Amidst all the gooey chocolate cake, sugar-topped cookies, and spicy gingerbread, nuts are a welcome bite of savory. Plus, they’re good for you! Protein-rich and loaded with vitamins and minerals, nuts are lauded by nutrition experts for their health benefits, and studies show that eating nuts regularly might be protective against certain diseases, including heart disease.
In this recipe by cookbook author Joyce Hendley, which appeared in Real Food, nuts are jazzed up with curry and pepper spice for a flavorful twist. Or, you can substitute a seasonal flair with pumpkin pie spice. This all-purpose recipe works with just about any nut you have on hand or any combination—though smaller nuts and pecans will cook more quickly. The egg white gives them a wonderfully crispy exterior.
Serve them at your next holiday party or give them as gifts in attractive airtight containers. They’ll stay fresh at room temperature for about three weeks—or store them in the refrigerator for up to two months.
Roasting in a 325°F oven may not sound as melodic as chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but it’s certainly easier in the kitchen!
Sweet and Spicy Nut Mix
Makes 4 cups; serves 12
1 egg white
1 tsp. water
4 c. raw (untoasted) nuts (try almonds, walnuts, pecans, or a combination)
¾ tsp. curry powder (optional)
1 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
¼ to ½ tsp. cayenne powder
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil and grease well with butter or olive oil.
In a large bowl, beat egg white and water until frothy. Add nuts, curry powder (if using), sugar, salt, and cayenne; toss to coat well.
Spread nuts in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake, stirring occasionally, until nuts are fragrant and just starting to darken slightly (don’t let them brown—they’ll continue cooking out of the oven, and can quickly burn). This should take 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the nuts. Cool completely on a rack.
VARIATION: Pumpkin Pie Spiced Nuts
Omit the curry powder and reduce the salt to ¼ teaspoon; add 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.