We are in the final countdown now… Just a few more days until Christmas. Thankfully my shopping and wrapping are mostly done, so now I’m working on the food gifts. One of those is my staple holiday spiced nuts.
The first thing my daughter always asked upon returning home from college was, “when are we making the nuts?” – it’s one of those mandatory parts of our holidays.
I make vats of these nuts every year to gift to family, friends and neighbors. This year is no different. Yesterday, I had two ovens cranked up and multiple tupperware storage containers to collect the finished product. I wish you could have seen it. It was like a well-choreographed ballet. I flowed from one task to another, batch to batch… until…
I had more nuts than I had spice. On the last batch I ran out of powdered ginger. I had no choice but to improvise.
I scrabbled through the pantry and found curry powder and coconut — a classic flavor combination, right? So on my last batch, I threw together an entirely new mix and it was phenomenal. So much so that I’m kicking myself because I only have 6 cups of curried coconut cocktail nuts and 30 cups of the other. Well, I know what I’ll be making next Christmas.
- 2 teaspoons curry powder (you can use sweet or hot or a combo of the two)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- 6 cups nuts (pecans, cashews, walnuts, almonds or a mixture of all)
- 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a small bowl combine the curry, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, salt and sugar -- whisk to combine.
- Add the egg white and water to a large bowl and whisk vigorously until the egg mixture is light and frothy. Add the nuts to the egg and fold them into the egg white until the nuts are well coated. The nuts should be tacky with the egg white, but not soaking in them. If there's noticeable liquid in the bottom of the bowl, add more nuts and continue to fold until they are all well coated.
- Add the spice mixture to the nuts and use a spatula to toss them until the nuts are well coated.
- Divide the nuts between the two baking sheets, arranging in a single layer and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pans from the oven and divide the coconut between the two pans of nuts. Use a spatula to stir and flip the nuts and coat them with the coconut. Arrange in a single layer and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove nuts from the oven and cool to room temperature on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container.
- I like to gift spiced nuts at the holidays because they're festive and the perfect nibble with a cocktail or glass of wine. I find pretty, inexpensive jars at TJ Maxx, fill them with nuts and dress them up with a ribbon. It's an easy and thoughtful gift.