Sunday, November 10, 2013

Party Food

Sea Salt Caramel Brownies
Earlier this month, I got to host a House Party for Simple skincare and MAKERS. I'll write more about Simple and MAKERS later, but for right now, let's talk about food! I pulled a bunch of recipes that I'd been stashing in my coupon/food binder for just such an occasion. Some of the recipes worked out, others didn't due to poor directions. But I made it all work!

First up, Sea Salt Caramel Brownies. This was my favorite, and it's probably because I really do love sea salt with chocolate. I got the recipe from a Morton Salt advertisement. For the most part, the recipe was pretty easy to work with. I came upon some trouble, though, when pouring the caramel sauce over the brownies and baking. It took A LONG time for the middle of the brownies to bake because the caramel sauce was still too soupy. So the edges of the brownies were very, very cooked, but the brownies in the middle were okay by the time it was all done. I'm not really sure what could be done to alleviate this issue for next time. Maybe I should "drizzle" better next time? Any tips from the readers?

Also, if you use regular sea salt instead of coarse sea salt, like I did, use less!! Coarse sea salt is in bigger chunks, but if you do the same amount of regular sea salt, that's a lot of salt! I had to brush off a bunch of salt before serving. Oops.

Next up, and one that I didn't get a picture of, Cheesy Corn Bites. This was a Rachael Ray recipe that I wrote down on an index card WAY back in the day. Like, 2005 or 2006. And I never made it until this month!! These make a great appetizer. They are crunchy on the outside because of the tortilla chips and soft in the middle because of the cream cheese, egg, and shredded cheese. Oh, and they have corn kernels in them! They also don't take long to make: 30 minutes from start to finish.

Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch
You all probably know the classic Chex mix, but what if you give it a fall/autumn theme? When I saw this recipe for Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch on the back of a Chex cereal box, I knew I had to cut it out and save it. I'm obsessed with anything pumpkin, and this fun little party mix came out really well! It's sweet and crunchy and keeps well as leftovers. I brought some of my leftovers to work the next week and everyone really liked it.

Even though it's Chex, this recipe is not gluten-free. (Actually, the only thing that is gluten-free are the Cheesy Corn Bites. But if you wanted to try and make the brownies gluten-free, you could.) The Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch calls for Wheat Chex, and, you guessed it, those are made with wheat! If my husband had been part of this party, I would have just left out the Wheat Chex. But this was a girls' party and my husband got the heck outta dodge when he found out there was going to be so much estrogen in our house. So, no party food for him!

Something else I had fun with when serving my party good was paper flags on toothpicks. I had a package of Pebbles toothpick flags (something like this) in my scrapbook stash, and I decided to use them as labels so that my guests would know what each thing was. I wrote on the flags with a Sharpie and stuck them into the food (or taped them to the side of a bowl). If you look closely in the Chex picture above, you'll see the flag at the top.

I also made Caramel Almond Popcorn. I got the recipe from a cookbook that I no longer have. But I'm not even going to share that recipe with you because it isn't good. The directions for making the caramel sauce were all wrong and I ended up messing up my caramel!! I had to melt the extra caramels I had from the Sea Salt Caramel Brownies to make a new caramel sauce, but it wasn't enough to cover all of the popcorn. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. At least now I have a recipe that I know I can throw away. Cleaning out the recipe binder feels good!!

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