Click here to watch me make this recipe on the WCSH6 207 show, several years ago!
Vegetarian, Gluten Free
You need to make this recipe lickety split, so I’m going to make this quick.
It’s taken me over a week to get in the holiday swing of things after returning from a relaxing vacation on the hot and sunny island of Curacao where Christmas was the furthest thing from my mind.
I decided to ditch baking cookies this year. I did send a card though. My first in two years! Yay me. I still haven’t put up the tree (that’s tomorrow). But I have taken a bit of time to make this fabulous, addictive and spiced mixed nut recipe that I’ve been making forever. It’s so easy and delicious (I can’t stop eating it!) with just a gentle zing from the cayenne. Chances are most of the ingredients/equipment you have on hand (except the unsalted mixed nuts — most of us don’t have those hanging around). Just one quick stop at the grocery store and you can whip this up in no time.
Great for drinks, a party, or pop them in a mason jar, slap a bow on it and call it a gift. The original recipe is from the November 1984 issue of Bon Appetit (I’ve been making these for 30 years? Really? Wow). I haven’t changed it much except I swapped out the mace for nutmeg (since I always have that on hand) and I now use organic cane sugar, which to my taste-buds tastes ever so slightly less sweet. And, I bake them longer than the original recipe which produces a more caramelized version, which is even more delicious.
I use the roasted unsalted mixed nuts from the bulk aisle at Whole Foods. I like that combo best because unlike many other mixed nut products available, it is peanut free. Since I like my mix to contain a few more cashews (my favorite) as well as pecans, usually the mix I create is 10 ounces unsalted mixed nuts, 3 ounces roasted unsalted cashews and 3 ounces raw unsalted pecans. However, you can fiddle with this as you see fit – use any combination that pleases you – of almonds, macadamia, hazelnuts, cashews, pecans and the like. I also used up the rest of the roasted hazelnuts I had previously prepared in this recipe. But you can just buy one pound of mixed nuts and call it good. Notice that I keep mentioning unsalted – be sure not to purchase salted nuts! It’s easy to overlook that in any bulk aisle and the results will be way too salty.
When they first go in the oven, there will be lots of extra syrup in the pan:
After 75 minutes in the oven, they become caramelized and gently spiced with a little zing from cayenne:
However, don’t leave them in the pan to take a bunch of pics to post on Instagram. You will never get them off.
I speak from experience.
I hope your holidays are filled with plenty of good things to eat and plenty of nuts (of which not too many are family members)!
Merry Christmas all!
I received no compensation for this post, and opinions as always, are 100% mine.
- ⅓ cup granulated cane sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 pound unsalted, roasted mixed nuts
- Place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 250 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a slightly longer piece of foil, wrap overhang around rim of two shorter sides.
- In a 10-inch skillet whisk together sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne to combine. Place over medium low heat, add butter and juice and cook, stirring occasionally until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium, and cook stirring for 1 - 2 minutes; mixture will start to bubble, adjust heat if necessary, and cook just until the mixture thickens enough to coat a spoon. Immediately, remove from heat and add nuts, combine with a rubber spatula until nuts are thoroughly coated.
- Scrape mixture onto baking sheet, spread out in a single layer. Bake for 75 minutes, removing pan from oven every 15 minutes to stir/turn nuts over.
- When done, transfer nuts onto a large sheet of clean foil, spread into a single layer. Cool completely for an hour or longer, this allows nuts to dry out a bit. Of course, do this without snacking like crazy on them! Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.