Small delicious homemade snack food?
November 6, 2013 2:19 PM   Subscribe

I've taken homemade butter mints and homemade cheese crackers to a couple of different parties among my friend group. Friend commented recently that she now associates me with unexpected tiny delicious homemade snack things. What other recipes should I know about?

I'm looking for recipes like this for something small and easily-purchased (like butter mints, or goldfish crackers) but the homemade version is an order of magnitude more delicious. And/or with flavor improvements or variations - I made goldfish with habanero cheddar and mint pillows in coffee and lemon flavor as well as mint.

So, hive mind, I need recipe ideas for a party at friend's house this weekend!
posted by aimedwander to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 204 users marked this as a favorite
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:20 PM on November 6, 2013 [6 favorites]

Best answer: A friend of mine made these Blue Cheese and Walnut Crackers for a New Year's party one year and I LOVED them and craved them for months afterward. They had a sort of crumbly cookie texture which worked surprisingly well with the savory flavors.
posted by augustimagination at 2:28 PM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

cheese straws. bagel chips. chex mix. peppermint patties.
posted by koroshiya at 2:29 PM on November 6, 2013

my mother-in-law makes simple marzipan (a no-cook recipe of ground almonds, egg whites, icing sugar, touch of lemon juice) -- then makes marzipan balls dipped in dark chocolate. They are stunning.
posted by jb at 2:31 PM on November 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Gougères -- tiny delicious cheesy puffs. Joe Pastry has the definitive recipe.

I also really love homemade candied citrus peel -- when it's good, it's PHENOMENAL. But this is not the time of year for citrus, and also I have yet to find a recipe that works 100% of the time.

One of my family members makes raw cranberries covered in dark chocolate (that's it, that's the entire recipe) -- not my thing but members of my family find them addictive.

Homemade truffles, fudge, candy. I like Not So Humble Pie for recipes.
posted by pie ninja at 2:35 PM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Potted cheddar? Candied nuts? Pate de fruits?
posted by kmennie at 2:38 PM on November 6, 2013

Coconut macaroons. The recipe I use can make very small ones. I usually use one tablespoon of the coconut mix for each, but I've made them 1/2 tablespoon to stretch the recipe across more people.
posted by bilabial at 2:49 PM on November 6, 2013

This recipe for caramelized spiced nuts is insanely good. I made some for my boss a couple of years back and he told me NEVER to make them again because once he started eating them, he couldn't stop. My boyfriend feels the same way. Honestly, the only people I've given them to who haven't raved about them were a couple who were a little socially inept and she was on heavy medication so she had to consciously decide to say things and I think it was just beyond her means at that point.

This is from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything. I usually do pecans, almonds, and cashews, but beware -- do different nuts in different batches because they each take different amounts of time to cook (he says 10 minutes but that's really just a guess). And the pecans cook WAY faster than you expect. You can keep the caramelized sugar/spices boiling while switching cookie sheets in and out of the oven. If that makes sense. Anyway, I mean you don't have to make a new batch of goo for every nut.

Caramelized Spiced Nuts
Time: 15 minutes

A crisp sugar shell and bit of spice make these not too sweet and not too spicy, and they're only slightly more involved than the roasted nuts in the preceding recipe. Serve a bowl of them with cocktails or other appetizers; they will go quickly, so have backup ready. Add seeds to the mix as well; sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds all add flavor and texture.

2 tablespoons peanut or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (about 1 pound) mixed unsalted shelled nuts

1. Heat the oven to 450°F. Grease a baking sheet with the oil. Put a wide pot or deep skillet over high heat and add 2 cups water and the sugar. Bring to a boil and stir in the spices, salt, and nuts. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced to a syrup, 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Turn the heat to low and remove the nuts with a slotted spoon, letting the excess syrup drain off a bit and then spreading the nuts on the baking sheet (be sure to turn off the burner when you've finished).

3. Roast the nuts for 10 minutes, tossing once or twice with a spatula. Remove from the oven and let cool (the sugar coating will be very hot, so resist sampling for a few minutes!); the sugar coating will harden as the nuts cool. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 or 3 days.
posted by janey47 at 2:53 PM on November 6, 2013 [21 favorites]

I made this pistachio brittle last year. It turned out beautifully, and was so delicious!
posted by kimdog at 3:04 PM on November 6, 2013 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Alton Brown has a Saltine recipe in I'm Just Here for More Food that I'm addicted to, they taste like delicious savory pie crust bits that you're allowed to put cheese on. I love making homemade crackers, and here are some additions I like to a basic recipe:

-try poking a little hole in the middle with the blunt end of a bamboo skewer; I think it helps them cook more evenly and they make them look like cheez its


-tons of black pepper

-rehydrated sundried tomatoes (pour boiling water over sundried tomatoes, drain after five minutes, drain and dry before chopping)

-chipotle (pull the peppers out of the can of adobo, rinse the adobo off and pull the stem and the guts, drain and dry before chopping)

