Spicy Maple Rosemary Mixed Nuts

As I sit here typing up this post, the first snow of the season is slowly blanketing our neck of the woods. Unlike many New Englanders, I actually love snowfall… at least the first half dozen of the winter; come March, I’m done with the heaps of snow. For the time being, though, I’m vacillating between quiet content and childlike excitement as I gaze out of the window at the accumulating snow.

Just as I equate snow with the holiday season, so I do with candied nuts: crunchy, a bit salty, and sweet, I can (and do!) happily eat handful after handful of the tasty little jewels. My go-to recipe features a simple cinnamon-sugar flavor profile, but for this version, I wanted to toss in some unexpected flavor elements. Enter maple, rosemary, and cayenne: a flavor trifecta that might seem odd at first, but actually works beautifully.

A modest amount of maple syrup is the only sweetener in this recipe, making it much healthier than traditional refined sugar-laden candied nuts. The rosemary lends a pleasant earthiness and the cayenne pepper adds a welcomed kick of spice.

These addictive mixed nuts make for the ideal hostess (or teacher) gift or addition to any appetizer/cheese plate. They’re also perfect as a mid afternoon snack.

 

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Spicy Maple Rosemary Mixed Nuts

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients (2 cups)

  • 2 cups raw nuts (I used pecan halves and almonds; cashews would be a nice addition)
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed between your palms (or finely chopped if you don’t like big pieces)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or 1/2 tsp for a spicier kick)
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 250°F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white until foamy and thick, about 1 minute. Add the nuts and stir until they are evenly coated.

In a small bowl, stir together remaining ingredients (maple syrup, crushed dried rosemary, cayenne pepper, and salt) until well-mixed.

Pour the maple rosemary mixture into the bowl with the nuts, and stir until the nuts are evenly coated.

Spread the coated nuts in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the nuts at 250°F for 60 minutes, stirring about every 20 minutes.

Let nuts cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

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Pear & Whipped Cinnamon Goat Cheese Toast (two ways)

This right here, my friends, is a quick, easy, and seriously delicious breakfast, lunch, or snack that is perfect for the fall season.

These toasts start with whipped cinnamon goat cheese, which sounds fancy but is super easy to – ahem – whip up. Whipping the goat cheese results in a fluffy, silky texture that spreads easily. The cinnamon adds a lovely spiciness and a touch of sweetness.

I couldn’t decide between topping the whipped cinnamon goat cheese with fig jam or pumpkin butter (my two favorite autumnal spreads), so I chose both!

Pears are divine right now, thus making them the perfect finishing touch to these toasts.

Both versions are delectable on their own, but to really put these toasts over the top, I suggest you sandwich both of them together. Pear & Cinnamon Whipped Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Pumpkin Butter & Fig Jam? YES.

 

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Pear & Whipped Cinnamon Goat Cheese Toast (two ways)

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients (1-2 servings)

  • 4 oz goat cheese, at room temperature
  • milk to thin, if necessary
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 slices of your favorite bread, (preferably whole wheat) toasted to desired preference
  • 1 Tbsp fig jam
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin butter
  • 1 ripe (but firm) pear, (I used Anjou), preferably organic, very thinly sliced

Instructions

Place the goat cheese in a mini food processor and process until creamy (about 3-5 minutes). You may add a bit of milk – 1 tsp at a time – to thin it out if necessary (I used 2 tsp milk in total). If you don’t have a mini food processor, you can mash the goat cheese in a bowl with a fork until creamy. Add in the cinnamon and process (or mash) until fully combined. Set aside.

Spread about 2-3 Tbsp of the whipped cinnamon goat cheese on each slice of toast. Top one slice with fig jam, and the other with pumpkin butter. Evenly divide the sliced pear between the two slices of toast.

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