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Six Easy Holiday Snacks to Keep On Hand

One of the biggest holiday luxuries is the freedom to indulge in decadent feasts to our heart’s content. While your guests are waiting around for the main event, sometimes you need a small bite here and there to keep everyone feeling festive and bolster any cocktails being consumed. From sweet and savory walnuts to smoky, crunchy chickpeas, here are six easily prepared snacks to keep on hand this holiday season.

Photo by Sarah Shatz

Recipe: Fig and Blue Cheese Savouries

These delicate, crumbly little thumbprints are the perfect combination of sweet and savory, as their name suggests -- they're like a great cheese plate all wrapped into one crunchy morsel. A simple food processor dough yields tender, buttery coins flecked with blue cheese and black pepper that are just the right size to grab while you chat with holiday guests.  

Photo by James Ransom

Recipe: Sage Candied Walnuts

This is the kind of adult walnut confection that should be served at your favorite cocktail bar and every single holiday party. Feel free to up the sage by half or reduce the sugar a little depending on your taste. Either way, don’t be surprised if you find guests stashing handfuls of these in their pockets for a late-night snack.

Photo by James Ransom

Recipe: Orange Blossom Candied Cranberries

Making these candied cranberries is easy: just soak the cranberries in simple syrup, then roll them in sugar. (If you can't find orange blossom water, don’t sweat it -- you can leave it out.) Then: pile them into glass bowls as both a centerpiece and a snack; sprinkle them onto cakes or ice cream; float them in a glass of bubbly or your favorite winter cocktail. 

Photo by Sarah Shatz

Recipe: Party Popcorn

This popcorn is a simple hors d’oeuvre when you don’t feel like whipping up a tray of canapés or an elegant cheese plate. A mixture of standard pantry spices like marjoram and paprika combine to amp up everyone’s favorite salty snack.

Photo by James Ransom

Recipe: Coconuttiest Shortbread Cookies

A take on traditional Scottish shortbread, when cooled, the cookies become solid enough to pop into your mouth and dissolve into coconut bliss. For a festive twist and to make them extra special, roll the cookies in lime-infused sugar or stamp with decorative molds.

Photo by Sarah Shatz

Recipe: Smoky Fried Chickpeas

If you put out a bowl of these crunchy, smoky, spicy bites at a holiday cocktail party, it's likely they'll be gone in under five minutes. Fried strips of lemon zest, fresh thyme leaves and thinly sliced garlic mix with the chickpeas, paprika and salt, leading to an array of crispy little bursts of flavor, each more fragrant than the last. 

Tell us: What are your favorite simple snacks for holiday entertaining? Share your comments below or check out our many other holiday recipes!