With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, we haven't had much need for party food lately. But as things begin to reopen and small gatherings are happening again, you may be looking for some kind of appetizer that's different from chips and dip. Consider crackers and cheese. No, not saltine crackers and Cheez Whiz, rather a recipe offering a little something different to do with Ritz crackers.
I found this recipe online when I, too, was looking for something a little different to serve at a gathering of friends not too terribly long ago. I was drawn to it primarily because of its simplicity. It's something that should be made a day ahead, giving the crackers plenty of time to cool and allowing time for the dip ingredients to marry.
Before baking, the Ritz crackers are tossed in melted butter, to which have been added poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried minced onion and garlic. The recipe didn't call for it, but I also added just a little salt to help boost the flavor since I use unsalted butter.
The crackers will be done in a very fast 10 minutes, but they should be turned halfway through baking, which does present a problem. It takes a little time to turn two sleeves of crackers on a cookie sheet without a few flipping out into the oven. The best way to do it is with tongs and a spatula.
The dip was a simple but very good blend of cream cheese with a little milk and some green onions. Altogether, this turned out to be a tasty idea that will feed quite a few people if you happen to have a small soiree at your home this summer. Or pack it and take it with you if you're in need of an easy, portable appetizer to share. And, of course, you don't have to use the Ritz brand. I did because they were on sale. Generic, store-brand Ritz-type crackers are fine.
Everything Ritz Crackers and Dip
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
4 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons dried minced garlic (or garlic powder)
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons whole or evaporated milk
2 sliced green onions, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
Paprika, to taste (optional)
Make the crackers: Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the butter, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced garlic and minced onion. Add the Ritz and toss to evenly coat.
Arrange the Ritz in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, flipping each cracker halfway through until golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the dip: In a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese and milk until smooth. Stir in the green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with more green onions and a sprinkle of paprika, if desired, and serve with crackers.
Email Anne Braly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @annebraly.