One of my favorites were Cheddar Cheese Rounds, from the same magazine. These also had a back burn which cut through the richness of ground pecans, extra sharp cheddar cheese, and creamy sweet butter. They are flakey and crumbly. One hint, though: Label them. Everyone thought they were some kind of weird cookie, and didn't try them without prompting. Live and learn.
Normally, I cringe at the thought of Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Too often, it's a gloppy, greasy, mayonnaise-tasting mess. Same magazine again--great recipe. The rich artichokes and spinach nicely balance a Parmesan cream sauce. Diagonally sliced mini-baguettes made the perfect dipper.
There was definitely a hot and spicy theme going on with the Honey-Chipotle Glazed Pecans as another appetizer offering. These go together in a snap. First, they take a bath in honey warmed with ground chipotle powder and cinnamon. They bake for about 10 minutes before showering in a mixture of sugar and salt. After a litlte drying time, they are ready to eat.
I'll come back later with some of the vegetarian/vegan foods we've been eating, as well as the results of our upcoming four-generation baking day. In the meantime, I hope you are able to live in the joy of the holiday spirit and focus on what matters. A blessed holiday to all of you.