Shown from left to right:
Best Beef PuffsBlack Tie Beef and Duxelle en Croute
“These look very fancy,” said one panelist of the golden brown puff-pastry rounds. “I like that you get a nice chunk of meat, not some processed filling.” Another likened these mushroom-spiked bites to “mini beef Wellingtons.” The tender beef had a nicely seared quality.
Best Mushroom PuffsDufour Pastry Kitchens Mushroom Truffle Risotto
Tasters liked the “pretty phyllo flower wrapping” of these “earthy, truffle-infused” bundles, though most had trouble discerning any risotto flavor. The “heavenly” mushroom taste was enough for one fan, however.
Best Cheese SoufflésNancy’s Mini Cheese Soufflé
“They’re so light and airy, I could eat them nonstop,” said one panelist. “The cheese has the right amount of tang―it isn’t overwhelming,” said another. “I like how smooth and creamy they are.” Added a third taster, “I’d definitely pass these around at a party.”
Best Chicken RollsTrader Joe’s Coconut Curry Chicken Stix
“There’s a nice kick of lemongrass and curry,” said a fan of these crispy rolls. Spicy-food lovers declared them “mild and delicious,” though they packed enough heat to make those with more tender palates reach for water. Serve with a bowl of peanut dipping sauce.