Spiced Nuts Trio

Warning, the items made from the following recipes are very addictive.  Putting them out for your family to snack on prior to Thanksgiving dinner may result in some appetites being spoiled.  Sometimes, the heavenly aromas that occur while they bake cause the nuts to never even make it out of the kitchen.   I almost didn’t have a photo of the Rosemary Roasted Cashews to share with you today.  They are my husband’s favorite, and while I was preparing the other two recipes he managed to graze his way through most of them.  Here is my suggestion for these three recipes:  Make them ahead of time in double or triple batches, only put a portion of them out for snacks, and reserve the other ones for homemade holiday or hostess gifts.  That is, of course, if you can restrain yourself from dipping into them ten times each day–not easy!  Here are a few tips and ideas for these recipes:

  • All three can be stored at room temperature in airtight containers for up to two weeks.
  • You can mix and match the types of nuts that you use.  For the cashew recipe, you can try walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds.  For the maple recipe, pecans would work well.  As a substitute for the Peppery Pecans, try using mixed nuts.
  • In the Maple Sugared Walnuts recipe, if you don’t have brandy, you can use a dark rum.  Maple sugar can be tough to find.  I have found it at Whole Foods or on-line, but if you don’t have any, then just use regular sugar in its place.  The nuts will still have a very pronounced maple flavor.
  • If you are planning to give these as hostess or holiday gifts, put them in a cellophane gift bag with a decorative ribbon and then attach a little card with the recipe.  Because these nuts are all so addictive, the recipient will surely want to know how to make more!

Rosemary Roasted CashewsDsc00249

Makes 3 cups


1 1/4 pounds cashews

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 heaping tablespoon dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.  Place the nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until they are warmed through.  Meanwhile, combine the rosemary, pepper, sugar, salt, and butter in a large bowl.  Toss the warm nuts with the rosemary mixture until the nuts are completely coated.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Peppery Pecans

Makes 8-10 cups


12 tablespoons butter, room temperatureDsc00258

2 1/4 cups sugar

3 tablespoons ground black pepper

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 1/4 teaspoons allspice

1 1/4 teaspoons cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Generous pinch ground cardamom

2 large egg whites

2 pounds pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 325F degrees.  In a large bowl, stir together the butter, sugar, pepper, salt, and spices.  Add the egg whites and mix well.  Add the pecans and mix thoroughly to coat well.  Spread the spice-coated pecans on a large cookie sheet.  Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until they are toasted through, turning every 5 minutes with a spatula.  Remove from the oven and continue to turn every 5 minutes until the nuts have reached room temperature.


Maple Sugared Walnuts

Makes 8 cups


6 cups walnut halves

1/2 cup maple sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse saltDsc00264

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup brandy

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups maple syrup

2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.  Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Let cool.

Combine the maple sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside.  In a deep skillet, combine the brandy, vanilla, maple syrup, and butter.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook until liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the walnuts; continue cooking, stirring, until the skillet is almost dry, about 3 minutes more.

Immediately toss the nuts in the reserved sugar mixture until well coated.  Spread the nuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper and let cool completely.

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