I love pretty much any cheese. And cheese in some form or fashion is a staple at most parties. However, I've always been pretty intimidated by fancy cheese. I don't really know why... in theory, you don't really have to make anything with fancy cheese, it is usually delicious as is. I recently put together a little bake brie appetizer of just a basic brie, crackers and strawberries and it was so good! I kept trying to add more ingredients like honey or pecans, which were very tasty, but at the end of the day, I settled on the simplest selection.
And the best part? It is so incredibly easy. Open a box of crackers, wash off some strawberries and you're halfway there. (Feel free to use other berries as well, if desired.) Next, buy a round of brie. Get the good stuff. I'd go to a quality grocery store and ask their advice. (Here are some guidelines as to what to look for in a brie). Bake a whole wheel for about 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees. You'll want it to be soft and slightly gooey, but not bubbly. In my opinion, this cheese is so much better when heated.
Okay, now I remember why fancy cheese intimidates me. I didn't know whether to bake the whole brie with the rind and then eat the rind as well, or cut it off and bake. So, after much internet research the overarching theme is yes, you should leave it on and eat the rind of brie. Some people don't like it, but many people do, and overall it is part of the whole brie experience. I personally enjoyed it. Party goers can cut a wedge from the wheel and once it is on their plate, if they prefer not to eat the rind, that is fine.
This brie appetizer would be perfect for a cocktail party, bridal shower or bachelorette party. And, it's truly not as expensive as you might think, especially when compared to an appetizer with a laundry list of ingredients. Sometimes the simplest things are the best!