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Every holiday season, my husband and I throw a cocktail party for a bunch of our friends. I love planning the menu, hand selecting each crafted cocktail, and preparing an assortment of appetizers. We threw our annual bash last Saturday night with the familiar offering of cheese plates, bacon wrapped dates, brown buttered sage crostini, and of course a selection of seasonal cocktails and beers. The dates and crostini were an especially nice way to add a seasonal flair to the party.

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Since our guests always end up spreading throughout our home, mingling in the kitchen, dining, and living rooms I like to place bowls of snack mix in easy to find places. The bar cart, entry console, and kitchen table are quick options that let people nosh wherever they are and not have to hoover in one area. This year I whipped up a festive mixture of candied pecans and dried cranberries that were scented with cinnamon and sugar. The mix looks especially fancy when placed in a champagne coupe or other decorative bowl you have around. It is so easy to make in large batches and in advance so all you have to do is enjoy snacking with your guests.

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Candied Pecans and Dried Cranberry Holiday Snack Mix

Ingredients:
1 cup pecans
1 tbsp butter
¼ cup sugar
¾ tsp cinnamon
Dried cranberries

Directions:
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add pecans, sugar and cinnamon. Stir constantly until the sugar melts and caramelizes. Watch the skillet closely so the pecans brown, but not no burn. Pour on to parchment paper to cool. If they stick together, they will break apart easily once cool. Mix pecans with dried cranberries and serve.

This holiday snack mix is great to put out at parties but can also be a perfect hostess gift. Simply place the mix in an airtight container, like a mason jar. Your hostess will love snacking on the mix and adding it to spinach salads.

Written and photographed by: Katie Williamsen

Katie Williamsen is the editor-in-chief of Twin Stripe Magazine, a lifestyle blog that highlights bright, graphic and eclectic moments. Read more of her fabulous blog here