I’ve been wanting to join this group for weeks now but it began to feel as if it was not meant to be. First, my copy of Dorie Greenspan’s ‘Around My French Table’ was the victim of a shipping snafu with Amazon so I missed the inaugural event. Once I finally received the book my schedule was most uncooperative; when I finally made a dish, the amazing Apple Cake; I missed the deadline for getting the post done and I admit, I sort of gave in to it not happening!
I’ve been a fan of Dorie’s for a long time. Dorie is a contributing editor at Bon Appetit magazine as well as the author of other books I’ve enjoyed so I really wanted to experience this journey and I have to give credit to Lora at www.cakeduchess.com and Mardi at www.eatlivetravelwrite.com for pushing me a bit this week. When I saw the recipe for Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts, I knew my participation was doable. It’s easy, I had all the ingredients on hand and I needed an appetizer for a dinner I was planning on the day of this post…the stars were aligned and I was off to the kitchen!
This post will publish on my birthday…yes, two weeks and one day prior to the biggest birthday celebration of the year. Getting some friends together with me to celebrate in prime cocktail party season is quite the challenge but I’ve done it and we’ll be feasting on Julia Child’s version of Beef Bourguignon with roasted red potatoes. I had yet to even consider what I would do for appetizers and thought these would not only be easy but also perfect with a cheese course. I’m determined to keep this effort simple and enjoy the evening with friends.
I admit that I’ve done something similar in the past so had some experience with using egg whites and spices for a coating that is slowly baked on to the nuts – in my case walnuts, pecan and almonds (I threw in peanuts too but didn’t like them, so removed them from the mix). I also admit, I did derivate a bit from the instructions; hope Dorie won’t shun me forever but my schedule is so crazed I had to do something a bit quicker.
Dorie’s recipe called for coating the nuts with the egg whites, then mixing in the spices. I preferred using my mini Cuisinart and mixing the sugar, egg whites and spices til thoroughly blended. I was warned about making sure you let the mixture drain off of the nuts when moving them to the baking sheet but again I threw caution to the wind!
I had doubled the recipe so I could pack some for gifts and I didn’t have either the patience or the time to manually take the step of letting the wet mixture drip off the nuts so I placed the entire mix of nuts, egg whites and spices onto the prepared pan. My caveat to insure success and not have a tray of baked egg white and spices? I removed them from the oven every ten minutes and mixed them up during the 30 minute cooking period.
They came out perfectly fine and most of the separation required was accomplished during that process. Probably ended up with a bit more coating per nut but I’m perfectly happy with that…mmmm, good.
Are they as photogenic as they should be; would they have looked differently if I had prepared them exactly per directions? I don’t know but I do know they taste great; a wonderful blend of toasted nuts, sugar and some subtle heat. They truly are addictive as my breakfast this morning will attest. Coffee and spiced nuts anyone?
Participating in this group is a great way to meet new people and support Dorie, who is loved and admired both from afar and in person (no, I have not been a lucky one…I have begged her to come to Denver; really we are NOT a cow town Dorie, promise!).
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch cayenne or to taste
- 1 large egg white
- 2 cups nuts such as almonds, cashews or pecans, whole or halves
Spicy Cocktail Nuts Recipe
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. Mix sugar and spices together in a small bowl.
3. In a large bowl, beat egg white lightly with a fork.
4. Toss nuts into egg white, stirring to coat. Then add sugar-and-spice mixture and continue to stir, evenly covering nuts.
5. Transfer nuts to baking sheet, letting excess liquid drip off first.
6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until nuts are browned and coating is dry. Cool 5 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board, break nuts apart, and let them cool completely. The nuts crisp as they cool.
Package in airtight jars and label. Nuts will keep at room temperature for about five days.