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Party Goods Part 1: Will Bark For Nuts

December 30, 2011

We’re invited to a little celebration with friends for New Year’s and it’s just the kind of party I like: appetizers and desserts. I decided to go a little sweet and a little spicy with mixed nuts as well as a sweet treat (hold onto your party hats for Part 2 of this post).

Oh Nuts!

If you go online, there are tons of spicy nuts out there. Most are way too sweet and some like it really hot… my Novio and I provide most of the heat in this house (Kitty sometimes pitches in) so we don’t need a whole lot of extra.

I played around with the version I’m sharing here (and taking to the party… if you’re going to the party too, stop reading now if you want to be surprised) and also added a bonus.

The variations are infinite but there is a basic technique. There’s usually a little fat involved to coat the nuts. I use canola oil, others use butter or a combo. I’ve also seen recipes where the nuts are coated in egg white (haven’t tried it and I might). Seasonings are then added.

a little sweet, a little spicy, a little salty

Some people toast the nuts in a heavy skillet. Most spread the nuts in a single layer and bake in the oven. That’s my nutsy M.O.

I can’t resist

If you have a favorite version, please share. Our bb readers and I will be very grateful. Have a wonderful New Year… a little sweet, a little spicy.



2 c. raw unsalted cashews
2 c. raw pecan halves
1 c. whole raw almonds
2 T. canola or safflower oil
3 T. maple syrup (the good stuff)
2 T. light brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. Spanish sweet smoked paprika (really rounds out the flavor)
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
2 T. minced fresh rosemary (or 1 T. minced dried rosemary)
1-2 t. sea salt or kosher salt


Pre-heat oven to 350°. Roast the nuts for 5 minutes on a large sheet pan. Slide warm nuts into a large mixing bowl and combine with all ingredients, saving half the rosemary and half the salt for later. Line the sheet pan with parchment paper or coat with oil spray.

Spread the nuts in one layer (you may need 2 pans).Roast the nuts for about 20 minutes, stirring twice with a large spatula, until nuts are glazed and golden brown. Sprinkle on remaining rosemary  and salt  – toss well (don’t forget the second sprinkling of salt- it really adds to the flavor).

Cool, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. The nuts keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

bb tip: I use a Spanish paprika that’s called El Rey de la Vera. It’s worth looking for. Another possibility is subbing with 1/2 t. chipotle powder.

Try switching dried thyme for the rosemary or deleting the herb altogether. The main thing is including something sweet, something spicy and some salt (a sea salt or kosher salt – regular table salt has a slight aftertaste)

You can use other nuts as well: walnut halves or whole hazelnuts (hazelnuts  are delicious but they need to be skinned and I don’t have patience for that). Pecans are a slightly softer nut and are so delicious but slightly temperamental.



2 c. shelled unsalted pistachios (available in many markets)
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. canola oil
1 T. curry powder
1 t. Garam Masala (savory Indian seasoning – good stuff)
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 – 1/2 t. sea salt (taste first with less, salt more if needed)


Pre-heat oven to 350°. Roast pistachios for 5 minutes until just fragrant. Toss the warm nuts in a bowl with lemon juice, oil, and seasonings. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (use a rimmed pan – don’t lose your nuts!), spread in a single layer and bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring once until fragrant and just browned. Don’t leave the kitchen after stirring… it may take only a couple more minutes. Let your nose be your guide.

Spicy Mixed Nuts

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