Happy hour, a.k.a. cocktail o’clock, is a magical time that falls somewhere between brunch and bedtime, but doesn’t cover lunch or dinner (why limit yourself to three meals, anyway?). It’s also the most likely time for friends to drop by for impromptu refreshments. Luckily, we have you covered.
Make the Easy Baguette Crostini in ten minutes, or make the Sweet Mustard Pecans and Smoky Roasted Chickpeas ahead to pull out when you hear the knock on your screen door. You’ll look like a superstar with minimal effort. Pair them with your favourite wine or craft beer, and everyone will be happy!
Easy Baguette Crostini
Throw down one (or more!) of these ultra-quick toast toppers for an instant snack to go with afternoon drinks. Use a baguette or whatever bits of bread you have kicking around. Brush both sides lightly with oil, then broil or grill on low until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Then top with these sassy flavour combos. You can whip them up in about 10 minutes, or the time it takes for guests to tie up to the dock.
- baba ghanouj + fresh dill + pickled beets
- blue cheese + plums + red pepper jelly+ walnuts
- shrimp + avocado+ lime + olive oil
- thin slice coppa + mascarpone + drizzle of honey
- smoked salmon + sour cream + capers + chives
Sweet Mustard Pecans
These mixed nuts are savoury, with a hint of caramel flavour, and are so easy to put together. The pecans need time in the oven, so make them ahead, and keep on hand for cocktail-hour emergencies.
21/2 cups pecan halves (see Tip)
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tsp packed brown sugar
¾ tsp dry mustard
½ tsp salt
½ tsp each garlic powder and
¼ tsp each ground cumin and turmeric
- In a bowl, stir together pecans, oil, and Dijon mustard until coated.
- Combine remaining ingredients in a separate bowl, and sprinkle over pecans, tossing well to coat.
- Bake on baking sheet lined with parchment paper in 300°F oven, stirring twice, until lightly toasted, about 20 minutes. Let cool. (Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.) Makes 10 to 12 servings (2½ cups).
TIP Use whatever raw nuts you like. Walnuts, cashews, and almonds are all good.
Smoky Roasted Chickpeas
These crispy chickpeas are an addictive snack, and you can get them in the oven in no time flat. They have the crunch of chips but with added fibre and protein.
1 can (540 ml) chickpeas, rinsed and well-drained
1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp garlic powder
- Spread chickpeas out on paper towels or tea towel. Rub gently to dry; remove loose skins. In a bowl, toss with oil and salt. Arrange on rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake in 350°F oven, shaking pan twice, until chickpeas are golden and dry, about 45 minutes.
- Sprinkle with paprika and garlic powder, shaking the baking sheet to coat.
- Let cool completely. (Chickpeas will continue to crisp up as they cool.) Store loosely covered for up to 5 days. makes 4 to 6 servings (1 cup).
TIP Dry your chickpeas well before roasting and remove as many skins as possible to achieve maximum crunchiness.
Looking for more snack ideas?