I’m a big fan of consumable gifts – they feel special, personal. Particularly this Christmas, as I enter my sixth month of unemployment, my gift list features treats like homemade baked goods, evenings out, dinners in – pleasures that can be used up or eaten. (Except for Mom and Handsome Greg, who will each receive a Lexus with a big, red bow. Shh! Don’t tell!)
Tied with a considerably smaller red bow, a jar of sweet and spicy nuts makes a lovely holiday gift. Or bake up a batch to start off a Christmas party, and your guests will be greeted at the door with a sweet, warm, cinnamon-y aroma sure to make their hearts grow three sizes that day.
I first spotted this recipe on my very favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen, and I made a couple of teensy changes from her preparation. They are positively addictive, with a flawless balance of sweetness, salt, and heat. I’ve made them for countless occasions and they’re devoured in no time. They also add a flavorful crunch atop salads.
Continue reading for the Sweet and Spicy Almonds and Pecans recipe
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- Heaping ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pound pecan halves and almonds
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the sugars, salt, and spices in a small bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg white with the water until frothy. Stir in the nuts and coat them evenly in the egg. Sprinkle the nuts with the spice mixture, and toss until evenly coated.
- Spread the nuts in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, stirring to separate nuts as they cool. When they’re cool enough to handle, break up any nut clusters stuck together.