Snack Attack

Happy new year, friends and family! I've finally decided to open my computer again, (back to work, wah wah), and figured maybe I could write a new post for once. How was everyone's holidays? Mine was awesome! I got to spend Christmas with my family down in Arizona where my sister lives, made the trip back up north to the uppermost part of Michigan to go skiing with friends, and traveled back down to Chicago to meet up with all my best college buddies to ring in the new year. Very little sleep, very much alcohol, very fun holiday season. We did lots of cooking over the Christmas weekend, got in a delicious beef tenderloin roast, tamales and tacos for the family. Had to go with the Southwest theme in Arizona! So sad it's over. Anyways, I got a new, fancy camera and pasta maker for Christmas so I've got lots of cooking and blogging to do! Watch out 2012!

Let's start of the new year with some fun and easy recipes. These recipes come a little late, I realize, but are perfect little party treats. Cheese crackers and brittle! Happy new year!!!!

Cheddar Cheese Crackers

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 stick unsalted butter (room temp.)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tbsp dried dill

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine until you have a thick dough. Add more milk as necessary if the dough is too dry.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With your hands, scoop out small chunks of the dough, roll into a ball, and flatten into a little cracker shape. Place on the parchment paper. Pop the crackers into the oven for about 35 minutes. Keep watching them to make sure they don't burn!

You'll end up with some delicious, tasty treats for dipping or enjoying by themselves!


2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups pine nuts
8 tbsp (one stick) unsalted butter
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp kosher salt

I can claim no rights to coming up with this wonderful recipe, but I had to share it with you all. It's the most amazing treat.

Place the sugar in a large, heavy saucepan over high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until sugar begins to melt. Lower the heat to medium-high and keep stirring just until the sugar is melted. Stop stirring and watch for it to turn a medium caramel color. About 10 minutes total.

Stir in pine nuts, and then butter. Allow pine nuts to cook for about two minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in half of the rosemary and half of the sea salt.

Turn the mixture out onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and spread it evenly to the desired thickness with a wooden spoon or stiff rubber spatula. Sprinkle remaining rosemary and salt on top, while brittle is still warm.

Allow to cool completely--at least one hour--then break the brittle into pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature. I just pop it into the freezer for about 20 minutes and it hardens up much more quickly!

Salted Almond Brittle

2 cups sugar
2 cups sliced almonds
8 tbsp (one stick) unsalted butter
1 tbsp kosher salt

Follow the directions above, and serve the 2 varieties of brittle together. It's wonderful!

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