You can sit down and eat pretzel bites out of the bag and think, “Hey, these are pretty good”. Or with just a few more ingredients, you can sit down with a bowl of these Ranch sourdough pretzel bites and know that you’ve just had something truly incredible. Each bite has a hint of butter. A hint of herby Ranch dressing, and a really awesome citrusy pepper flavor that’s just barely there, but oh does it make a difference.
I often make appetizers like these Ranch sourdough pretzel bites using just oil, or melted butter. I recently came across the idea of using popcorn oil, which of course combines both oil and butter. The flavor is more fantastic, and it doesn’t get any easier than just measuring the oil out of a bottle. I’ll definitely make all my snacks this way from here on.
I couldn’t find my lemon pepper seasoning (I am reminded that someday, maybe, I’ll arrange the spices in my pantry in alphabetical or at least some sensible order). I substituted lime pepper seasoning I have to say it was fantastic. The citrus flavor in either case isn’t going to scream out at it, it just adds that special something.
Also check out my balsamic, pizza,and spicy garlic Ranch, deluxe cheddar and Buffalo Ranch sourdough pretzel bites! They are all out of this world good too!
Ranch Sourdough Pretzel Bites
Servings 1 pound
- 1 16 ounce bag pretzel bites
- 1/2 cup Orville Redenbacher popcorn oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Ranch dressing mix half of a packet
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning lime pepper is also fantastic!
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
Preheat your oven to 200 F.
Place pretzel bites in large bowl.
In a small bowl whisk together the oil, Ranch dressing mix, lemon pepper, garlic powder and dill weed.
Pour the oil mixture over the pretzels and toss to coat well.
Pour pretzels bites out onto a large baking pan and spread out evenly.
Bake for 1 hour, tossing every 20 minutes.
Let cool slightly before serving.
My first attempt at making these cheese straws was a learning experience. If the dough mixture is too thick it’s a nightmare to get through a cookie press. If the dough mixture is too thin the straw will flatten out as they bake and you’ll end up with a pan full of sadness. But, I did finally get it just right and oh, man, are these cheese straws more than just a little addicting! Crunchy and packed with cheese flavor you can’t eat just one handful.
I dusted the baked cheese straws with cayenne and smoked paprika, but you could try other flavors too. Italian seasoning for example, for a more savory approach. Or perhaps a little Ranch dressing mix.
I think you could also try other cheeses, specially something like a Monterey Jack or Swiss.
Servings 16 sticks
- 1/2 cup butter plus 1-3 more tablespoons softened
- 2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese divided
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne plus more for dusting
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika plus more for dusting
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place 1/2 cup of the butter in a mixer with the paddle attached.
Add 1 cup of the cheese and mix for 5-7 minutes until smooth, scraping down the sides as it goes.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, cayenne, smoked paprika, black pepper and garlic powder.
With the mixer still running, slowly add the flour mixture.
Add the remaining cheese.
Test the consistency of the batter. If it is really thick it might not go thru your cookie press or dessert decorator. If it is too thick, add another tablespoon of the softened butter and mix. Continue until just thin enough to press but not thin and runny.
Spoon mixture into your cookie press with a large star tip on the end.
Pipe out onto the parchment paper.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and dust with cayenne and smoked paprika, then transfer to a cooling rack.
My goodness. Putting a bowl of these balsamic pretzel bites in front of me requires me to exercise self-control like I’ve rarely been forced to do before. Balsamic pretzel bites are a totally different take on the usual salty, often cheesy, tasty morsels. The balsamic glaze takes about 20 minutes to make, but it’s so worth the effort. You want the glaze to be a bit thick, thick enough that it sticks to the back of a spoon. The tart sweetness of the balsamic vinegar works perfectly on pretzels.
You can use any glaze actually. You don’t have to use ‘just’ balsamic. I’m contemplating trying some of the same glazes I use even on the grill, such as peach mango habanero, or sweet and spicy apricot. It often pays to think outside the box!
Balsamic Pretzel Bites
Servings 4 cups
- 4 cups pretzel bites
- Balsamic glaze divided, from below
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
For the balsamic glaze
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
Place the pretzels in a large bowl.
Drizzle 3 tablespoons of balsamic glaze over the pretzels.
Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the cheese and seasoning and toss to coat.
