As the Boston Globe reports, cheese and crackers have long been a favorite snack, with the first modern crackers, named for the sound they make when eaten, invented in 1801 by Josiah Bent of Milton, whose factory is still making them today. They began to appear on menus alongside cheese as a “fashionable after-dessert to end dinner,” and during the Civil War, they were the perfect ration for troops.
But what can you do to fancy this classic up?
Pepper Jelly and Cream Cheese
It’s easy to change up the same ‘ol boring cream cheese simply by adding pepper jelly for a tasty cracker dip. Turning up the heat makes it an especially satisfying, sweet, and spicy appetizer. Pepper jelly dip is quick and easy to put together for a last-minute party, and it takes less than 10 minutes to make. All you need is your favorite crackers (wheat crackers go great with this), softened cream cheese, and some pepper jelly – place it all into an electric mixer and beat until smooth.
The Fancy Brunch Appetizer
Put together a bagel-like appetizer by using plain yogurt or cream cheese, smoked salmon, cracked black pepper, and fresh dill on top of crackers. Using cream cheese will make it taste more like a bagel. You can add a bit of cucumber, too, but it’s totally optional.
Nutty Cheddar and Apple Slices
Add a sweet taste and a nutty crunch to the typical cheese and crackers by spreading on a dollop of almond butter, a bit of thinly sliced cheddar, and thin slices of a sweet apple-like Fuji. Finish it off by adding a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Smoked Salmon, Pesto, and Cherry Tomato
To make this upscale appetizer, add a bit of smoked salmon onto each cracker, followed by a small spoonful of pesto sauce, and then top with sliced cherry tomatoes.
Yogurt Cheese, Chicken, and Grapes
Using yogurt cheese rather than plain yogurt makes for a thicker consistency that’s easier to put onto a cracker, and it’s really easy to make. Afterwards, you can add some dried or fresh herbs for extra flavor.
To make the yogurt cheese, place a double layer of cheesecloth into a strainer like a colander and then place that over a bowl. Pour yogurt into the cheesecloth and cover the strainer with plastic wrap. Place it into the refrigerator for six to 12 hours to drain, and then it will be ready to use. Now add a bit of chicken onto each cracker, followed by a spoonful of yogurt cheese and sliced grapes.
For a kid-friendly appetizer, stack crackers with banana slices and peanut butter. If you want to make it extra special, use chocolate-hazelnut spread instead of peanut butter. Just be aware that this one is irresistible for the adults too.
A Mini BLT
A crowd-pleaser and the perfect way to satisfy BLT cravings, add a dollop of mayo to each cracker, and then stack them high with layers of bacon, tomato, romaine lettuce, and Swiss cheese.
Using canned chicken that’s been drained, create a “bed” of chicken on each cracker and then add a spoonful of your favorite salsa (draining out any extra liquid). Top with fresh or dried herbs like cilantro or oregano.