries, I used blackberries and blueberries
  • 4 tablespoons water, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • fresh chives and basil for garnish
  1. In a small bowl mix the labneh with the cinnamon and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan combine the berries,vanilla, honey or maple syrup and three tablespoons of water. Heat to medium and keep stirring. Once simmering and the fruit begins to bursts, gently mash with a fork or the back of a spoon. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with the remaining tablespoon of water until there are no lumps (this is called a slurry). Gently whisk the cornstarch into the berries and continue stirring until the sauce becomes thick (2 -3 minutes). Remove from heat and let sit until slightly cooled off. The mixture will be the consistency of jam. Place sliced brioche buns onto a cookie sheet and brush with oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Heat oven to broil, place buns into the oven to toast. Watch carefully as these burn very quickly. Once toasted remove brioche buns and spread with the cinnamon infused labneh. Top each one with the berry mixture and garnish as desired.



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