It’s fall; the leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping, and there’s no better time to carve out an evening with your family, a great movie, a pile of blankets, and some delicious snacks. While we’re all guilty of reaching for what’s easiest, check out these fun, filling homemade movie treats instead, and prepare for a night full of smiles, thank-you’s, and full bellies.
1. Cupcake Pizzas
Olive oil, for muffin pan
All-purpose flour, for rolling
1/2 pound homemade or store-bought pizza dough, in 6 pieces
Sea salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (4 ounces)
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
Desired toppings, such as cooked vegetables, pineapple, ham, or pepperoni
Step 1: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly brush 6 standard muffin cups with oil. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough to a 6-inch round. Fill each cup with 1 round, gently pressing dough into bottom and sides of cup. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 2: Sprinkle each dough cup with 1 tablespoon of cheese and tomato. Add your own toppings and another tablespoon of cheese and tomato. Bake until dough is golden brown and crisp, 12 minutes. Let cool 2 minutes before removing from cups.
2. Chocolate Fizz
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup sweetened cocoa (not instant)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups cold half-and-half
Step 1: In a blender, combine 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped, and 1/4 cup
sweetened cocoa (not instant). In a 1- to 2-quart pan over medium-high heat, bring 1/2
cup whole milk to a boil; pour milk over chocolate mixture and whirl until melted and smooth.
Step 2: Pour in 1 1/2 cups cold half-and-half and whirl to blend.
Step 3: Place 1 cup ice cubes in a cocktail shaker and add half of the chocolate mixture. Shake until cold and strain into a 16-ounce glass with a few ice cubes in it.
Step 4: Fill glass with club soda and stir. Garnish with whipped cream and/or shaved chocolate.
3. Do-It-Yourself Cracker Jacks
20 cups of air-popped popcorn (about 1 cup popcorn kernels)
1 1/4 cups of butter, cut into pieces (or use Earth Balance for dairy free)
1 3/4 cups honey
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Step 1: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pour popcorn into a large roasting pan with sides. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Step 2: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook 1 1/4 cup butter, honey, and salt until butter is melted. Use a heatproof spatula to stir frequently. When butter has melted increase heat and boil mixture for one minute, stirring constantly. Stir in vanilla.
Step 3: Pour butter mixture over popcorn in the roasting pan and stir gently to coat. Bake popcorn for 20 minutes, removing pan to stir every 5 minutes.
Step 4: Let popcorn stand for 5 minutes to cool slightly, then transfer popcorn to parchment lined baking sheet to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
4. Red Hot Chex Mix
1 bag (8.75 oz) Chex Mix® Cheddar snack mix
2 cups popped popcorn
1/2 cup bite-sized cheese crackers
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Old El Paso® taco seasoning mix (from 1-oz package)
In medium bowl, mix snack mix, popcorn and cheese crackers. Just before serving, sprinkle with cheese and seasoning mix; toss to coat thoroughly. Serve immediately.
5. Monkey Pops
3 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2 inch-thick slices
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons canola oil
Assorted toppings (e.g., chopped salted peanuts, crushed chocolate sandwich cookies, toffee bits, toasted shredded coconut, crushed chocolate dipped pretzels, crushed pretzels, chopped hazelnuts, etc.)
Step 1: Stir chocolate and oil in heavy small saucepan over low heat just until smooth. Let stand 15 minutes to cool.
Step 2: Place each topping in separate shallow dish. Line baking sheet with foil. Arrange banana slices on foil.
Step 3: Using fingers or utensil, dip 1 banana slice in chocolate, coating completely. Shake off excess chocolate. Drop dipped banana in 1 topping. Using clean hand or utensil, sprinkle more topping over banana to coat; transfer to foil-lined sheet.
Step 4: Repeat with remaining bananas, chocolate, and toppings. Freeze until firm, about 3 hours, then serve. Makes 36.