French Fridays with Dorie: Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts
This week I decided to make the Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts. This recipe provided practically instant gratification, or, if not instant, within an hour. I had all the ingredients in the pantry, and it was so easy to put together.
The recipe could be made with any mixture of whole or half nuts. I chose to make my version with all almonds. First of all, they’re my favorite. Secondly, I’ve been fixated on almonds since my book group meeting earlier in the week. I sat next to a bowl of almonds coated in sugar and cinnamon. I munched on them throughout the evening. Now I can continue the binge with a batch of sweet and spicy almonds.
As I mentioned, this recipe was super simple. The one step that I questioned was placing the nuts on the baking sheet one by one. I’ve made many batches of nuts like these and usually just spread the nut mixture on the baking sheet without much care other than making sure they are in a single layer. I thought I’d take that same shortcut with this recipe. Then I decided that I’d follow this recipe and see if it made a difference.
After the stressful week I had, both work-wise and personally, putting those nuts down one by one turned out to be a meditative and calming exercise. The goo on the nuts still melted and connected them to each other, but they still broke apart easily after they baked. I think you could just spread the nuts into a single layer with a similar result.
As for spices, I made the basic recipe in the book, no variation. For chili powder, I used medium hot chili powder from Penzeys Spices. Even with the pinch of cayenne, I think I could have used a hotter chili powder to give it more of a kick. Nevertheless, this recipe was still quite successful.
For the holidays, I usually put together little gift packs of assorted homemade treats. These would be a good addition. I might make another batch this weekend, with a slight alteration to the spices.
As a side note, if you like this kind of nut mixture, I suggest checking out a favorite cookbook of mine, Party Nuts by Sally Sampson. This book contains many creative combinations of nuts and seasonings. Every recipe I’ve made from Party Nuts has been a resounding success.
If you want to read about my fellow cooks’ experiences cooking from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table this week, check out their links on French Fridays with Dorie. Even better, you can buy your own copy of the book, and join in the fun.