A great treat all year round, these Cocoa, Cayenne and Espresso Roasted Walnuts are easy to make and lovely to gift to friends.
As soon as I saw Jen Schall at My Kitchen Addiction post a recipe for almonds with a crispy coating that included cocoa, I knew I would be using that recipe as inspiration for my own appetizer for this week; these Cocoa, Cayenne and Espresso Roasted Walnuts.
I used to be about pecans all the time but I’ve been awakened in the past couple of years to the wonderfulness of walnuts. The secret? Roasting or toasting them. It makes such a difference in the taste that I now love them more than any other nut.
Essentially it’s the difference between raw and cooked. I had never thought of that before; clearly I love nuts more after they are cooked; I’ll even toast nuts that I’m adding to a cake or cookie; it makes a difference…just baking with them in an ingredient does not equate to toasting them. Try it!
Not just cookies or cakes either. Salads with toasted walnuts? Fantastic. So I couldn’t wait to put my spin on Jen’s idea with walnuts as an appetizer for this week.
I’ve paired Cocoa, Cayenne and Espresso Roasted Walnuts with a bottle of 2009 Georges DuBoeuf Brouilly; a red wine from France that is best enjoyed when young (the wine that is…too late for me!). This red wine with notes of plum and blackberry was terrific with the cocoa and subtle heat of this appetizer.
If you love walnuts like I love walnuts I hope you will try this recipe but be sure to visit the California Walnuts website too where they’ve got a whole section on their site devoted to recipes. Yum!
These Cocoa, Cayenne and Espresso Roasted Walnuts would make a great holiday gift too. My friends know that I’ll be making some sort of gift from my kitchen; don’t tell them that this year, it’s these nuts!
Cocoa, Cayenne and Espresso Roasted Walnuts
- 4 cups walnuts
- 2 egg whites I happened to have small eggs on hand…if you have extra large, one might be enough…you just need enough to coat all of the nuts a bit
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon dried Chipotle pepper or use dried Cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 275°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
- Whisk together the egg white(s) and vanilla.
- Combine the brown sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, Chipotle pepper and salt in a processor and mix til thoroughly blended.
- In a larger mixing bowl mix the egg white with the walnuts and mix well to coat the nuts.
- Add the sugar and cocoa mixture into the walnuts and stir until the nuts are evenly coated.
- Spread the nuts on the baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes; stirring every 15 minutes.