Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

Nuts are our ingredient of the season. We’ve been using them for sweetsdrinkssnack bars and savory condiments!

With summer approaching I began fantasizing about the hiking, camping, and other outside fun that we’re going to have. I also started thinking about snack ideas for those adventures, and having nuts on hand are a great, healthy option, but to keep things interesting, I like to swap out basic roasted nuts for this sweet and spicy option. A bag of roasted or spiced nuts holds up much better than our favorite fruit and nut snack bars, when stuffed into a pack, but those snack bars do make a great fast breakfast when you’re running out the door to get an early start on that hike!

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This is a super simple and fast recipe that uses only a handful of ingredients. You can begin with a pound of any nut or mixture of nuts that you like. I used equal parts pecans, walnuts, and almonds in this batch. The nuts get their sweetness from honey (raw and local, hopefully!) and some sugar, and they get their spice from cayenne pepper.

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As with most of our recipes, this one is easily adaptable, and we encourage you to tailor the levels of sweet and spice to your preferences. I found the original recipe in Food & Wine. It called for 3/4 tsp of cayenne pepper, but knowing that I wanted to be able to share these with Little A, I lowered that to 1/2 tsp. With less heat, I decided to lower the recommended sugar and ended up halving it from 1/4 to 1/8 of a cup. Looking for other ways to personalize this recipe? Try different spices or combinations of spices!

Spiced Nuts

Spiced Nuts

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound raw nuts
  • ~1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the honey with the cayenne pepper. Add the nuts and stir to coat.
  3. Spread the nuts in a single layer on the baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, add the sugar and salt, and stir to coat.
  4. Cool completely and then store in an airtight container.
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That’s it! They are so incredibly easy to make and are a great portable snack that will keep you feeling full and happy while you’re out trekking. But that’s not their only use! These are a great treat to put out when you have friends over, and they’re perfect for staving off the late afternoon hunger pains when you know dinner is only an hour away.

How did Alex like them? He LOVED them! He’s been slow to like spicy foods, but it seems that he’s turned a corner and really enjoys something like this with just a hint of spice.

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He also loves to share. Would you like a nut? or two? or three? 
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And, I’m slightly embarrassed to say that within a week, this jar of nuts was gone! I think we’re going to make quite a few batches this summer, so if you come up with an alternate spice combination that you like, we would love to hear about it!

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