Serve drizzled with remaining glaze and sprinkled with the remaining cheese.
For the balsamic glaze
Combine vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Whisk until the brown sugar dissolves.
Reduce heat and let simmer until reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
Let cool slightly before using.
I love Andean popcorn. It’s somewhat similar to the popcorn we enjoy here in the states in that it has a fantastic flavor, even a hint of a butter. The kernels, though, are different. They do not explode and puff up like popcorn has been grown to do here. Instead, they kinda… just go… pop. No big explosion. No fluffy white insides. The kernel is thin, and very crunchy. You just pop (no pun intended) the entire thing into your mouth and enjoy.
I recall street vendors up in the mountains of Peru, in the city of Huancayo, selling bags of popcorn along the street on market day. I think a bag was 10 soles which then was less than a US nickel. Well worth the price! They were fried in screaming hot oil then salted. That’s it. You did (and do) have to be careful of the kernels when they first come out of the fryer, though. They are very, very hot. So let them cool a bit before diving in!
I popped the cancha in the same popper I use for ‘regular’ popcorn. It takes a bit longer as the heat needs to get really good and hot, but it’s well worth the wait. If you can’t find cancha in a South American market near you you can order it using the Amazon link at the bottom of this post. It’s great stuff!
Another favorite Peruvian-inspired appetizer of mine is aji amarillo chicken wings.
Servings 6 servings
- 1 cup dried cancha corn
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Sea salt
Add the corn and oil to your popcorn popper and let pop until completely done.
Remove and immediately add salt. Do not be shy with the salt.
Let cool slightly before serving. The kernels will be very hot directly out of the popper.
When I made these pickled hot dogs, a little voice in the back of my head kept asking if I was making Vienna sausages. To which I replied, No. They may sort of look like Vienna sausages (if they came in a jar), but oh my, they are something completely different.
Pickled hot dogs are just delicious. A little spicy (I added habaneros from our garden), a little garlicky, and a great hit of pickling spice and vinegar.
As much as it’s quite alright to just eat these yummy dogs right out of the jar, and I certainly have, they are even better grilled. I grilled them just like regular ole dogs, put them on buns, and gobbled them down. You don’t want to add a bunch of toppings, though. You don’t want to bury the great pickled flavor. And while you’re at it, try a quick and easy batch of grilled pickles!
Pickled Hot Dogs
Servings 2 jars
For the jars
- 2 clean pint jars with lids
- 12 hot dogs or so
- 2-4 jalapeno or habanero peppers sliced
- 4 cloves garlic sliced
For the pickling brine
- 1 1/4 cups white vinegar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon pickling spice
- 2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the pickling brine
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.
Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
For the jars
Pack hot dogs into jars. My hot dogs were a little long so I cut the ends off first.
Pour in the cooled pickling brine.
Add pepper slices and garlic in the empty spaces.
Add lids and seal.
Place in fridge for at least 24 hours before using.
The Ragin’ Cajun Cheddar Ranch Bugles I made not long ago were a huge hit. Everyone loved them.
Bugles are so yummy and addicting.Sriracha hot sauce is also yummy (spicy) and addicting. So I decided to combine the two into a single terribly good snack – Sriracha Bugles.
I made these just hot enough for people to notice. Sriracha has such a great spicy flavor, but some folk might be afraid of it. So, I added enough flavoring so it’ll be noticed, but not so hot that people are running around screaming about their mouths being on fire. Of course, if I was making a batch of Sriracha Bugles just for myself I would probably double or triple the amount of seasoning.
- 1 14 1/2 ounce bag Bugles original snacks
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2-4 tablespoons Sriracha seasoning
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place Bugles in a large bowl.
Drizzle with oil.
Add Sriracha salt or rub and toss to coat evenly.
Place Bugles on a large baking pan and bake 5 minutes, stirring once or twice
Serve warm or cooled.
Everything that is yummy is in this white chocolate Frito popcorn. Crunchy fresh-popped popcorn. Milk chocolate M&Ms. White chocolate. And Fritos. What more can you ask for? You get a mixture of textures and tastes from very crunchy to salty to sweet and back again. It’s about as varied as you can get in a handleful!
Don’t have Fritos? Substitute shelled peanuts. Need more kick? Try my Sriracha-lime popcorn. This ingredients list for this white chocolate Frito popcorn is just a recommendation. Go crazy with it!
