Dorie Greenspan’s Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts

Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts in a Clay Crock on a Red Plaid Napkin

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!

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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 and Mardi at 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!

Around My French Table Book CoverI 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?

Want to join in this adventure? Join French Fridays with Dorie and follow the group on Twitter.

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!).

Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts

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Course Christmas Favorites


  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ 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 Recipe1. 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.


Nutrition Facts
Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts
Serving Size
1 grams
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. Don’t ask me why it took months to get to this post, but I’m thinking better late than never. I love your photograph and your technique for working with the nuts.

    Hope you had a great birthday!

  2. WOO HOO!!! These look wonderful and perfect for before dinner – especially when it’s Julia’s Beef Bourgignon!!! I definitely want to try your “technique” – always looking for ways to speed things up. Haven’t gotten my copy of Dorie’s book – it’s on the “wish” list so hopefully Santa will have room in his bag for it!!

  3. Bravo Barb! I am soooooooo in love w/this book and have several recipes marked for after the first of the year – time just wasn’t cooperating for me to start cooking from this book but it has been beside my bed for the last couple of months for perusing . . . trouble is – which recipe will be the maiden voyage???

  4. Happy Birthday (yesterday) and welcome! The nuts look wonderful! I haven’t made them yet but am figuring I should go ahead and double the recipe when I do. And btw – Rhode Island, where I am, has the same “wise” law as Colorado regarding the taxes, so my Amazon account was closed, too. Crazy stuff.

    1. It’s lame isn’t it? First, no one is going to report taxes due on every online sale they make and second…seems a bad time in our economy to stop small entrepreneurs from making some revenue.

      Do double the recipe. I had just a bit more than the two full bowls you see…they do seem to disappear VERY fast!

  5. Happy Birthday sweet Barb!!! Your nuts look delicious! I am so happy you joined FFwD! I joined b/c of Mardi.

    I hope you have a grand time tonight full of delicious food and tasty drinks!!

    Xoxo Lora

  6. Welcome to FFwD. I’m glad you were finally “pushed” into joining. Your nuts are quite beautiful and I don’t think your “shortcuts” hurt at all. I too made a double batch and did not shake each nut and they turned out great. Happy Birthday and I hope the Beef Bourguignon is fabulous. Try Dorie’s Beef Duabe next time…it’s really amazing.

  7. Barbara, I’m looking forward to making these but I’m afraid I would snack on them all day long. That would be alright I guess since nuts are good for us but still I don’t know if I can coontrol myself in the presence of spiced nuts. Very very lovely!

  8. What a lovely post! I really enjoy your writing. And you’re right, I don’t know what I enjoy more, the cooking, writing or connecting with other cookery bloggers!

    1. Thank you Allison! I’ve been putting recipes on a website for 15 years but without pictures and without writing so this is decidedly a different direction. More work but more connection with an audience too…so it’s all good!

  9. Happy Birthday and welcome to ffwd!!

    I loved these too, and made them practically the same way. Your picture looks great and I loved your story. Have a wonderful evening!

  10. They look amazing you rebel you! A very Happy Birthday to you. So nice that you could gather some close friends. Your dinner and the planned evening sound wonderful. I’m there in spirit raising a glass to you and stealing a handful or two of these nuts!

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