Salty and sweet recipes to add to the Thanksgiving snack menu
Thanksgiving is all about the snacks. The meal is just the beginning. Then comes the crunchy nibbles and buttery pies, breads and cookies and cakes and leftover sandwiches all weekend long. Here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving snacks inspired by recipes collected from family and friends. Happy Holidays!
Kevin’s Crispy Pumpkin Seeds
Here’s a good excuse to make a pumpkin pie from scratch this year:
One pie pumpkin (any size)
1-2 tsp sea salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the pumpkin in half along the latitudinal axis and roast it, cut-side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet until it can easily be pierced with a fork (about 20 minutes). Scoop out the seeds, guts and all, and dump them in a stock pot. Puree the softened pumpkin and freeze it in portions for lattes, smoothies, cookies and, of course, pies.
Put the seeds and salt in a stock pot and fill about three-quarters of the way with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour. The longer you boil them the saltier they will become.
Drain the seeds in a colander and, running cold water over them to cool, sift through the seeds with your hands to remove the bigger pieces of pumpkin guts. Spread the boiled seeds in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and pick the last bits of pumpkin out as you go. It’s OK to leave a little of the stringy parts behind. Thanksgiving is never about perfection.
Bake until they are just beginning to brown. About 15-20 minutes. Cool and pour into a bowl. Leave it on the coffee table to enjoy.
Aunt Erika’s Apple Cake
Sneaking thin, undetectable slices of apple cake was always an irresistible challenge. I just discovered this paleo version of apple cake with the most delicious texture, and it took me right back to the pantry in my aunt’s house where the apple cake coyly waited for me to ravage it.
Aunt Erika’s cake was always a Bundt. Forget the Bundt pan and preserve your sanity. This makes one 9×9 baking dish for coffee cake squares or two 6-inch cake rounds, great for gifts. Make it plain or try one of the variations below:
1 cup blanched fine ground almond flour (find it in the refrigerator section at Natural Grocers)
½ cup organic tapioca flour
2 tbsp organic coconut flour
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon (reduce or omit for rosemary apple cake)
¼ tsp baking soda (for 9000 ft., quadruple for sea level)
1/3 cup maple syrup
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (for the Rosemary version, I used Olive Fusion Rosemary Olive Oil)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium pastured eggs
1 large overripe organic banana
2 medium organic apples, cored and chopped (about 2 cups)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients except the apples together until the batter is smooth. Stir in the apples. Scrape all the batter into a parchment lined baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is browned and the cake feels springy when pressed.
Caramel Apple Coffee Cake: Top with ½ cup of praline before baking. To make the praline, heat 2 cups of honey on medium high until it starts to bubble, then turn it down to medium low until it darkens into caramel. Stir in 1 cup soaked and dehydrated walnuts (all should be coated in caramel with a little caramel leftover). Carefully scrape the hot, sticky mixture onto a sheet of parchment and allow to cool and harden. Puree in a food processor until it resembles very coarse sand. Sprinkle on top of cakes, muffins, cookies or ice cream. It keeps well, but it may need to be chopped up again before use.
Rosemary Apple Cake: Use Olive Fusion Rosemary Olive Oil or food grade rosemary essential oil (I use doTERRA) and 1 tbsp dried organic rosemary plus a little extra to sprinkle on top.
Dad’s English Toffee Squares
No holiday would be complete without my father’s favorite cookie: English Toffee Squares. A crisp, butter base layer covered with chocolate and perhaps nuts, depending on the intended audience. If my brothers are around, there had better be a nut-free batch. This high-nutrient version is made with pumpkin puree and topped with bright green soaked and dehydrated pumpkin seeds (or use your salted crispy pumpkin seeds for a sweet and salty treat). I’m not sure my brothers will like them, but I think they’re delicious.
The thinner you spread the batter the crispier the base will be. A slightly thicker base will yield a cakey texture that is also completely delicious.
2 sticks of pastured butter, melted
1 cup organic coconut palm sugar
¾ cup organic pumpkin puree
1 pastured eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp sea salt
2 cups blanched fine ground almond flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Olive Fusion pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice or chai spice
2 cups soy-free chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life Brand)
½ cup soaked and dehydrated organic pumpkin seeds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips and the pumpkin seeds until the mixture is smooth. Divide in half and spread as thinly as possible on two parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges are brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Allow the chips to melt completely and then spread the chocolate evenly over the base. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. It’s best to allow the chocolate to harden overnight, if you can stand it. Break the toffee into pieces and share.
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