The more I think about the dishes I like to cook, the more I realize that I most enjoy the low-effort, big-return recipes that make a party a little more special.
This spiced nuts recipe comes from my brother, Ed, who used to make this in commercial quantities for a small supermarket in Washington State. It uses three pounds of nuts, but can easily be scaled down, and the nuts will keep for weeks in a tightly sealed container or in the freezer for several months. And the spice and sweetness levels can be adjusted to your taste, too, of course, but we think this is a reliable starting point.
The recipe calls for walnuts, but I’ve also made it with pecans. Peanuts (skinless only) would probably work, although I haven’t tried them. Next time I make this, I’ll probably try a mix of nuts.
I’ve made this recipe several times, every time a hit. The key is to keep the heat low, stir every 10 or 15 minutes, and give the nuts the time they need to dry out before taking them out of the oven. Do that, and you can create an easy, signature snack for your parties.
Ed’s Spiced Nuts
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (sweet)
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 egg whites from large eggs
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 pounds walnut halves or other nuts
- Preheat oven to 300F. Prepare two half-sheet pans with parchment, which will make cleanup much easier.
- In a large bowl, beat egg whites and water until frothy.
- In a smaller bowl, mix dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, smoked paprika and ground cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps.
- Add nuts to the egg white mixture and stir until coated well and evenly.
- Sprinkle the nuts with the sugar mixture and toss to coat evenly.
- Bake at 300F in a single layer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are dry. Give yourself some time, as it could take longer.
- Remove from oven and separate nuts as they cool.
- When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl or container(s) for storing or freezing, breaking up any that are stuck together.