Sweet and Spicy Nuts are sweet and spicy all at the same time. Easy to prepare, a joy to give as gifts, or just to eat yourself.
Behind the scenes in making Sweet and Spicy Nuts
Extra Extra, read all about it…nuts are healthy.
It's everywhere these days. Study upon study shows the health benefits of eating tree nuts, nuts such as cashews, pistachio, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, even peanuts, although they are technically a legume. While nuts have a high-fat percentage, the health benefit of eating nuts include lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, reducing your risk of developing blood clots, and seem to improve the lining of your arteries. These are all good things. Studies also found that people who eat nuts tend to be slimmer which is an odd disconnect since nuts are so full of fat. The thought is that people who eat nuts generally live a healthier lifestyle and eat nuts instead of other high-fat high-calorie snacks such as potato chips, and we all know there is no health benefit in potato chips. There is a great article on the benefits of eating nuts on the MayoClinic website if you want to know more about why you should eat more nuts.
When I was little we always had nuts around the house, raw, in the shell. When you wanted a nut snack, you had to get the nutcracker out and opened them up. It was slow and messy work and would definitely keep you from overindulging. My grandparents had both walnut and almond trees on their farm, so we would go there to help pick them. While we stayed with them my grandma would make a special treat for us by frying the raw almonds in oil and putting salt on them. Having only raw ones at home, this was a treat indeed!
I personally love nuts. Generally, I eat them dry roasted and salted.
A while ago I was given the task to come up with a spiced nut mixture that would make a good gift. So I took it to the task and after some trial and error in my methods of preparation, came up with these, easy to prepare nuts that are both sweet and spicy. These nuts would make a perfect hostess gift, a gift from your kitchen, and a great party snack. Just be careful, I've been told they are addicting.
Sweet and Spicy Nuts
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup granulated sugar divided
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon all-spice
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne I used ½ teaspoon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 4 cups raw mixed nuts almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pecans work well
- Heat the oven to 325º F. In a large bowl, toss the nuts with 1 tablespoon olive oil; spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and roasted, about 15 to 20 minutes. When toasted return to the bowl.
- While the nuts are baking, in a small bowl combine ¼ cup of the granulated sugar along with the salt, cinnamon, all-spice, cloves, cayenne, and ginger. Mix well and set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine ¼ cup olive oil, the remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar. Stir until well combined then cook and stir for 3 - 5 minutes. Add the water all at once and stir vigorously to combine. Pour over nuts and stir quickly to cover all the nuts in the mixture. Pour the spice mixture into the bowl and stir to coat all the nuts. Pour onto a baking sheet that has been lined with a piece of aluminum foil, spreading and breaking up any clumps. Allow to cool. Keep in an airtight container.
I think I'd be heavy handed with the cayenne, too. Look delicious. I'm pinning these for our Christmas gathering.