Popcorn, nachos, pretzels, and chocolate are all standard movie-watching staples, but who would serve such plebeian fare at an awards party? We would – with an upscale twist, of course. Behold, a gourmet popcorn bar, individual nacho chips with delectable fillings, plus elegant pretzel sticks robed in rich dark and white chocolate. Adding a touch of formality to your food is appropriate for an awards party – it is a black-tie affair, after all.
Popcorn with Panache: Fresh popcorn gets the red carpet-treatment with couture flavorings and a chic presentation.
Some like it hot: Lightly sprinkle cayenne pepper, white pepper, and black pepper over hot, buttered popcorn to taste, shaking gently to distribute.
Some like it sweet: Toss hot kettle corn with chocolate chips and miniature marshmallows, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Let cool before serving.
Some like it savory: Sprinkle hot, lightly buttered popcorn generously with grated Parmesan cheese and shake gently to distribute.
TO SERVE: Twist decorative paper into cones and secure with tape. Alternate popcorn flavors in cones, and then group cones together in a decorative vessel (such as an ice bucket, shown here), or prop individually in elegant bowls or vases.
Epicurean Nacho Bites: A movie-theater favorite dresses up and sizes down into individual servings fit for a swish party.
Mediterranean Nachos: Slice whole-wheat pita pockets into chip-sized triangles. Arrange on baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Place in a 400-degree oven for approximately five minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Place 4-5 pita chips into an aluminum-foil baking cup (jumbo-size). In a bowl, mix plain Greek yogurt with feta crumbles to taste. Add torn mint leaves, sprinkle with lemon juice, and stir. Top chips with yogurt-cheese mixture, and crown with diced cucumbers and tomatoes. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint.
Fiesta Nachos: Arrange individual tortilla scoops on baking sheet, and fill with refried beans, grated cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, and green chilies. Bake at 400 degrees for until cheese has melted (approximately five minutes). Arrange on tray and top with a dollop of sour cream followed by diced avocado, mango, and pineapple. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Black-Tie Pretzel Rods: Amp up par-for-the-course pretzels and chocolate by combining the two and rolling in sweet, chic toppings. Pour your choice of black and white candy baking sprinkles onto individual plates. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. In the microwave, melt dark chocolate and white chocolate in separate bowls (we used candy melts from our local craft store). Be sure to stir chocolate frequently to prevent scorching. Dip pretzel rods into chocolate, allowing excess to drip into bowl, then roll in sprinkles before placing on parchment paper to cool. Allow chocolate to set before serving.
Recipes and photos by Kelly Lee
NEXT: Check out more awards show party ideas!