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Super-Fast Sweet 'n’ Salty Snacks

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My friend Beth could easily be the next Martha Stewart, though a sassier, hipper version. Saturday night she threw a perfectly executed Christmas party with spiked apple cider, mistletoe and a tree that looked like it stepped out of the Williams-Sonoma catalogue. The only thing missing was the Christmas music (her husband insists on James Taylor).    

Always on-trend, she had a red cast-iron fondue pot bubbling with Gruyère (Apparently fondue is making a comeback. In our January 2008 isssue, you’ll find the luscious version that chef Ryan Hardy serves on New Year’s day.) and a table full of tasty appetizers. I’m always impressed with the delicious, super-simple snacks she comes up with. The biggest hit at the party were addictive, bite-size chocolate-pretzel sandwiches. I couldn’t keep my hand out of the bowl and I couldn’t believe how easy they are to make. The recipe:

Take Snyder’s of Hanover square pretzel snaps and place a Hershey’s Kiss (Beth used the peanut butter-filled and caramel-filled Kisses) on top of each pretzel. Warm it in the oven until the Kisses are slightly melted, then place another pretzel snap on top and sandwich them together. They’re great (but messy!) right out of the oven, but just as delicious if you let them cool and then serve.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.