Sunday, May 12, 2013

Spiced Party Nuts

May is devoted to quick party foods that you can put out for guests or bring to a friend's.  Last week: olives.  This week: nuts. 

Most recipes for roasted nuts involve a bit of egg white to help the seasonings bind to the nuts.  I wanted something a little less messy but with similar adherence results. 

I use a 50/50 mixture of maple syrup and canola oil as the base for my spice blend.  This is the blend used in our house granola.  Roasted at the right temperature for just the right amount of time, these nuts lose their stickiness and crisp up the way granola coated with syrup, oil and cinnamon does.

Any nut variety works or you can use all one type of nut.  If you are using pecans, which roast much faster than most other nuts separate them to roast separately then mix in with the larger batch once cooled. 

Here’s the recipe:

Spiced Party Nuts

Makes 2 cups
Ingredients
2 cups mixed nuts, unsalted & raw nuts work best
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon canola oil

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. 
  2. Spread nuts out onto a rimmed cookie sheet or roasting pan.  
  3. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl.  Taste—add more spices to suit your taste.  You and your friends might like more cayenne.  To sweeten add a pinch of table sugar.  
  4. Now, pour the spice coating over the nuts and toss to coat them very well.  
  5. Place nuts in oven and bake 10-12 minutes.  Use a spatula to turn/toss nuts midway through.  This will help prevent sticking.  
  6. Check the nuts after 10 minutes.  (Check pecans in 7-8 minutes.)  The nuts are ready when the coating has almost lost its stickiness.  As the nuts cool, the coating will continue to harden.  Store cooled nuts in an airtight container. 
Nuts may be prepared several days in advance, but hide them so loved ones don’t devour them before the party!