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.
Spicy Maple Rosemary Mixed Nuts
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
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.