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Big Sky Bites: EBS’s favorite (and easy) holiday treats

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The end of the year brings with it the magical feeling of holiday wonder. Snow blankets the ground, string lights illuminate houses and trees, and we gather with loved ones to eat, drink and be merry. The holiday season also brings parties, shopping for everyone you’ve ever met, end-of-year work stress, a fully packed schedule and an overall lack of daylight. Let’s face it: the holidays are wonderful but also exhausting. 

To help you brave the craziness that is December, EBS staff members have each provided a festive treat that can be thrown together in the event you need a quick treat to bring to any holiday get-together. (Or to eat by yourself, we don’t judge.)

Jason Bacaj’s “reality check”

I have to come clean: By no means do I have any culinary talent. I am an enthusiastic and adventurous eater but have a ways to go in developing any recipes worth sharing with friends and family. Three months ago I owned one pot and one pan, so my quick and easy holiday contribution is simply to buy a pie from a local bakery. I highly recommend leaning on the expertise of others. If such moves are frowned upon in your circles, though, I recommend the classic holiday drink, the alpine—hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps.

Julia Barton’s “fancy popcorn”

Popcorn is a great snack any time of the year. It’s easy to make, tastes good and, most importantly, very customizable. My “fancy popcorn” transforms a pretty average snack into something that looks thoughtful and tastes amazing. All you need is your plain microwave popcorn of choice, some chocolate and a candy cane or two. 

To make it, spread your popped popcorn on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, making sure to pause and stir frequently, and drizzle over the popcorn. Before the chocolate dries, sprinkle a crushed candy cane on top. Voilà, fancy popcorn. If you’re feeling extra festive, you can add in some colorful sprinkles or M&M’s, even colored chocolate—have fun with it and enjoy the holidays!

Jack Reaney’s mom’s secret winter snack

The winter air hangs cold and empty in my lifeless apartment. Having learned from my brilliant mother, I take immediate action and visit my local grocer. I acquire Snyder’s Butter Snaps, those salty 3×4 pretzel grids, and the candy called “Rolo.” When inflation ceases, I will acquire pecans. Until then: peanuts. I return home.

As my oven warms to 200°F, I lay pretzels on parchment paper in a sheet pan. Each pretzel is topped with a Rolo, and each Rolo with a nut. I gently place the pan in the oven for 10 minutes, then delicately remove my melting delicacies.

The savory chocolate, caramel and nut combine with the salty crunch of pretzel. My apartment is warm again.

Leslie Kilgore’s chocolate covered strawberries

I love making chocolate covered strawberries around the holidays. It’s a great gift for friends too, wrapped in festive paper. Just melt some of your favorite chocolate in a double boiler on low, stirring constantly, add a bit of milk, then dip your strawberries (preferably with good stems) in the chocolate and let them set on a baking sheet with parchment paper for about an hour. Wrap the dipped strawberries in paper with some ribbon once the chocolate is hard and they are ready to go!

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