Monday, September 8, 2014

Smokey Spiced Nut Mix for Thunderstorms and Company

The past few days here had the feel of Indian Summer, broiling days and cool nights. I had been feeling dehydrated and craving salt for days. Where are all the tortilla chips when I want them!?

Finally we got an epic thunderstorm to break the heat, watching the smoky clouds roll in like...clouds in my coffee...yup thats what they looked like. Then waves of lightning and thunder which rolled overhead while we sat on the porch. It was like memories of the summers past we remembered, this summer in the Northeast was terribly mild. When we were little my mother used to make popcorn and we all sat there like we were at a movie theatre.

I made spicy nuts instead! Satisfyingly salty, smoky and savory. They only take 20 minutes in the coven, longer than popcorn sure, but you can make a big batch and keep some around for when friends drop by.

Trader Joe's is my favorite place to get nuts, they are affordable, sold in large bags, and there is a wide variety of unsalted versions. This recipe toasts the nuts, but I did use dry roasted almonds instead of raw and they were still delicious, not overdone. You will want to use unsalted varieties.

I am obsessed with Penzeys spices, and am so lucky to work around the corner from one. However, it takes lots of willpower not to shop there too often. My spice cabinet is overflowing, I love the color and the potential of spices. There is nothing I really need, but it still tugs at me as I drive by! I do think using fresh spices really matters, I had some old cumin for the longest time, and when I bought new cumin, I was blown out of the water, thinking, what have I been missing for the past year?! So here I used sweet paprika, smoky spanish paprika, cumin and allspice. It is earthy and exotic.

Smokey Spiced Nut Mix

3 1/2 cups unsalted nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews)
1 egg white
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspooon smoked paprika (Spanish)
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika (Hungarian style)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon coconut sugar

Measure out the nuts. Absorb the beauty of your spices. Separate an egg, put the white into a mixing bowl, keep the yolk for something else if you wish. Whip the egg white with a whisk, after about 60 seconds it will be frothy with quite stable bubbles.
Measure in the salt, spices, and sweetener. Mix well.

Stir nuts into the spice mixture.  Stir very well all coated. Spread nuts out on a parchment lined pan.

Roast in a preheated oven at 300° for 20 minutes. Spin the tray around midway in cooking. No need to stir them.

Don't burn your mouth when they come out of the oven! If you crack them off the paper and transfer them into smaller bowls, they will cool in no time. Enjoy with your next delicious beverage. They would also be super good on a salad I think!

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