Mustard Batons for chic cocktail hours

French Fridays with Dorie

Mustard Batons

Who wouldn’t love showing up to a cocktail party and being hit up by these savory mustard batons? That would certainly set the mood for cocktails and chatter, n’cest pas?

I mourn the loss of the all-but-lost-art of the proper cocktail party. They were a huge part of my early childhood and I miss them. I remember fondly the my fly-on-the-wall observations of the adults in their natural habitat. Arriving to loud hellos, the sincere and not so sincere outfit compliments, fun cocktails with garnishes, mingling and catching up on neighborhood gossip. All observed easily from my perch at the top of the stairs. And they were over as quickly as they began.

These parties were not intended to take the place of dinner but rather meant only precede it. I don’t know if they were just a sign of those times or just a sign of my parents being too old to enjoy the all night blowouts of their college years. My mother had not yet gained the confidence to throw what would eventually become her signature dinner party extravaganzas so the easier but the just-as-showy cocktail party fit the bill nicely. Much cheaper too!

tumblr_llz3lh3KXy1qzg2bmo1_400Guests would show up at 5:30 or 6. Some would come dressed in their tennis whites having just left a game. Others would be wearing the nice dress they just bought and were eager to show off. A specialty cocktail would be waiting for them(or a beer or wine) followed by a snack consisting of the few light appetizers my mother would offer, some chit chat and mingling with the crowd of about 20 people expertly chosen guests and then leave around 7 or 7:30 to pursue their own dinner plans.

No lingering allowed past that awkward dinner hour was allowed. Mom made it clear that while tasty appetizers and witty conversation were on the menu, dinner was not. I think it was the expectation that these parties were short and the closing time enforced that gave them their life.

Don’t these parties seem perfectly poised for a comeback in these more economically frugal times?

Mustard Batons

Mustard Batons

My mother’s 1953 edition of The Joy of Cooking begins with these words about cocktails: “The chief virtue of cocktails is their informal quality. They loosen tongues and unbutton the reserves of the socially diffident.” The same can be said for the chic snacks that accompany them. As much as I love the idea of just opening a bag of chips and calling it a party, the perfect cocktail snack will help set a mood which kicks off the night’s conversation and revelry.

These Mustard Batons are certainly up to the task. As everyone who cooks should know by now, a box of puff pastry in the freezer is just as required in inventory as a sauce pan. And who doesn’t have mustard on hand? There you go.

If you don’t have mustard on hand use tapenade, pesto, chutney, or just some grated cheese and herbs. While you are at it, make a ton of these and freeze them on the sheet pan and store them in a ziplock. They bake up from frozen at a moments notice or when the urge to invite a few friends over for a drink before dinner strikes your fancy.

Mustard BatonsMustard Batons
Mustard BatonsMustard Batons

Mustard Batons

Mustard Batons

This is what you will need:

  • All-purpose flour, for rolling
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry (each about 8½ ounces), thawed
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg
  • Poppy seeds, for topping (optional)

This is how you make it:

  1. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Have a ruler and a pizza cutter (or sharp knife) at hand.
  2. Working with 1 sheet of pastry at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until you have a rectangle that’s about 12 x 16 inches. If necessary, turn the dough so that a short side of the rectangle is closest to you. Measure the length so that you can find the middle, and spread ¼ cup of the mustard over the lower half of the dough, stopping about 1/8 inch from the side and bottom edges. Fold the top portion of the dough over the bottom and, using the pizza cutter (or knife), with your ruler as a guide, cut the pastry from top to bottom into strips about 1 inch wide (I actually use the width of the ruler itself as my guide), then cut the strips crosswise in half. (If you prefer, you can leave the strips long.)
  3. Carefully transfer the batons to one of the baking sheets and chill or freeze them while you work on the second batch. (You can make all the strips to this point and freeze them on the baking sheets, then pack them airtight and keep them frozen for up to 2 months.)
  4. Lightly beat the egg with a splash of cold water and brush just the tops of the strips with this glaze. If you’d like, sprinkle them with poppy seeds.
  5. Bake the batons for 8 minutes. Rotate the sheets from front to back and top to bottom and bake for another 7 or 8 minutes, or until the strips are puffed and golden brown. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the batons rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. This was definitely amongst my favourites of the French Fridays with Dorie recipes (although I say this ever week LOL!). I, too, mourn the loss of the proper cocktail party and agree these make for a pretty convincing argument to bring it back, just so we can eat snacks like this!~

  2. How delightful! Next on the docket a proper cocktail party. We’ve done pre-dinner drinks and pre-bar drinks, but a proper cocktail party sounds fabulous! Great post.

