Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pepper Jelly & Cream Cheese Rangoon

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Um...yeah! That's what we have to say about these. The best thing about cooking is being able to combine a few simple ingredients and come up with a dish that is somehow greater than the sum of its parts. This appetizer does just that.

In the South, we love our pepper jelly especially in the wintertime when the abundance of hot peppers from our gardens is just a distant memory. This takes us back to summer days of high humidity, fresh air, and summer sun. The sweet-hot jelly is tempered by the cream cheese. Don't get too anxious to eat these right away; they need to cool or you'll surely burn your little mouth.

12 wonton wrappers
6 to 8 teaspoons cream cheese
6 to 8 teaspoons Sambal Pepper Jelly
1 tablespoon olive oil
Maldon sea salt (to taste)
Cracked black pepper (to taste)
Chopped chives (to garnish)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees*. On a large, rimmed, parchment-lined baking sheet, lay out the 12 wonton wrappers. Into the center of each, place about 1/2 teaspoon each of cream cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of Sambal Pepper Jelly. With a small bowl of water at the ready, dip your finger in the water and run it along 2 sides of the wonton wrapper. Fold wonton into a triangle and press the edges together to seal. Repeat. Brush the tops of the folded wontons with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, flip each using kitchen tongs, and bake another 10 minutes or until brown and crispy. Allow them to cool for at least 5 minutes so you don't burn your mouth. Garnish with chopped chives and serve.

*Alternately, pan fry them over medium-high heat in about 1/4 inch of canola oil for 2 to 3 minutes per side. This will yield a puffier rangoon. (Serves 2 to 4 as an appetizer.)