RECIPE: Snacking Sweet and Spicy Almonds and Pecans
Nuts are a big deal at our house. I was raised with serving nuts and fruit for even our every day meals growing up in and Italian family. If the men at the table had extra wine left in their glasses, it was customary to serve nuts and fruit to accompany the last gulps of wine. As adults at our home now, we love wine as well! And sometimes spiced nuts are a great snack to put out with appetizers and wine as you get the main meal on the table. Nuts are packed with protein, so they make a healthier snack than a bag of chips late at night, and will fill you quicker so you eat less. Spiced nuts are also great to make ahead before a dinner party. They keep for a week, and you can put them out in a lovely bowl next to some wine charms and look like you just whipped these delights just an hours ago all by yourself! THAT'S the "UDD" way, people! Now, go be charming!
Snacking Sweet and Spicy Almonds and Pecans
1 large egg white
2 cups skinless whole almonds, unsalted
2 cups whole pecans, unsalted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash or two of Tabasco
1 tsp. kosher salt
Preheat oven to 250˚. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites with 1 tablespoon of water until foamy and fluffy. Add the sugar, salt and spices and whisk some more until the sugar is well dissolved. Add the nuts and mix until the nuts are well coated. Cover a flat baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the nuts onto the surface. Using the back of the spoon, push the nuts around so that they lay flat for even baking. Bake until the nuts are dried out and sticky, about 40 minutes to 50 minutes. Take them out and mix the nuts around with a spatula, and lower the oven down to 200˚. Return the nuts to the oven and bake until crisp and lightly browned. This may take a bit long depending on your oven. It could take another 30 to even 50 minutes. It depends on how dark you want your nuts. I also sometimes move them from the middle rack to the top to get the nice golden color I like. Also, adjust your salt at this phase. While the nuts still have a little wetness, take one out, cool and eat. Sprinkle a little more salt on the nuts for your taste buds and mix around the nuts again. When done, take them out and stir loosely with a spatula as they cool. Store in an airtight container for week.