I’m doing a double post today. You may assume it’s because you can tell I’m so ambitious and industrious. But that has nothing to do with it. It’s actually just because both of these snacks are so easy I wouldn’t even call them “recipes.”
Normally I don’t condone throwing two ingredients together and declaring it cooking. BUT. I make an exception for snacks, especially those you might need to whip up quickly when you have to entertain guests with little warning.
These are themed for October, but you can easily adapt them to fit any occasion. So first up to the festive snacks field, we have…
Spicy Peach Cream Cheese Spread
You will need:
- 1 block of cream cheese
- 1/4 cup peach jam or preserves
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- Black tortilla chips (use blue if you can’t find black)
- Black sesame seeds (optional)
This could not be easier. Just add your peach jam or preserves to a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Microwave for maybe 10 seconds until very slightly melted, but not a liquid. Mix in your pepper flakes. I used 1/4 tsp but you can use more or less if you prefer. Place the entire block of cream cheese on the center of your serving plate. This works best when it is slightly soft from sitting out. It just minimizes broken chips later. Now just pour your peach mixture evenly over the block and let it pour over the sides. Arrange black chips around the outside for a cool orange and black appetizer. If all you can find is the blue corn chips, they will also look pretty close to black, and you will seem just as festive. Finally, just because I had them on hand, I topped mine with some black sesame seeds just to make it pop a bit more. Again, you can omit the sesame seeds and use normal chips if you’re doing this for a non-halloween event.
(For future reference, you can use pretty much any jam, jelly or preserves with this. Pepper jelly is a favorite.)
The second quick party snack is
Everyone loves chocolate pretzels, and these are really easy to do. You can decorate them for any theme or season.
You will need:
Pour your chocolate chips into a medium or large microwave safe bowl. You need to temper them. If you aren’t familiar with tempering chocolate, it is basically just keeping them from getting too hot as they melt so that they don’t have problems resetting. You can also use a double boiler for this, but the microwave uses fewer dishes. I’m always a fan of fewer dishes.
Anyway, your bowl should be something heat proof, like plastic. I just use a large tupperware container for mine. Heat your chocolate on high for 20 seconds, then remove the bowl and stir them around really well for a minute. Put them back in for 10 second bursts, stirring between each, until they are smooth and fully melted.
You can pour our chocolate into a tall glass if you want to truly dip your pretzels, but I find washing chocolate out of a drinking glass to be greatly annoying. So you can easily just hold a pretzel rod over your bowl and spoon the melted chocolate over them, letting it run down the sides and back into the bowl. Just make sure to cover all sides. Once your pretzel rod is “dipped” as far as you want, tap it (or carefully shake it) on the edge of the bowl to get any more excess to drip off. Otherwise it will pool around the pretzel later as it sets. When one pretzel is ready, transfer if to a sheet of wax paper to set. Keep an eye on it as you do the next ones. You will need to decorate them with the sprinkles before your chocolate has fully set. I only did a half batch last time I made this recipe, and I cut my sprinkle-sprinkling into 2 sessions. Once your pretzel rods are setting and have been decorated, just leave them there to set completely (it shouldn’t take more than maybe 10-15 minutes) until they are dry. I usually just put them in a cup or mug (undimmed side down) to serve to guests. Any pretzels you don’t eat that day should be stored in a plastic bag so that they don’t get stale.