This week at Kendall-Jackson, we’ve been talking about our favorite holiday snacks, those treasured recipes that your family has been making for years at the holidays. They don’t have to be fancy; these snacks are those delicious little treats that remind you of family and friends.
For me, it is my Grandma’s Party Mix – I love that stuff and it’s so addictive. It’s a nice, salty snack that everyone enjoys and also goes great with wine.
Other favorite holiday treats around the Wine Center included: chocolate crinkle cookies (a chocolate cookie rolled in confectioner’s sugar that crackles when it bakes), cracker candy (baked saltine crackers covered with melted dark chocolate), plain cookies (a tender, cakey sugar cookie), chada (a rich, buttery pastry), buckeyes (peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate), peppermint bark (dark chocolate with crunchy bits of candy cane), hvorost (a fried, crispy pastry) and buñuelos (crisp, tortilla-like fritters). Everyone I asked seemed to have a different holiday treat that was a family tradition.
After hearing about cracker candy from our estate manager, Robin Calkins, I was intrigued by the thought of using saltine crackers in a dessert. I asked our assistant Pastry Chef, Nicholas, to make the candy and it turned out great. How can anything with chocolate and caramel be bad? And best of all, it is wonderful paired with Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Port. Below are the recipes for Robin’s Cracker Candy and Grandma’s Party Mix.
Robin’s Cracker Candy
Serve with Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Port
- 60 saltine crackers (salted or unsalted)
- ¾ lb. butter
- 1½ cups sugar
- 3 cups dark chocolate chips
- 1½ cups almonds, toasted and chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the crackers in a single layer on the baking sheet (so they are touching, but not overlapping).
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add the butter and sugar. Stir until the butter melts and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, cook for 2 minutes. Carefully, pour the sugar-butter mixture evenly over the crackers on the baking sheet. If you miss some spots, don’t worry as it will spread in the oven.
- Bake the cracker mixture for 10 minutes, until it is bubbling. Carefully, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the crackers. Allow them to sit for 1 minute to soften and melt. Once softened, use an offset spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly over the entire surface. While the chocolate is still sticky, sprinkle the top with toasted almonds
- Refrigerate until hard. Break into small pieces by hand and serve.
Cracker candy may be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Serve at room temperature.
And I can’t forget to include my Grandma’s Party Mix recipe because it brings back so many great memories for me.
Grandma’s Party Mix
- 3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1½ tsp. celery or onion salt
- ½ cup butter
- 1 tsp.Tabascosauce
- 1 tsp. garlic salt
- 1 cup salad oil
- 4 cups thin pretzel sticks
- 4 cups rice chex
- 4 cups wheat chex
- 4 cups cheerios
- 2 cups mixed nuts
- Mix Worcestershire, celery or onion salt, butter, Tabaso, garlic salt and salad oil together in sauce pan and heat.
- In large roaster pan mix in pretzels, rice chex, wheat chex, cheerios and nuts
- Pour liquid over mixture in pan and mix well. Bake in 200º oven for 2 hours, stirring frequently.