When the holidays roll around I am always looking for fun, easy gifts I can have on hand to give to friends who drop by. Most years I have cookies or mini loaves of bread, but this year I am making these delicious mixed nuts. Tossed in a sweet, savory, spicy mixture, they are the perfect snack that everyone loves.
I tend to eat them by the handful, but they are also fantastic added to salads, chopped and baked into cookies or crackers or used to decorate the top of a cake. Just think of homemade brittle made with these spicy nuts – Yum!
They are a wonderful item to have in bowls around your home during holiday parties. I think the complement red wines particularly well and of course everything goes with champagne! You can cut back on the sugar for a more savory version if you want to, but I think these are pretty darn good just the way they are.
The best way to package these for gifts is to place them in cellophane bags. You can find them at craft shops or online. I use them all the time because they showcase your treats, making them even more special. Buy some brightly colored raffia and tie them up with bows.
If you put name tags on them, they could serve as place tags for your holiday table. There is nothing more festive than getting a gift when you go to someone’s home for dinner.
If you are giving them away as a thank you gift for your guests to take home with them after a dinner party, stack them in a pretty basket and set them by the door. People will see them and grab one on their way out.
This recipe makes enough to make 26 (6 oz) packages, but since they are so delicious, I would plan on giving away no more than half. You are definitely going to find them addictive and kick yourself if you don’t leave some to snack on. As much as I love my family and friends, when something is this good, I have been known to be selfish at times, LOL!
Think about serving these easy to make nuts as one of the items on your buffet or to have available for snacking while people are waiting for dinner. Enjoy your holidays everyone!
- 2 lb 4 oz super fine sugar - you can make your own; process regular granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground
- 2 oz salt
- 3/4 oz cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp cinnamon powder
- 1 to 2 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
- 3 oz egg whites
- 3 oz water
- 6 lb pecan halves, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, or other nuts of your choice, or use a mixture
- Preheat oven to 225°F.
- Combine sugar, salt, cocoa powder, cinnamon and cayenne powder in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and water till frothy. Toss in the nuts, turning several times to coat with egg whites. Transfer the nuts to a large strainer and let them stand for 15 minutes to let any excess egg-whites drip off.
- Add all nuts to the spice mixture, shaking and turning to coat evenly. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet, so they are not touching.
- Bake them for 15 minutes. Using a spatula, loosen and turn them. Continue doing this every 15 minutes until nuts are crisp and dry, about 1 hour 15 minutes (total time).
- Remove and cool completely, before packing nuts in 24 (6 oz) containers.
- Yield: 24 (6 oz) containers or 9 pounds