Spiced nuts are frequently my contribution to holiday parties and family gatherings. They are easy and tasty, and people gobble them up. Even people who weren't planning on eating at a party can't resist a handful of these. In that past I've made spiced pecans, but this time I used a recipe for spiced mixed nuts. They were easy to make and called for pantry items. In a rare fit of fussiness I even measured all of the ingredients. The only problem I ran into was that they cemented themselves to the cookie sheet once cooled. The recipe says to grease the pan, and I did, but apparently not enough. Next time I will douse the baking sheet in oil. After some scraping and breaking and bits of nuts all over my kitchen, the nuts were neatly packaged to take to my family holiday party. They were a hit there, naturally.
Sweet Spiced Nuts from Simple Suppers by the Moosewood Collective
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of cayenne (I used chili powder)
3 cups shelled nuts (I used cashews, pecans, pistachios, and almonds)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the hell out of a rimmed baking sheet.
Combine sugar, 1/4 cup water, and spices in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and stir constantly until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add nuts, mixing well to evenly coat nuts in syrup. Remove nuts with a slotted spoon and spread them on prepared baking sheet.
Bake until browned, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once (mine took longer to brown). After you've taken them out of the oven, stir again to break up clusters. Allow nuts to cool before serving.