I realize that we are in between “party season,” but do you really need a reason to throw a party? According to Webster’s, a party is defined simply as a social gathering. There is nothing in there regarding a minimum number of people or required occasion for having a party. So there’s no excuse not to make up a batch of these sweet and salty spiced nuts and have a party snack anytime.
I realize that for some people, myself included, there might not be a more addicting food item to have around the house than a bowl of mixed nuts. And by mixed nuts, I am not referring to family members, I am referring to those crunchy and edible little things like pecans, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts and Brazil nuts. If I’ve got these in the house, I just can’t resist nibbling away on them. I pretty much turn into a much less cute version of a squirrel. Of course, there are significant health benefits of eating nuts, which is how and why I justify my eating of them every chance I get.
I’m always looking for some new party snack recipes, preferably easy snack recipes, for when I have friends over. Oh I’ve got my usual suspects for party snack recipes (these dishes only come out when we are having, or going to, a party). Things like cheese salsa, artichoke dip, tomato and olive salad or roasted grapes. But I really like to have something new to try. You know, to keep things interesting.
These glazed nuts might be the perfect snack. If you’re idea of perfect is: easy to make, people can’t get enough of them and having no leftovers. I only had 5 people over and these were gone in 10 minutes. Note to self: make a bigger batch of glazed nuts next time.
The thing that I like about this recipe, aside from how easy it is to make, is that it has a nice even blend of sweet, salt and spice. As written, it isn’t overwhelming in any of these tastes. Of course, you could definitely tweak it to your liking. The seasonings also pair well with all of the nuts in it too. But then, I’m such a freak when it comes to nuts, there’s almost no pairing that I don’t like (I’m keeping this one clean folks 😉 ).
I was able to buy gourmet nuts in bulk (gourmet only means that there were no peanuts in the mix) for a really great price. I highly recommend buying nuts in bulk (especially when making party snack recipes) because of their price and they tend to be a bit fresher than buying them pre-packaged. Of course, you could always buy individual nuts to make up your own mix.
Of this mixture of glazed nuts, the pecans are my favorites. Of course I really like pecans anyway, but their deep grooves and rough exterior pick up the butter, sugar, salt, pepper and rosemary really well. So you get to taste every bit of the ingredients in this snack. Oh, and along with the crunchy nuts, you also get bits of the sugar. The glaze doesn’t just coat the nuts, it leaves you with little pieces of crunchy sweet spice.
You can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your family.
Did you ever get the feeling that your family is nuts? That’s because they are. How do I know that about your family? Because I know that about my family. Yes, it’s true. We all come from families that run from slightly kooky to certifiably bat shit crazy. Face it, none of us come from those Jimmy Stewart headed families like in the movies.
I’m not going to go into specifics here, mostly because my family reads this thing, but suffice it to say…they (on some level) would agree with me.
So don’t be surprised if that girl/guy you’re dating doesn’t want to introduce you to their family right away. It may not be that he/she isn’t into you…it might be because they think their family is just insane enough, that you’ll go running for the hills. I didn’t introduce any guys to my parents (I’m pretty sure I didn’t even talk about any guys to them), when I was in college (for similar reasons), and my mom thought I was afraid to come out of the closet. That is, until my birth control pills fell out of my purse in front of her. Ooops!
Just remember…it’s not you…it’s them.
Recipe: Glazed Nuts
- 2 Cups Mixed Nuts (I used roasted, unsalted nuts)
- 1/4 Cup Butter
- 1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Rosemary
- Sea Salt (or Kosher Salt)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
- In a large saute pan (I used a 12 inch pan), melt butter over medium high heat.
- Once butter has melted, add in the brown sugar and stir until melted.
- Add in the nuts and stir to coat.
- Add the cayenne pepper and rosemary to the pan and stir thoroughly so all the pepper gets evenly distributed.
- Remove from heat and spread the nut mixture on a foil lined baking sheet. Make sure everything is spread out evenly on the pan.
- Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until the nuts are little more browned and shiny. Stir the nuts a couple of times, so that they get good and covered with the glaze.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the salt.
- Let cool until they can be handles.
- Pour into dish and serve.
I used roasted nuts, but you could also use raw nuts. You’ll just need to roast them before making the recipe. To do that, spread them on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees Farenheit. Stir them halfway through cooking. Remove from the oven and follow the recipe as written.
The serving size is 1/4 cup…trust me…that won’t be enough for each guest, so you’ll probably want to double or triple this recipe.
You could add more rosemary or cayenne as you like.
Make sure you use sea salt or kosher salt for the recipe. The crunchy bits of salt really add to the dish. Plus, it’s easier to control the amount of salt that you add with either of these types of salt.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 15 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Diet tags: Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 8
Culinary tradition: USA (General)