I pop my popcorn in a West Bend 82306 Stir Crazy 6-Quart Electric Popcorn Popper. It’s the easiest thing in the world for making a big batch of popcorn.
White Chocolate Frito Popcorn
Servings 8 -12
- 8 cups popped popcorn
- 2 cups Frito's crushed
- 1 lb white chocolate or almond bark
- A few handfuls M&M’s candies
Tear off a large sheet of wax paper and place on a flat surface.
Make sure all of the popcorn kernels are fully popped. Remove any grannies (unpopped) ones.
Place popcorn and Fritos into a large bowl.
Melt the white chocolate per package instructions and pour over the popcorn mixture.
Stir to coat.
Pour mixture out onto the wax paper and spread out evenly.
Sprinkle with M&Ms and let cool completely before serving.
Boy, oh, boy, I’m not sure how to even describe these little tasty treats. Sure, they’re chocolatey, and peanut buttery, and crunchy, and sweet. The first time you bite into one of these muddy buddies your eyes will get big and you’ll grin from ear to ear. Caution: You’ll want to eat these with someone else in the room to help you stop or they’ll all disappear. Anita took a batch of these to work and they were gobbled up very quickly.
I’ve never had chocolate Chex before. They’re mighty good! And even better when coated in chocolate and peanut butter! These muddy buddies ROCK!
Servings 9 cups
Place cereal in a large resealable bowl.
Melt and combine the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a double boiler. You can also microwave them, in 30 second intervals, stirring often. I prefer a double boiler, I just find it easier to melt everything without over doing it.
Pour melted mixture over the cereal and fold gently to coat the cereal.
Sprinkle the cereal with the sugar. Seal the bowl and gently shake and roll the bowl around to coat all of the cereal.
Place a large piece of wax paper on your countertop. Pour the cereal onto the paper, spreading it out evenly.
Let cereal cool completely before serving. Serve unused treats in the fridge.
Oh boy, don’t even try to grab a handful of these Cheez-It-alianos treats out of my bowl! I want them ALL to myself! These are definitely Cheez-Its taken to an all-new savory level. The Ranch and Italian seasonings go so well with the cheddar cracker flavor. You’ll find yourself licking your fingers and the bowl.
You can substitute pretty much anything you like for the Italian seasonings. The original recipe used hot pepper flakes, but I went for a more savory flavor. Also, if you don’t have Cheez-Its on hand, try this same recipe with oyster crackers!
Try your hand at making Cheez-It crackers at home. They’re fun!
Servings 8 -12
Preheat oven to 250 F.
Pour Cheez-Its into a large bowl.
Drizzle with oil and stir to coat.
Add remaining ingredients and stir well.
Pour mixture out onto a baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes.
Stir and bake another 5-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool before serving. Crackers will get crunchy again after cooling.
These caramel crunchy Cheetos were such a big hit at Anita’s office that I decided to post the recipe today. I have to admit, they are highly addicting. They’re like candied Cheetos. Great crunch and sweetness, similar to caramel popcorn in ways. I made these little treats with Crunchy Cheetos, but I wouldn’t hesitate to make them with Cheddar Jalapeno Crunchy Cheetos to get a nice mix of heat and sweet.
It might sound crazy, but Cheetos are the bomb on hot dogs too! Also try my always-popular praline crunch. But don’t hesitate to make these caramel crunchy Cheetos. I’ve made them for Anita’s co-workers many times and they’ve always disappeared in no time at all.
Also try my Cheetos popcorn!
Add some salted peanuts for a different spin!
- 2 cups light brown sugar or 1 cup Splenda brown sugar
- 2 sticks 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 20 1/2 ounce bag Crunchy Cheetos
Preheat oven to 250 F.
Spray a large bowl, a large sauce pan, and a deep roasting pan with non-stick spray. You may also want to spray your utensils as you go since these are quite sticky!
Add the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup to the sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the baking soda. The mixture will become light in color and will be somewhat foamy.
Pour the Cheetos into the large bowl. Pour the caramel mixture over the top. Stir the Cheetos to coat. You don't have to worry about getting every one fully coated as they will get tossed more in the oven.
Pour Cheetos mixture into the roasting pan and place into the oven.
Bake at 250 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and pour onto wax paper. Allow to cool.