Thursday, August 21, 2008

Everyday Food :: Happy Hour

When I saw the September 2008 issue of Everyday Food, the Happy Hour recipes jumped out at me. While happy hour sounds great to me, in my house we're more often serving after-school snacks, and these two recipes fit the bill. With school starting up, the not-too-sweet Pomegranate Soda and the Spicy-Sweet Pretzel Mix are the perfect after-school snack.

Pomegranate Soda

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup pomegranate juice

club soda, for serving

maraschino cherries, for garnish (optional)

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and juice; bring to a boil over high, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Reduce to a simmer; cook, without stirring, until mixture is syrupy, about 2 minutes. (To store, refrigerate syrup, up to 1 week; adjust consistency with water, if necessary.)

To serve: Fill 8 glasses with ice. Pour 2 tablespoons syrup in each glass, and top with club soda. Garnish with cherries, if desired.

Serves 8.

Spicy-Sweet Pretzel Mix

2 cups thin pretzel sticks

1 cup natural almonds

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss together pretzels and almonds.

In a small saucepan, bring butter, sugar, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon water to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour over pretzel mixture in a bowl; gently toss to combine.

Spread pretzel mixture in a single layer on prepared sheet. Bake until almonds are crisp, about 20 minutes, tossing occasionally. Cool on sheet before serving. (To store, keep at room temperature, up to 5 days.)

Serves 8.

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