Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spicy Nuts - a terrific recipe!

Every year, I try to put together a little box of treats for our neighbours.  The sweet items may change, but a favourite are the spicy nuts - which make it into the box every year.  This year, I am feeling like the baking gods have not been smiling on, I am keeping it simple, and the neighbours treat is going to be the spicy nuts, flying solo.  I often get asked for this recipe, and I hope you enjoy it!
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Spicy Nuts (makes 5 cups)
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1.5 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 0.5 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 5 cups unsalted nuts (I like to use a mix of almonds and cashews)
Heat oven to 300 degrees F.  Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. 
In a small bowl combine the salt, cayenne pepper, paprika and sugar, and set aside.
In a large bowl beat the egg white until foamy.  Mix in the spice mixture.  Stir in the nuts until coated (I find nice clean hands are the best tool for doing this!).  Spread nuts on the baking sheets in a single layer and bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F, rotate pans and bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove pans from oven and immediately spread nuts in a single layer on parchment paper, separating the nuts if any clusters have formed.  Set aside to cool.  Keeps for 1 week at room temp in an airtight container.

Note:  This recipe doubles well, but I wouldn't go much beyond that - it's hard to find a bowl big enough to mix the nuts with the spices!

Here are some pictures to help you along. Please note that these pictures were taken when
I was doing a double batch (I doubled the recipe)

Egg whites, nice and frothy, ready to add the spice mix.
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Once you add the spices, it goes kind of gloppy - don't worry, it'll spread.
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Nuts are all nicely coated (again, I think using your hands is the best way to mix it all together).
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Spread out in a single layer on the baking sheet.  I used my silpat instead of parchment, and it worked out just fine.
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As soon as they come out of the oven, be sure to spread them to cool on a sheet of parchment.  It's best to separate them while they are still warm.  Once they cool off they are stuck together for good.
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All ready for delivery to our neighbours!  I love the look of the decorative takeout boxes that I bought at Michael's - but I stopped using them because they are much bigger than they seem - and I didn't have enough nuts!
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