What’s great about this recipe is that it’s uniquely scaled for you, a duo, or a whole damn crew. The blackberry jam keeps nicely in the refrigerator for about two weeks, so this is a toast you can remake countless times. It’s hearty enough for a meal, delicate enough as a snack, and downright georgous as an appetizer.
- 1 1/2 cups blackberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
- 3 Tablespoons water
- 1 – 2 teaspoons cornstarch, sifted
- 8 oz challah bread, sliced (or your bread of choice!)
- 4 oz goat cheese
- Fresh mint to garnish
- In a medium-sized saucepan combine the blackberries, blueberries, vanilla, sugar, and water (covered) over a medium low flame. Once simmering and the fruit begins to burst (about 5 minutes) gently mash with a fork or potato masher, then whisk in the cornstarch until well incorporated.* Cover once more and simmer over a low flame until needed.
- Meanwhile, toast the challah bread as desired — I recommend extra crispy.
- When ready, smear each slice of challah bread with a thick layer of goat cheese, then spoon over with the smashed blackberries. Garnish with mint, then eat!
* Add 1 teaspoon if you want the blackberries more runny, 2 teaspoons for a thicker texture!
- If eating for one, still follow the recipe! the leftover blackberries can be refrigerated in a glass container for up to two weeks, so you make this toast even quicker the next time you crave it.
These easy 4-ingredient Pecan Balls (5 for a chocolate version) make a great game day snack, appetizer or anytime treat!
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 heaping cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional chocolate drizzle
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 275.
- Cream together the butter, sugar and flour with a hand mixer or stand mixer.
- Fold in the pecans and salt and stir until combined. The mixture will be crumbly but will stick to itself.
- Roll the dough into small balls (about 1/2-inch across) and place on an ungreased baking sheet. (You can wet your hands to keep the dough from sticking to you.)
- Bake at 275 for 45 minutes.
- Let cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring to an airtight container. These pecan puffs keep for up to a week on the counter or in the pantry.
- To make the chocolate sauce: Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir and microwave in 30 seconds intervals until chocolate is melted and can be stirred together. Drizzle melted chocolate over cooled pecan balls or dunk balls in the chocolate sauce.
- If your butter isn’t at room temperature — mine never is — you can microwave it for about 20 seconds to soften it. You don’t want it melted.
- I buy pecan pieces – they are cheaper than whole, in-tact pecans, and they just need a rough chop to break up the big pieces for this recipe.
- The mixture is crumbly but the dough does stick to itself to be able to roll into balls. You can wet your hands to keep the dough from sticking to you.
- These are crumbly straight out of the oven, too, so be sure to let them cool on the pan so they can set up. Then they’re ready to share or transport!
My favorite late night indulgence is salami and cream cheese on crackers. Salty cured sausage, sweet creamy cheese, crisp buttery crackers, served with a refreshing chilled beverage…doesn’t get much better than that! However there are a few problems translating this delicious little snack into the ideal appetizer for a crowd. The traditional method of applying cream cheese to the cracker and adding a piece of salami results in a soggy cracker if left in the refrigerator for any length of time. The sodden cracker was the most important hurdle to overcome, but then came the painstaking effort and endless trials I had to put myself and the family through to get the salami to cheese ratio just right. Somehow we endured and these addictive little roll-ups have solved all the problems inherent to serving these tasty tidbits to guests, as a bonus they came out rather beautiful in the process. Feel free to add additional ingredients to/instead of the green pepper, such as jalapeno, shredded cheddar, thinly sliced swiss, or hot pepper cheese depending on your mood.
The three ingredients needed are raw, no actual cooking involved, but you will need a good sharp knife to cut the rolls. When entertaining I make up the roll 1-3 days ahead and on the day of the party I slice them thin and stack them in rows between wax paper, returning them to the refrigerator. To serve, I line a platter with crackers and then simply lay a sliced roll on each, they can be stacked pretty high with this method and it makes an impressive display. This keeps the crackers fresh and crisp but also makes assembly super quick and easy. Each roll will make between 55-70 crackers.
- 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 -3/4 pounds salami sliced thin (thinner is better as it rolls easier)
- 1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced
- Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on the work surface. Place the cream cheese on top of the plastic wrap and cover with another piece of wrap the same size. With a rolling pin roll the cream cheese out into an even layer, approximately 1/4-inch thick. Watch the edges of the cream cheese as it rolls out because the top wrap can work its way under the cheese. To avoid this, occasionally pull the wrap off and replace it to continue rolling the cheese into a rectangle.
- Remove the top layer of plastic wrap and add the salami, overlapping the slices until all the cream cheese is covered, lightly press the salami into the cream cheese to make it stick. Replace the plastic wrap and carefully flip the salami and cheese so that the cream cheese is again on top. Remove the wrap and place the sliced green peppers over the cheese.
- Roll the salami over the cream cheese being careful not to leave any air space (this make it harder to cut later) and use the plastic wrap to pull it tight as you work. Roll the meat log and press the outer layers tight to hold it all together. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate 4-6 hours or overnight (it can be cut without chilling, but the longer it chills the easier it is to cut.) Cut the meat slices thin, taste one on a cracker, as large crackers may need a thicker slice, while smaller crackers will need one cut thinner. Enjoy with your favorite beverage.