I love having friends over for cocktails and serving a little something salty and sweet to nibble on and make you thirsty. At my restaurant we always enjoyed coming up with interesting bar snacks. They are so easy to prepare and way less expensive than buying at a store. Two of my favorite recipes are Wasabi Honey Roasted Peanuts and Candied Walnuts. The nuts are perfect to serve before dinner or at a cocktail party. Make them both a day in advance and store in airtight containers. I recommend putting out the assorted nuts with some candied bacon, dried cranberries and a few beautiful cheeses with crackers. This can be done before friends arrive so you can relax and enjoy.
Wasabi Honey Roasted Peanuts:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 1/2 cups unsalted peanuts
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons wasabi powder
- 1/4 tsp granulated sea salt
Preheat oven to 325. Place peanuts on a foil lined baking sheet and roast for 5 minutes. Melt butter, honey and soy sauce in a pan and add peanuts. Cook for 5 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Blend wasabi powder, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Put peanuts in a mixing bowl and gradually add the sugar mixture. Stir gently to coat peanut. Place peanuts back on sheet pan and roast for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before serving. Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a week.
Peppery Candied Bacon
- Thick Cut or Regular Cut Bacon (if you want very crispy)
- Light Brown Sugar
- Black Pepper
Preheat oven to 350. Lay strips of bacon on an oven proof wire rack placed on a foil or payment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle brown sugar over bacon and grind black pepper on top. Place in oven for 20 to 25 minutes until bacon is crispy but not burnt. Let cool on rack and serve immediately. I like to place the bacon standing up in a pretty glass.
Note: Bacon can also be crumbled and used on top of a salad like my Roasted Apple Salad or served over pancakes or french toast.
- 2 1/2 cups walnut halves
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
Place butter and sugar in a pan and melt over medium heat. When sugar and butter liquify add walnuts and stir to coat. Spread walnut out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Work quickly! You will not have more than 30 seconds before sugar starts to harden into candy. Allow to harden. I like to chop the nuts a little before serving so they are a little smaller.