Spicy Pretzels with a Kick

This recipe is a close relative of spiced crackers.  The only real difference here is the choice of spice add in used.  I prefer to keep the cayenne pepper out of my spiced crackers, but it pairs well with pretzels, at least in my mind.

Spicy Pretzels with a Kick pairs well with beer because of the kick.  I like to serve these when we are having a few folks over to watch football games.

These pretzels also serve well as hostess gifts just like Peppermint Crunch and Spiced Crackers do.

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10 Perfect Holiday Gifts for Your Favorite Home Chefs and Foodies

Over the years my wife and I have bought some pretty amazing things that we would think the average foodie would love to receive as gift. With holiday season rapidly approaching, we figured now would be an appropriate to share our favorite items any foodie would appreciate. We didn’t stick to any pricing guidelines, but we think these are pretty reasonable gifts. So here we go.


1. Finishing Salt

10-foodie-gifts-finishing-saltI don’t think a lot of people think about salt when they think of ingredients, but any chef knows that salt can either make or break a recipe. Too little salt in a recipe is just flat and bland. Another way to add flavor or texture to a dish is to sprinkle some finishing salt on top of your finished dish.

My wife bought my first finishing salt last year for Christmas. Finishing salts are salts with a large grain size or salt that have been flavored with special ingredients like smoke, wine, or citrus. Finishing salts can also come from special regions where their source of salts is known for its distinct flavor characteristics, Hawaii for example.

Finishing salts are great on steaks or even some chocolate treats. My favorite use of them is probably in risottos. Risottos really need a healthy dose of salt for it to really sing true. Finishing salts come in a large range of flavors and crystal sizes.

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Peppermint Crunch

Everyone needs an easy go to Holiday treat recipe.  One that requires minimal ingredients and minimal time to make.  Peppermint Crunch fits that bill.

It only has 3 ingredients.  4 ingredients if you decide to add peppermint flavoring to either chocolate layers.

Just like spiced crackers, this recipe makes great hostess gifts.  It cost a bit more than crackers, but who doesn’t love chocolate and peppermint during the holidays.  This is probably why we gain up to 5% of our weight over the holidays.  I don’t deny that nuts, caramel, and cinnamon flavored treats are part of the problem.

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Spiced Crackers

Spiced crackers have many versions and many names across the cooking blogosphere and home kitchens.  These are probably called “those crackers you make for Christmas gifts” more than any other name in my house.  But, these are good anytime and I didn’t want to ban them other people’s houses just during the holiday season.

These crackers are very easy to make and definitely more frugal than anything loaded with chocolate or nuts.  Packed into small baggies, the crackers make a great filler for a cookie tray that has a small space left and you are out of cookie cooking or candy making steam.

Larger containers of spiced crackers can work as a stand-alone hostess gift.  I have used these crackers for both purposes.

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Snickerdoodles

If I had to choose the one cookie recipe that I think would please everybody, it would be Snickerdoodles.  Soft, buttery, and covered in sugar and cinnamon.

No worries about someone who doesn’t like chocolate, or those who may have a tree nut allergy.  These are great with coffee, tea, warm cider, on winter days, on warm days, well they are great no matter when or how you serve them.

Snickerdoodles are one cookie you can bet will always be on my Christmas cookie gift platters.

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