The Ingredient Mary Berry Never Skips When Making Cheesy Canapés

The holiday season is upon us, promising warm gatherings with family and friends, and of course abundant opportunities to enjoy tasty seasonal foods. Canapés — those small bite-sized delights that work perfectly as appetizers for the more filling fare to follow — are just the sort of food item always welcome at holiday parties. But whether you're hosting your own get-together, or contributing to a potluck-style party, you want your canapés to stand out. For this, you need an original recipe featuring at least one unexpected ingredient.

Luckily, Dame Mary Berry is here to help. The author of more than 80 cookbooks, per her website, and a beloved contributor to U.K. food shows like "Best Home Cook” and "The Great British Bake Off," Berry will soon be seen on tellies (or TVs for the Americans amongst us) in the United States as well. According to Guilty Eats, Berry has a new holiday-themed special, "Mary Berry's Ultimate Christmas," which is scheduled to air on December 19 on PBS. A brief clip from the special has already been made public, and it includes Berry's timely tip on the perfect unexpected ingredient to add to your holiday canapés.

How to make Mary Berry's favorite holiday canapés

Canapés, as Martha Stewart notes, are essentially just bite-sized versions of open-faced sandwiches. Which is to say, they have a bread base with one or more toppings. Of the many styles of canapés, Mary Berry favors mini scones. In a YouTube clip taken from her upcoming special, Berry explains that she uses a few ingredients to add flavor, including sage and grated parmesan cheese, to make her cheese and herb mini scones. The third flavoring ingredient she adds is her special secret ingredient: mustard powder.

"You know, mustard really does bring out the flavor of cheese," Berry explains in the YouTube clip. 

After creating the scone and preparing them to bake, Berry also adds that she likes to lightly touch up the tops of the scones with beaten egg before putting them in the oven, as it gives them more of a golden color. A trio of tasty toppings — cranberry, parsley, and melted blue cheese — put the finishing touches on Berry's Christmas canapés.

Berry's recipe, included in the YouTube clip, makes about 35 mini scones. That's more than enough for most holiday parties, and with just the right blend of flavors to ensure you're invited to even more festive gatherings.