A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Bacon and Cheddar Mini Muffins Smoky Cheese Wafers Baked Shrimp Cocktail Dip Sweet Potato Puffs Bacon and Cheddar Mini Muffins Yield: 36 mini muffins. 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Bacon and Cheddar Mini Muffins Smoky Cheese Wafers Baked Shrimp Cocktail Dip Sweet Potato Puffs Bacon and Cheddar Mini Muffins Yield: 36 mini muffins. 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons

Small but Mighty: 4 Super Snack Recipes

Bacon and Cheddar Mini Muffins

Yield: 36 mini muffins.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon onion powder
1¼ cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
¼ cup butter
1 cup whole buttermilk
1 large egg
6 strips bacon, cooked crispy, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a 24-cup and a 12-cup mini muffin pan. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Add 1 cup cheese and stir.

In a saucepan, melt butter on low heat; add buttermilk and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

While whisking buttermilk mixture, add egg and continue whisking until ingredients are well blended. Gradually add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir. Add chopped bacon and mix until just combined.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans, filling cups to just below the tops. Sprinkle muffin tops with remaining ¼ cup cheese. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Garnish with chopped chives. Serve hot or warm.

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Smoky Cheese Wafers

Yield: 48 wafers.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon Texas Pete
1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, hand-shredded

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cayenne pepper, and paprika. Set aside.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter and hot sauce until smooth and creamy. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture, scraping down the sides. Add cheese and continue mixing until all ingredients are well incorporated. Remove dough from mixing bowl, form into a ball, and place on clean countertop.

Cut dough into quarters. Lightly flour countertop and roll each section of dough into log shapes, approximately 2 inches thick. Gently press dough as you roll to eliminate air pockets. Once all dough has been rolled, wrap each cheese log in plastic wrap and tie the ends to ensure all the dough is sealed. Store dough in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°. Remove dough from refrigerator as needed. Unwrap dough and cut into ½-inch slices. Place slices on parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced 1 inch apart. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes to set. Once wafers are completely cooled, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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Baked Shrimp Cocktail Dip

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon pickling spice
1 pound medium shrimp, thawed, peeled, and deveined
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish sauce
¾ cup shredded Gouda or Swiss cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Texas Pete to taste (optional)
½ cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
Crackers, celery sticks, or pita chips (for serving)

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large pot, add 3 cups of water, bay leaf, and pickling spice; bring to a boil. Add shrimp and cook just until shrimp turn pink and begin to curl (about 2 minutes). Do not overcook. Remove and discard bay leaf. Strain shrimp in colander in sink. Cover shrimp with ice cubes and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish sauce, cheeses, garlic powder, Old Bay, and lemon juice. Taste mixture; add salt, black pepper, and/or hot sauce if desired. Add half of the chopped parsley and stir.

When shrimp is cool to the touch, coarsely chop and add to cheese mixture. Stir until all ingredients are combined. Transfer shrimp mixture to baking dish and bake for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and garnish with remaining parsley. Serve hot with crackers, celery sticks, or pita chips.

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Sweet Potato Puffs

Yield: 30 puffs.

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar, divided
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons self-rising flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 large eggs, beaten and divided
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl, combine sweet potatoes, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, and cornstarch. Fold in one beaten egg until well incorporated. Form tablespoon-size balls of the mixture and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush each ball with the other beaten egg. Discard extra egg. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly puffed. Drizzle puffs with honey, sprinkle with remaining sugar, and serve immediately.

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This story was published on Mar 16, 2021

Lynn Wells

Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.