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Sweet and salty

By Angie Sutton

www.mothersapronstrings.com

Whether you’re following the Friday night pigskin or celebrating at the Saturday afternoon party in the parking lot, your mouth is likely watering for something sweet and salty. Food and football go hand in hand. Tailgating, or gathering around a pick-up truck tailgate or a car trunk to eat, drink and be merry before the big game, is more than just a party. These gatherings are an opportunity for community building. Pretty much anywhere there is food to be shared amongst like celebrators, you’ve got a natural something in common with them. These easy-to-make and easy-to-transport goodies will satisfy for your need to bring something to the party in short order. Doubling the recipe is always in good fashion. That way you don’t feel guilty for sneaking a few handfuls on the way.


Churro Snack Crackers

This snack is a wonderful marriage of cinnamon, sugar and kosher salt all delivered on the very portable and inexpensive oyster cracker. I’ve experimented with different types of cinnamon from the least expensive 50-cent bottle to a spicy mix I found at the local grocery store. Frankly, the less expensive cinnamon tastes just fine and works well if you’re making a large batch of this recipe. This recipe tastes great on the larger saltine crackers but you’ll want to adjust your amounts. Your kitchen will smell fabulous when you make this!

5 c. oyster crackers
1 c. butter
1 c. light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

Topping:

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the crackers in a single layer; set aside. In a medium saucepan bring the butter and brown sugar to a boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the vanilla and cinnamon. Pour this immediately on top of the crackers and stir to evenly coat. Bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the sugar, cinnamon and kosher salt. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar-salt mixture. Toss to coat. Let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.


Spicy (or not) Seasoned Pretzels

This recipe definitely gets spiced up at Sutton Central when I add 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes. You can be creative with the type of cracker or mix types for a fun foodie venture. Oyster crackers, cheese squares, pretzels sticks and fish-shaped crackers are great options.

18 oz. mini pretzels
1/2 c. olive oil
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 tsp. dill weed
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Optional: 1 to 2 Tbsp. red pepper flakes

Pour pretzels into a resealable plastic bag. Mix the remainder of the ingredients together well in a small bowl and pour over the pretzels. Toss to coat all pretzels. Let sit for an hour and flip the bag every 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the pretzels in a single later. Bake for 10 minutes. Store in an airtight contained for up to one week.


Ultimate Fan Snack Mix

If you’re making a large amount to share, you might stick with the salted dry-roasted peanuts, otherwise using mixed nuts takes this snack over the top. White chocolate chips and dried cranberries sweeten the pot as well!

15 c. popped popcorn
1 c. + 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/2 c. corn syrup
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. salted dry roasted peanuts
1 (10.5-oz.) pkg. candy-coated peanut butter pieces

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Spread popcorn evenly on pan. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt. Bring mix to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour over popcorn and stir to coat. Bake for 25 minutes. Use a spatula to turn mix 3 times while baking. During the last 5 minutes, stir in peanuts. Remove from oven and cool on waxed paper lightly sprayed with cooking spray. When cool, dump into a bowl or resealable plastic bag and add candy pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.


Pub Popcorn Mix

Source: bettycrocker.com

This recipe is worth the extra few minutes it takes to reduce the ale (do not skip this step or you’ll have mushy popcorn). The end result depends on how dark your ale is. I recommend investing in the mixed nuts to make this mix outstanding.

8 c. popped popcorn
1 c. mini-pretzels
1/2 c. salted cocktail peanuts
1/2 c. brown ale beer
1/4 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 c. corn syrup
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two 15-by 10- by 1-inch pans with foil. Lightly spray foil with cooking spray. In large bowl, place popcorn, pretzels and peanuts; set aside. In 2-quart saucepan, heat ale over medium heat, stirring frequently, until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Pour into glass liquid measuring cup to confirm measure. Add back to saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, syrup and butter. Cook over medium heat until bubbly around edges, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook about 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and syrupy. Remove from heat; carefully stir in salt. Pour over popcorn mixture in bowl; toss until evenly coated. Spread popcorn mixture in pans. Bake 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to caramelize mixture. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Break into pieces. Store in airtight container up to one week.

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