What to CookEntertainingSnacks

Cheesy, Spicy Cocktail Party Crackers That'll Make Easy Baking Look Impressive

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Let's say you're in a weekend state of mind a little early this week—so what are you doing to celebrate Thursday? We partnered with Simply Organic to share spiced and herbed recipes for cozy gatherings.

Scents are powerful triggers, evoking some of the nicest memories from growing up. My mother, an excellent baker, has a few recipes that she reserves for special occasions and even a hint of their aromas has the power to transport me, still.

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Walking through the airport, catching a whiff of freshly baked cinnamon buns, I'm taken right to Christmastime when we’d bake dozens of pans of tightly coiled sweet rolls to bring to neighbors. The bright, cheerful smell of lemon zest reminds me of batches of summer lemonade. And my favorite: The savory, addictive smell of melted cheese, which means a batch of spicy cheese coins will soon emerge from the oven.

Snacky coins.
Snacky coins. Photo by James Ransom

We make these tiny, round cheese crackers for any kind of gathering where you’ll need an easy finger food for picking up and snacking. (They also happen to be a very nice size for packaging up in a glass jar and gifting around the holidays or as a hostess present.) More interesting than the usual platter of crackers and cheese, these buttery coins taste intensely of cheddar cheese. A little bit of cornmeal gives them a pleasantly crunchy texture, and a generous heap of flavorful herbs adds layers of flavor: earthy dried sage, smoky paprika, and spicy cayenne.

Salty enough to amplify the pleasure of a chilled glass of wine, these crackers are the ideal pairing for happy hour. I like serving them alongside a cold bottle of white wine, but if you eat them with a delicate flute of Champagne, I wouldn’t argue.

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Spicy Cheese + Smoked Paprika Coins
Spicy Cheese + Smoked Paprika Coins

This is the sort of recipe that’s ridiculously simple to pull together, but makes you look like a very impressive baker (and host!). It’s a back-pocket recipe to keep on hand any time you’ll be entertaining: easier than most appetizers, but made from scratch and warm unlike a plate of charcuterie or cheese.

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Spicy Cheese + Smoked Paprika Coins

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Makes about 30 coins
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage leaf
  • 2 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
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Thursdays are like warm-ups for the weekend—so why not raise a glass a little early? We partnered with Simply Organic to share spiced recipes for impromptu get-togethers, like a DIY wine bar party. Head here to see all their spices, and get ideas for your #ThursdayMoments.

Tags: simply organic, coins, crackers