Once you start making your own crackers, tortilla chips, and crostini crackers for snacks, you won’t stop. You will be able to serve a tasty treat for the most discriminating of guests. Need stress-free foods for entertaining? Make these a day or two ahead and keep in an airtight container. Here are a batch of scrumptious recipes all in one place. They are easy to make and perfect for dipping in fondue, salsas, hummus, vegetable dips, and eggplant spreads. Feel the crunch.
Oven-Baked Flour Tortilla Chips
12 8-inch flour tortillas
1/2 cup olive oil or olive oil cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 350º. Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil (ideally you want to have 3 baking sheets, otherwise prepare to bake in batches). Make a stack of 6 tortillas. Cut into quarters, then cut each quarter in half to make 8 triangles per tortilla. Repeat with remaining 6 tortillas. Scatter the triangles in a single layer on the baking sheet. Spray with the cooking spray or drizzle with more oil and sprinkle with salt.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until crisp and golden around the edges. Serve warm or room temperature. Makes about 7 dozen chips.
Toasted Pita Triangles
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, or olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut each pita bread into 6ths. Lift the cut side of each triangle and spread the inside with some butter or oil. Place on the baking sheet (can be prepared 4 hours ahead at this point and left at room temperature until ready to bake). Bake 5 to 7 minutes, until crisp. Serve at room temperature. Serves 6.
Savory Cornbread Biscotti
This is easy and really tasty. You can certainly make a pan of homemade cornbread, but this is special for being able to be whipped up in a jiffy. Great with dips like chile con queso, salsa, spread with tapanade, or spread with soft cheeses like goat cheese or brie.
One 8 1/2 ounce package cornbread mix, prepared according to package directions
Preheat the oven to 400º. Spread the cornbread mix batter in an 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge and turn out the cornbread onto a rack; cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 425º. Parchment-line a large baking sheet. Cut the cornbread into 1/2 inch thick slices with a serrated knife. Cut each slice in half (or thirds). Place on their sides in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, turning once at 5 minutes, or until crisp and lightly browned around the edges. Cool on racks and store up to 2 days in an airtight container. Makes 32 biscotti.
Any focaccia bread can be made into crostini and used as you would crackers as an appetizer. They end up looking like over sized rusks. Store in an airtight tin up to 3 days. Try the onion foccacia from Safeway Bakery.
1 loaf focaccia flatbread, sliced horizontally into 1/3-inch-thick slices
Olive oil or olive oil-flavored vegetable cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 300º. Parchment-line a large baking sheet. Cut leftover focaccia into 1/3-inch thick slices. They will be as long as your baking pan was wide. Brush each side with olive oil or spray with an olive oil-vegetable cooking spray. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if desired (I like them plain). Arrange on the baking sheet.
Bake in the center of the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until very crisp and lightly browned around the edges. They will be completely dried out and not soft. Cool on racks.
Parmesan Toasts are a munchie you might find in an upscale restaurant served with wine before dinner. You can double or triple this recipe for larger parties. Great on their own or with some olives and fruit.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
24 1/2-inch thick slices, on the diagonal if desired, French or sourdough bread
1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375º. Combine the butter and oil in a small saucepan; heat until the butter is melted. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place the bread slices on the baking sheet in a single layer. Place in the oven and toast for 5 minutes.
Place the cheese on a flat plate. Brush each slice of hot toast lightly and press into the Parmesan. Bake 5 to 7 minutes, until crisp and pale golden (not browned!). Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in plastic bags or an airtight container for up to 5 days. Makes about 24 toasts
Buy a fat batard loaf at your local bakery and have it pre-sliced. Good for dipping or as an inclusion on an Italian antipasto platter.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup olive oil or walnut oil
Medium head of garlic, center root and outside excess paper removed and cloves broken apart but not peeled
1/4 cup water
2 loaves French or Italian bread, sliced 1/2- to 3/4- inch thick
Preheat the oven to 425º. Combine the butter and oil in a small saucepan; heat until the butter is melted. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place the bread slices on the baking sheet in a single layer.
Place the garlic and water in a blender or food processor until pureed. Pour into the melted butter/oil. Let stand 5 minutes. Brush each slice lightly on both sides with the garlic mixture. Bake 6 to 10 minutes, until crisp and lightly golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in plastic bags or an airtight container for up to 2 days. Makes about 40 toasts.
Giant Bread Sticks Studded with Poppy, Sesame, and Sea Salt
Make bread sticks from scratch? Why bother. These are made from baguettes and will make you proud. Dip in fondue or serve alongside your cheese platter.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
Coarse sea salt
Preheat the oven to 425º. Combine the butter and oil in a small saucepan; heat until the butter is melted. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place the bread sticks on the baking sheet in a single layer. Brush each lightly on the cut sides with the butter mixture. Lay on the baking sheet cut side up and sprinkle with the seeds, then the salt. Bake 6 to 10 minutes, until crisp and lightly golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in plastic bags. Makes 8 servings
These little bites became popular mainstream when it got out they were being served for White House cocktail parties. No one could figure out whether they were made of puff pastry or pie crust. Great with cheese or to munch while drinking wine.
24 saltine crackers (salted or unsalted tops)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or coarse sea salt or kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. In a shallow pan of ice water, float a single layer of crackers. Let soak 10 to 15 minutes, or until softened but not soggy or disintegrated. Remove with a slotted spatula, letting the excess water drip off. Place the crackers on the baking sheet in a single layer, about 1 inch apart. Brush each with the melted butter and sprinkle with a choice of seeds or salt.
Bake about 20 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in plastic bags or an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat in a 400º oven for 3 inutes to crisp. Makes 24.
4 bagels, 1 or 2 days old, sliced horizontally into 1/3-inch-thick slices or vertically into thin chip strips
1/4 cup olive oil or olive oil cooking spray
2 teaspoons spices of choice: smoked paprika, chili powder, ground cumin, curry powder, sesame seeds, poppy seeds
Preheat the oven to 350º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the round bagel slices in a single layer on the baking sheet (it is okay if some are broken or cracked). Add the spice to the olive oil in a small bowl. Brush the cut side with spiced oil or spray with the cooking spray for plain. Turn over and brush the second side. Sprinkle with some salt. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until crisp and golden around the edges. Serve warm or store in an airtight container for 3 days to serve at room temperature. Makes about 2 dozen chips
Garlic Pita Toasts
These toasts are baked for a much longer time than the regular pita crisps, like a melba. Store in an airtight container up to 5 days.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup olive oil
1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
6 white or whole wheat pitas with pockets
Kosher or sea salt, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 300º. Combine the butter, oil, and garlic in a small saucepan. Heat until the butter is melted. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut each pita bread into quarters, then separate each into 2 triangles. Place on the baking sheet, rough side up, in a single layer. Brush each triangle on the rough side lightly with the garlic mixture. Sprinkle with salt. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until crisp and lightly golden. Serve at room temperature. Makes 48 toast triangles
Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2015
Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.