On a completely different note, try making pretzel/bagel dough, wrapping it around small sausages (either little smokies or a fancier sausage chopped up), doing the whole rigamarole with the dip in the baking soda bath, and baking with a sprinkling of salt on top. You can also keep it vegetarian by using chunks of cheese.
posted by Juliet Banana at 3:07 PM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Festive candied pretzels. Savory parmesan pretzels. Candied walnuts. Spiced nuts (mine issimilar to janey47s) and/or pumpkin seeds. Mini popcorn balls (this popcorn recipe is amazing). Little tea breads. I also get a lot of mileage out of these honey curry snaps because they are small and surprisingly delicious in an odd way, similarly for these sesame coconut shortbreads.
posted by jessamyn at 3:15 PM on November 6, 2013 [6 favorites]

Not sure how homemade you are looking for, but the oyster crackers with Hidden Valley Ranch was always a hit whenever I brought it anywhere.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:21 PM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've made candy corn (sometimes substituting some honey for the sugar). If you add cocoa to the mixture, you can make toosie rolls instead of candy corn.

Homemade graham crackers taste so much better than store bought and are great with homemade marshmallows for s'mores!

And thanks for the link to the butter mints recipe!
posted by bCat at 3:44 PM on November 6, 2013

Here to second jessamyn's 'little tea bread' link. I've made that exact recipe, and it's delicious.
posted by Space Kitty at 4:26 PM on November 6, 2013

No one's said chocolate truffles yet?
posted by calico at 4:40 PM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm making these pickled cranberries for the Thanksgiving cheese plate.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:44 PM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Queso! Made from something other than Velveeta. I've yet to find a recipe I like.
posted by missriss89 at 4:46 PM on November 6, 2013

Ooh, came in here to suggest a sweet-spicy roasted nut recipe but I see janey47 beat me to the punch. Her recipe is almost identical to one I made for a Christmas gift for my stepfather two years ago - he loved them so much he's requested them ever since, so I have an in-the-bag Christmas gift (for one of those impossible-to-shop-for people!) each year. These things are seriously tasty!!
posted by AthenaPolias at 5:21 PM on November 6, 2013

Response by poster: This is all awesome. I think it's candy corn this weekend, since otherwise I'd have to wait almost a year for it to be seasonal - or possibly pretzel nuggets since some people(?!) don't much care for candy corn - but I'm drooling over this list so much that I'm starting to contemplate throwing a holiday party of my own. (party rules, everything must be finger food piled in bowls, nothing that requires a display platter or utensils. hmmm... )
posted by aimedwander at 5:29 PM on November 6, 2013

Best answer: You might enjoy this cookbook (called Better Than Store Bought) - it has a lot of recipes for things that people generally buy premade. It's out of print, but still easily available and inexpensive.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:20 PM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

My SIL made candied citrus peels and they were so awesome!
posted by radioamy at 7:07 PM on November 6, 2013

Crack(er) candy, cookie brittle (use 60% cacao Ghirardelli chips), and twice-baked shortbread are all amazing and easy to break into small pieces.
posted by unknowncommand at 7:24 PM on November 6, 2013

Best answer: Tiny meringues, piped from a pastry bag or Ziploc with the corner cut off. I made these, but with a slug of cranberry juice concentrate instead of raspberry flavor, last holiday season and they KILLED.
posted by clavicle at 7:27 PM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh! Candied kumquats!
posted by clavicle at 7:34 PM on November 6, 2013

Toast dope! To tempt you, a few suggestions from that thread on how to use it:
If I kept track of all the ways I've used Johnnybird's Toast Dope, I would be able to publish a cookbook about the stuff. ...Used it in an orange french toast recipe this morning, and sauteed apples in butter and Toast Dope recently and then put vanilla ice cream on top. Another thing I love when I have a slight sweet tooth late at night is buttered popcorn with Toast Dope on it, and to drink bubbly with it.
I've made it with various citrus and it's always turned out well.
posted by Lexica at 8:23 PM on November 6, 2013

Caramel popcorn with salted peanuts, via the blog Orangette. Amazing, easy, seasonal... ooooo.... so good, and so much better than anything you can buy!
posted by jrobin276 at 12:11 AM on November 7, 2013

A little late in replying to this, but over the weekend we had an early Thanksgiving for some friends, and I made these Maple Cinnamon Candied Almonds, and they are fan-freaking-tastic.
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:49 AM on November 13, 2013

I'm way late to the party, but a coworker sometimes brings in buckeyes, and I can't stay away from them.

I've also had fun making tiny meringue puffs in a variety of flavors.
posted by themissy at 1:28 PM on November 13, 2013

peanut butter cups
posted by aniola at 12:24 PM on November 29, 2013

...and variations thereupon.
posted by aniola at 12:26 PM on November 29, 2013

Kale chips.
posted by aniola at 8:14 AM on March 19, 2014

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