SWEET & SPICY ROASTED MIXED NUTS
Thanksgiving is knockin’ on my door and I’m jazzed. I really like this time of year because fall is in the air big time up here in these here hills.
Before moving to Lake Arrowhead, I had never experienced living in the 4 seasons. As a California native, and as what us mountain folk call a “flatlander” for most of my life, I only knew one season; NICE. In the “flatlands” of Southern California it is nice in the Spring, but really, it looks like Spring all year round.
Then it is nice in the summer when it gets a little warmer, but it really never gets too hot, and it is never humid and muggy like east coast summers.
In fall in Southern California, the palm trees don’t loose their leaves so I never really knew what people meant when they spoke of “the changing of the leaves.”
In the dead of winter in California we still go to the beach. We just wear a sweater instead of a bikini.
So, as a Southern Californian, if I wanted to experience winter I had to drive to the mountains.
In my case, I drove to Lake Arrowhead to experience winter. I drove to Lake Arrowhead most of my life until finally I moved to Lake Arrowhead. Now, instead of driving to Lake Arrowhead, I mostly just hang around in Lake Arrowhead. It’s really nice up here in the fall. You oughta’ come visit.
When flatlanders come visit me in the fal,l it is usually for Thanksgiving Dinner and they can usually count on me serving them some of my Sweet & Spicy Roasted Mixed Nuts, along with Grandma Nellie’s Cranberry Relish as a precursor to the Thanksgiving Dinner to come.
I make a big-old-batch of these yummy nuts and keep um handy to serve to folks who might stop in for a visit. That’s because up here in Lake Arrowhead we’ve got 4 seasons and people come and visit!
I’ll be makin’ another big-old-batch of these nuts real soon, and since they are so yummy, I’ll share my recipe with you. So, lets get started. First off, go and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Now, get yourself a medium sized bowl. Into the bowl add 2 Cups Sugar in the Raw, Turbinado style sugar. “What is Turbinado Sugar you say?” Well, it is a minimally refined sugar made from the molasses from sugarcane. Because of the molasses, this crystalized sugar has a distinctive flavor and texture and is golden brown in color. Some people say it is healthier than heavily refined white sugar. So, be sure to use this type of sugar in this recipe. You should be able to find it at your local grocery store as it is not really too exotic. Granulated white sugar will give you an entirely different result, so pretty please, do not use it today, OK?
To the Turbinado sugar add 3 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 -1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Mix it all up real good.
Next, get yourself a small saucepan (like the one on the left) and a whisk. To the saucepan add 2 Cups Honey and 4 Tablespoons Water. Warm, do not boil, the honey and water as you mix it together with the whisk. Once it is thoroughly incorporated set it aside to cool.
Now, before I go any further, I’d like to mention that I love nuts! I love them so much that I use a lot of nuts in a lot of recipes. So, since I love nuts so much, I buy them at Costco in big-old 3 pound bags. And because nuts are chock- full of healthy unsaturated fat, nuts are subject to going rancid rather quickly. To keep my nuts fresh and tasty and on hand at all times, I store them in the freezer. You should too. So, as I was saying, you will need 1 Pound Pecan Halves, 1 Pound Walnuts and 1 Pound Whole Almonds. Throw the nuts into a big-old-bowl. Now, grab your cooled honey and water mixture and pour it on top of the nuts. Toss them around real good until the nuts are thoroughly coated and no honey syrup remains at the bottom of the bowl.
Next, get your spicy sugar mixture and throw 1 1/2 Cups of it on top of the nuts that are in the big-old-bowl. Reserve the remaining 1/2 Cup of sugar for later. Toss them around quickly and thoroughly (I seem to be using the word thoroughly a lot, but it is important that you be thorough) until all those fine and tasty nuts are thoroughly coated with the sugar mixture. Am I being thorough enough?
The next step is to spread the nut mixture onto two large, oiled baking sheets. You might want to line those baking sheets with parchment paper too. I’m not always smart enough to remember to do so. Now, stick your baking sheets into your preheated oven and set your timer for 5 minutes. After five minutes take the pans out of the oven and separate the nuts using a wooden spoon. You will need to do this several more times because as the sugar begins to melt, the nuts will want to clump together and we don’t want that. Set your timer for another 5 minutes and once again stir the nuts to separate. Repeat this process until the nuts are golden brown. Be sure to use your handy-dandy kitchen timer because you don’t want to burn your nuts. Burnt nuts are nobody’s friend.
See how my nuts are getting golden brown? Thats what you are shooting for. Once they are golden and toasted and wonderful looking, take them out of the oven and real quick like throw them back into your big old bowl. While the nuts are still piping hot, quickly toss in the remaining 1/2 Cup sugar mixture and mix them up, coating your lovely nuts with lovely, crunchy, crystallized sugar and spice.
Once they are cooled, you can put them in a pretty bowl and serve them with cocktails before your Thanksgiving dinner. In the meantime, however, you will want to eat yourself a big handful of them ’cause they are real yummy. And because this recipe makes a whole, heaping big bowl of them you’ll have enough to serve when friends pay you a visit.
Or, they make a really nice hostess gift if you get invited to somebody else’s house. And, after all that, if you happen to have any Sweet & Spicy Roasted Mixed Nuts leftover they freeze up real nice in an airtight container and keep for weeks in the freezer.
Make um. You’ll be glad you did! Then, let me know how you liked um.
- 2 Cups Honey
- 4 Tablespoons Water
- 1 Pound Raw Pecan Halves
- 1 Pound Raw Walnut Halves
- 1 Pound Raw Whole Almonds
- 2 Cups Turbinado Sugar in the Raw
- 3 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
- 1-1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- ½ Teaspoon Ground Cloves
- ½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1-1/2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Warm honey and water in a saucepan. Do not allow to boil. Mix well and cool to room temperature.
- In a medium bowl combine Turbinado sugar with the spices.
- In a large mixing bowl combine honey syrup with nuts. Toss well until nuts are thoroughly coated.
- Reserving ½ cup of sugar mixture for later, quickly toss nuts with sugar & spice mixture.
- Spread nuts onto two large baking sheets that have been lined in parchment paper.
- Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and separate nuts using a spoon.
- Repeat this process every few minutes until nuts become toasted golden brown.
- Remove from oven and quickly return nuts to a large bowl and sprinkle in remaining ½ cup sugar/spice mixture. Toss to thoroughly coat nuts.
- Cool and enjoy!
All opinions expressed in this post are my own. All photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission.