These Sweet and Spicy Nuts are the perfect party nuts! Slightly addictive and the best hostess gift! Make them all holiday long as a last minute holiday gift and you’ll be loved by all!
Coated with a delicious blend of spices, these mixed nuts are a hit every holiday season! My family and neighbors are excited when it’s time to make a batch of these. The secret to the spices staying on the nuts is using an egg white coating. These Christmas nuts go perfectly with cocktails or just like my kids like it, just for nibbling on. They are the perfect food gift idea for your special friends and neighbors!
This week I thought it would be fun to make a Sweet and Spicy Nut recipe. It’s holiday time. I was dreaming of having a wonderful cocktail and a bowl of these nuts. I had a feeling these nuts would be delicious. Yes, I was right!
Sweet and Spicy Nuts
Originally published December 31, 2019, updated on December 29, 2020.
I had posted this recipe back in December of 2010! I make them every year. These are not your average party nuts! I guarantee if you place a dish of these out they will disappear in minutes! I have to make jars of them as gifts and to keep around for our guilty pleasure. I have only posted one other nut recipe before…this Easy Spicy Peanut Brittle (makes a great holiday gift!!).
These are nuts that I made years ago for a Dorie Greenspan cookbook club that I was in. I had stopped making them for a while and I’m not even sure why? We have been spending the last few Christmases in Ohio and my cousin Susan makes them as gifts.
When you walk down into the basement there are trays of them cooling on restaurant catering racks. It’s impossible to not take a handful each time you go down to do your laundry. I’m pretty sure she does a riff on Smitten Kitchen’s recipe. I’ve made the Smitten recipe before, but found it too sweet. I keep coming back to this Dorie recipe.
Everyone I made this for this year asked me how do you make them so crunchy and can I have the recipe?
How do you make crunchy cocktail nuts?
The secret is in the egg white coating! Simply whisk up the egg white in a bowl with a fork. I add a few drops of water to the egg white. You don’t need to strain the mixture from the nuts before you bake it up.
How do you make vegan sweet and spicy nuts?
If you are trying to make these vegan, coat them in aquafaba from chickpeas. Just whisk it up with a hand whisk (they don’t have to be foamy). The next time I make these I will be making with the aquafaba whisked up. I have vegan friends and they will love this gift!
Today my mom came by. She was going to stay with my kids as I had a dinner to go to tonight for my daughter’s school. When my mom saw that I was making aperitivo style nuts, we both agreed that a good cocktail was in order. I like cooking with my mom. She has some good ideas.
Vintage Savoring Recipes-These Sweet and Spicy Nuts are from the SI archives, first published in 2010. All part of a series called Vintage Savoring Recipes. I will be showing some TLC to some amazing recipes you may have missed on the blog. Most of these recipes will have fresh photos and fresher notes.
It’s such a joy for me to revisit a beloved recipe like these nuts that we can’t get enough of! Hope you enjoy some delicious blasts from the past!
I was planning to bring these gorgeous nuts to my sister-in-laws house tomorrow night for their Hanukkah celebration. She knows I will bring a cake. But nuts? I wanted to surprise her.
How do you make party nuts?
The first thing to do is gather up your nuts. I used this time pecans and almonds. You can also use cashews (so good!!). I use a combo of cinnamon, cayenne and a dash of nutmeg. You can make these your own by making more spicy or less spicy. You could even leave out the spice completely.
Coat it in the egg whites (or aquafaba if making them vegan). Then toss them in the sugar and spice mixture. When they are baking, stir them every 10 minutes.
Which Nuts To Use For Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts
You could use whichever combination that you like! The spice blend will go great with any tree nut you decide to use. Some that I enjoy the most are:
- Brazil Nuts
While I was at dinner tonight, the manager of the restaurant called me to come over to the phone as my daughter was on the other line. Of course, I got that sick feeling. The one time I don’t have my phone on the table “just in case”. What could it be? As I was walking, I shrugged it off hoping that she was just arguing with my mom over using the computer. My daughter was hysterically crying and let me know Grauntie Sheryl just died. Sheryl was my sister-in-law’s aunt. She lived in NY. She was a lovely and very kind lady. She wasn’t our aunt, but she became our aunt. She was a part of our family. My heart broke hearing my daughter’s tears.
I returned home and was quickly enveloped in their tears. My mom’s and my daughter’s. My little guy not really understanding what happened. We all got in the car and rode over to my brother’s house. I felt guilty. Guilty that I haven’t seen my family in days. Sick thinking how quickly life can change and what am I always rushing off to do? Is it really always so important? Why didn’t I take a moment to call Sheryl today and wish her a Happy Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is their special holiday. A holiday I learned all about through their celebrations these last 11 years. Instead of lighting candles with them tomorrow, they will be arriving in NY to say good-bye to sweet Sheryl. I wish I could too.
These are the original nuts I made back in 2010! I just used cashews and they also disappeared in minutes!
Enjoy every moment. I’m not going to preach. Just a little bit of preaching: really, pause and be thankful for all you have. Call your mom and tell her you love her. Don’t text when someone is telling you a story. Take deep breaths and enjoy each instant.
I don’t understand how a life ends suddenly and unexpectedly. How do I explain it to my child so full of deep questions?
Right before we left my brother’s house tonight, my adorable little niece said they saw a really bright star shining in the sky. She thought maybe that was Grauntie Sheryl watching over them. I told her I am certain it was her.
How to make non-sticky Christmas nuts:
- Whisk the egg whites very well with a small amount of water. It has to be very bubbly and frothy. Don”t stop whisking until you see it very frothy!
- Next step is to add the nuts into the frothy egg whites and mix them very well by tossing together with a large spatula. Just keep tossing until they are all thoroughly coated. The goal is to have the nuts be tacky from the egg white coating. If it seems wet, keep on tossing until it is that sticky/tacky feel. If it’s wet and you bake them like that, it will be a gloppy mess (and that’s not how you want it to bake up).
- If you have leftover egg white in the bowl, you could add more nuts (do a half a cup at a time)and keep on tossing. Make sure no more egg whites is leftover in the bowl.
This is how the nuts looked before I baked them. The sweet smell of cinnamon was making me anxious to open the oven door and grab a few!
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Happy New Year to all my friends and readers! I’ll be back soon with something a little healthier. You all mean the world to me. I appreciate your support! XX
Slightly updated from Dec 2010
Sweet and Spicy Nuts
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch cayenne or to taste
- 1 large egg white
- 2 cups nuts such as almonds cashews or pecans, whole or halves
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Mix sugar and spices together in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, beat egg white lightly with a fork.
- Toss nuts into egg white, stirring to coat. Then add sugar-and-spice mixture and continue to stir, evenly covering nuts.
- Transfer nuts to baking sheet, letting excess liquid drip off first.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until nuts are browned and coating is dry. Cool 5 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board, break nuts apart, and let them cool completely. The nuts crisp as they cool.
Store in a airtight container and label. Serve with cocktails.
To gift the nuts, fill festive cellophane bags or decorative jars or tins with the nuts. Seal very well to ensure freshness.
- To make a very large batch of the nuts, make each batch of nuts individually. Do not mix a large batch of sugar spice mixture or egg white water mixture...the best way is to make it small portion at a time (it is not easy to mix very large batch of the nuts, will be a gloppy mess instead of nice and crunchy when it bakes up.
Nuts will keep at room temperature for about five days.