Spicy Tortilla Crisps with Queso Fundito from 'Salty Snacks'

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Spicy Tortilla Crisps with Queso Fundido [Photograph: Jennifer Martiné]

When it comes to game-day snacks, there are few people who will turn down chips and cheese dip (I'm pretty sure all of these folks are vegan anyhow). Even my friends who scoff at the concept of queso are known to sneak bites of the gooey stuff when they think no one is looking. It's not too hard to make either snack from scratch, but homemade versions are rarely more exciting than Tostitos.

Enter Cynthia Nims's new cookbook Salty Snacks. She elevates chips and queso just enough to turn heads, while still keeping the dish oozy and comforting. Instead of frying the chips (which you could do, I suppose), she coats them with chipotle chile powder (and salt) before baking until crisp and golden. And the queso? It's got a blend of melted jack and cheddar cheeses as well as softened scallions for a bit of bite and color.

Why I picked this recipe: Melted cheese and chips just screams game-day food, am I right?

What worked: Chipotle chile powder-laced tortilla chips is pretty genius (and so is Nims's hint to use a fine mesh strainer to evenly coat the tortillas).

What didn't: The queso is basically just a hot pot of melted cheese, so it will begin to solidify pretty quickly if it isn't served in a thick, insulated bowl. Even without the proper serving bowl, though, the quickly coagulating queso still tastes awesome.

Suggested tweaks: If the melty cheese situation bugs you, it'd be pretty easy to adapt Nims's recipe to work with Kenji's cheese sauce method.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Salty Snacks to give away.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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