  3. Lovely post, Trevor! I agree – we’re all so busy that a proper Cocktail Party would satisfy a lot of social niceties without the obligation of time & money of a dinner party. We’ve hosted a few wine tasting parties, but those normally require you to sit still while the Cocktail Party allows you to mingle! Bonne Idee!

  4. A proper cocktail party is hard to come by. I look forward to trying my hand at hosting one soon! These batons will definitely make an appearance with pesto and sans mustard.

  5. Great post – I love your comments about the cocktail party. Of course your batons look great too.

  6. I was hit by a huge baton at the last cocktail party I attended. It was good, but left me wanting more. Perhaps there wasn’t enough mustard? I think your batons look very satisfying!

  7. Ah – the whole idea of entertaining seems to have fallen by the wayside in general. I remember the Sunday afternoon dinners where so-and-so and such-and-such families came over to dinner. And the hours of cleaning, cooking & appearance keeping involved.
    Until the days we can be social again, I guess batons in hand will have to do…

  8. Loved reading your post. Great looking batons and lovely memories story.

  9. Your pictures are beautiful! Looks like your batons turned out delicious!

  10. Okay. In my life we have cocktail parties sometimes twice a week. Either at my house or a friend’s. They often bleed into a casual dinner together either thrown together communally or we run down the hill to La Poubelle or some such casual place. Weekends we are in the dessert the cocktail party starts at sunset Friday and lasts till Sunday brunch!

  11. Your top photo is magazine worthy! I’d love to come to an old fashioned cocktail party…wouldn’t it be fun to have one for all the Doristas?

  12. You make a compelling plug for the return of the cocktail party. I’m inspiring to host one! Wanna come? I didn’t realize I could freeze these to have on hand for spontaneous munching. Next batch of these batons, I’ll be sure to stash some in the freezer.

  13. I remember those awesome cocktail parties that my parents used to go to! I also just sat there and wondered when I would be the adult so that I could hold a glass of wine in one hand, and a cigarette in the other. haha 🙂 My how times have changed…

    I think we all are goo goo gaga over these batons…but rightfully so…they were delish!

  14. Your reminiscing brought back some memories to me as well. I think it also harkens back to the times when children were “neither seen nor heard” and we instead held post at the top of the staircase. Fun days indeed :)Nana and I just loved these batons. I am almost a bit worried to think how crazy easy this is to prepare. Next time instead of microwave popcorn…..just kidding. Awesome post and stunning photos ~

  15. Your bâtons look wonderful! The flaky layers are so apparent in your photos. So lovely to have them made up and ready to go from freezer to oven, too.

    My parents were famous for their annual Boxing Day party, which was like a day-long cocktail party, really. I think cocktail parties are ripe for a comeback, as you’ve said.

  16. What a gorgeous post about such a simple recipe. I enjoyed reading this.

  17. Great post. These are the perfect cocktail party treat. I can’t wait to make them again.

  18. I agree – the cocktail party should make a come back! Too bad we don’t live closer – we could take turns hosting one. 🙂 I think they would be much more fun than putting together a dinner party (and less work!). Your batons turned out so pretty and golden. All of your photos are great, but I especially love that first photo!

  19. Your top photo is so elegant, definitely waiting for the guests in tennis whites to appear on the scene;-)
    I enjoyed your first impressions of the fun and spontaneity of your parent’s cocktail parties. I agree it’s important to socialize with friends and Dorie’s batons are the perfect bread to break with friends;-)

  20. 5 or 6pm? Where do you live, in a retirement center? 10pm is THE time to show up for cocktails. Appetizers are served anytime between 11 and 12. After the children are asleep. And Betty and Bob can wind down with their cocktails, swedish meatballs and batons. Now I HAVE to make these – they look stunning on your plate. I need to make something from this damned (good) book. Beautiful photography (these are old pictures, right)? 🙂

  21. Oh just seeing these again makes me want to make more. So yummy!

  22. Wonderful photos! My dh would have loved your sesame version…I will try that next time.

  23. I love your remembrances of cocktail parties past. I agree, it’s time to revive them! Ours always turn in to a full night’s event. I’ll have to master the art of tactfully getting the guests out the door. Love your batons and filling them with chutney is a perfect idea! I had my freezer stocked with them, but used them all at Easter. Must make more and stock up again. They’re perfect for last minute guest drop bys!