Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tasty Tuesdays: Spiced Nuts

Two years ago I hosted my first Thanksgiving ever! My in-laws and my brothers in law stayed with us and I made a feast. To prove that I am indeed a CPA, I created an excel schedule that started at the time we planned to eat and backed into the times I needed to start each dish. It's a bit OCD, I realize, but you don't want to prepare the turkey day meal that people still talk about years down the line as "the one where we had to order pizza b/c the turkey burned and the stuffing was dry." Anyway, I was looking for an easy to prepare snack that I could keep around the house to feed the masses while I was cooking. I thought about passed appetizers, but I didn't want to have to prepare basically two meals in one day. I thought about a cheese board, but Thanksgiving dinner for ten people gets pricey so I wasn't looking to spend $80 on cheeses from around the world. And that's when I decided to make EMERIL'S spiced nuts!

I find that sometimes the smell a certain dish creates doesn't always live up to how it tastes. For me it's movie popcorn and the roasted nuts that you can get at sports venues. The smell of those foods makes my mouth water, but in the end I always walk away disappointed and wished I had just gotten peanut M&Ms instead. Well, these nuts will not fall into this category!!

The combination of the brown sugar, cinnamon, cumin, and red pepper is amazing! These nuts are sweet and spicy and salty all in one. Your guests will continue eating them just to try to figure out what flavors they are tasting. I recommend a mix of pecans and walnuts because they hold up nicely. I like to prepare them about ten minutes before people are set to arrive. This allows the brown sugar enough time to glaze, but it also ensures that the nuts are still warm and toasty.

Not only do they make a great snack, but they are also a perfect hostess gift. You could certainly chop up the mix and add it to a batch of cooked rice. To cook the rice, add 1 tbsp of butter to a hot skillet. Add two cloves of pressed garlic and brown. Add rice and cook for one minute, then boil as normal. When done, add chopped nuts. You could also add them to a salad. They work well with a pepper jelly vinaigrette! They are versatile enough in flavor to add that extra kick to any ordinary dish.

Easy as pie and tasty too. The perfect recipe for a perfect snack!

Bam! (I had to do it!!)

EMERIL'S Spiced Nuts

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups unsalted mixed nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and almonds
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Mix spices and reserve.
Heat the nuts in a dry skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to toast, about 4 minutes. Add the butter and cook, stirring, until the nuts begin to darken, about 1 minute. Add the spices, the sugar, 1 tablespoon water, and the salt and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens and the nuts are glazed, about 5 minutes.
Remove the nuts from the heat and transfer to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, separating them with a fork. Let the nuts stand until cooled and the sugar has hardened, about 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container.


  1. You are a fantastic blogger!!! I am inspired to blog more. And I love the Bib necklace!

  2. I was going to ask for that recipe! I can just taste them now...




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