Sweet and Salty Snacks You Can Make at Home

by Mikey Rox on 28 September 2011 8 comments
Photo: jamieanne

Americans — like no other culture — love their junk food. We’ll stuff our faces with treats salty and sweet until we’re intoxicated with saturated-fat euphoria.

But what we love even more than sweet snacks and salty snacks separately are the two flavor profiles combined to create mouth nirvana of the highest degree.

To get your double-the-pleasure fix without leaving the kitchen, check out these easy-to-make budget-friendly sweet-and-salty recipes. (See also: Quick Pantry Snacks for Unexpected Guests)

Sweet-and-Salty Pumpkin Seeds

This sweet-and-salty pumpkin seeds recipe is easy to make, whether as a quick snack for yourself or finger food at your next fall fete. With only five ingredients — pumpkin seeds, unsalted butter, sugar, salt, and ground cinnamon — this crowd pleaser is packed with flavor and takes just over an hour to bake.

Fall Sweet-and-Salty Treat

If you want to satisfy your salty-sweet craving but have no time to fuss with prep work or an oven, this fall sweet and salty treat “recipe” is for you. Just combine two cups of candy corn with an equal amount of dry-roasted peanuts to create a treat that tastes like a Payday candy bar.

Sweet-and-Salty Popcorn

Gluten-free dieters, rejoice! This sweet-and-salty popcorn is for you. After popping fresh popcorn, toss it with a butter-and-powered-sugar syrup (using gluten-free ingredients, of course), and sprinkle the coated corn with a teaspoon of salt. Great for a chilly evening in front of the tube.

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels

This is probably my all-time favorite salty-sweet combo snack; melt-in-your-mouth chocolate combined with the crunch of a pretzel is the stuff culinary legends are made of. For a pared-down version of this chocolate-dipped pretzel recipe, all you’ll need is a 12-ounce package of semisweet chocolate chips, a tablespoon of shortening, and your favorite brand of pretzel — preferably the larger-sized kind, so you can dip them more easily. If you want to get fancy, once the pretzels are dipped, dip them again in a plate of sprinkles or small candies like mini M&M’s.

Sweet-and-Salty Snack Mix (for the holidays)

When Land O’Lakes created this sweet-and-salty snack mix recipe, they were sure not to mention any other brand names. Luckily, I can tell what the generic descriptions of the ingredients are by looking at the photo. You’ll need Bugles corn snacks, a box of Wheat Chex, small pretzel twists, pecan halves, and festive M&M’s, among a few other kitchen staples, like corn syrup, salt, vanilla, and, yes, Land O’Lakes butter, to create this delicious mix. In total, you’ll get about 10 cups of salty-sweet mix.

Chocolate Turtle Sweet-and-Salty Snack

It’s interesting to see how creative people can be when they need something salty and sweet right away. This impromptu chocolate turtles recipe hardly takes any time at all, which probably means the recipe’s author needed her fix — and fast! To make this chocolate-caramel-pretzel treat in a jiff, place Rolo candies on mini pretzel twists and microwave for a few second until the chocolate is just soft. When you take the pretzels out, top them each with a pecan half. Quick and ingenious.

Sweet-and-Salty Caramel Snack Mix

No matter how you pronounce it, caramel is a silky-smooth confection that knows how to hit the spot. Your homemade version — using butter, brown sugar, Karo syrup, and vanilla — will be used to coat a mixture of graham cracker cereal (like Honey Grahams), honey roasted peanuts, salted cashews or macadamia nuts, and Pretzel M&M’s in this sweet-and-salty caramel snack mix recipe. Your mouth is watering already, isn’t it?

Have a sweet-and-salty snack recipe to share? Let the world know in the comments below.

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Meg Favreau's picture

I LOVE the sweet-and-salty combination. The last couple of batches of brownies I've made, I've added coarse instead of fine salt, so you get these great bursts of saltiness when you're eating them. Mmmm.

Julie Rains's picture

These are interesting -- I was thinking sweet and salty (2 types) and hadn't though of sweet and salty in the same dish. Looking forward to trying some of these.

As a side note, my son came home from school and told me that he and his classmates were tossing out ideas for unusual food combos for an article on fair (that is county fair/carnival-type) food. He came up with chocolate-covered hot wings, and then found out he has to actually make them and bring them to school for the article. Too bad he didn't see your post before then.

Mikey Rox's picture

While most salty sweet combos are delicious, I'm not sure I can advocate chocolate-covered hot wings. Good luck with those. :)

Guest's picture
Harm

But what is that in the picture? Those chocolate tart looking things?
That is what really has my mouth watering.......

Meg Favreau's picture

Sorry, Harm -- it was such a great image of sweet and salty that I couldn't resist using it! The recipe is here: http://www.sweetestkitchen.com/2010/10/salted-chocolate-and-caramel-tarts/

Guest's picture
Kathleen

Easy to toss together: chocolate chips, raisins, and peanuts. The raisins add nice, chewy texture!

Guest's picture

I make a dessert I call crack. My niece mentioned it to her teacher, which resulted in a parent-teacher conference for my brother.

1 cup of salted butter – $2
1 cup of brown sugar – $1
2 packs of saltines (That’s half of a box) – $2
2 bags of chocolate chips – $4
2 handfuls of toffee chips (broken Heath bars) – $1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cover two cookie sheets in foil. Spread crackers over each sheet in a single layer.

Mix the butter and sugar in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until it starts looking like caramel, then stir for another minute or two. You still want it kind of runny, so don’t let it get thick.

Spoon the caramel over the crackers. Get some on each cracker. Try to get it even, but don’t worry about it too much. Sloppy is good. Remember, half the caramel for each cookie sheet.

Put the cookie sheets full of crackers and caramel in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The caramel will spread out and flow through and around the crackers. You’ll know it’s done when the caramel starts bubbling evenly.

Pour one bag of chocolate chips over each pan. Try to spread it out evenly, but–again–don’t sweat it.

Go away for 10 minutes.

When you come back, the chocolate will be all melty-good. Spread it evenly with a rubber spatula.

Sprinkle some toffee chips over the chocolate, then put the pans in the freezer to cool and set. It will take at least a couple of hours.

When you pull the pans out, peel off the foil then break it up into snack-sized pieces. Don’t break it up first, or you’ll spend the evening moaning over the candy and crying over the foil hitting your fillings.

Depending on how long you cooked the caramel, it will get soft when it approaches room temperature. I always store it in the refrigerator to avoid that.

When you bring this to a party, always pack it two containers. When the first one is empty, you can auction off the second. You should be able to turn the $10 you spent on ingredients into at least $50 of guilt-ridden goodness.

http://liverealnow.net/crack/

Mikey Rox's picture

Haha. LOVE this anecdote - and the recipe. Thanks for sharing!