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Go Nuts

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It’s impossible to eat just one.  You can almost chisel your biceps while practicing the hand-to-mouth technique.

I am a big fan of spiced nuts.  Sweet and crunchy, they’re the perfect accompaniment to those ample holiday cocktails.  Already delicious naked, it’s only an improvement to dress nuts up in sugar and coat them with seasonal spice.

When I lived in Santiago, Chile, I was a slave to the roasted almond carts.  Their sweet vanilla scent would dictate my path throughout the city. Fresh from the roasting pans and tepidly warm, they were addicting.

As the Christmas spirit takes me under its wing, I’ve found comfort in the tastes of home.  Around the holiday season, spiced nuts seem to be one of those things.  Like on the streets of Santiago, the aroma takes you prisoner and swaddles you in its warm blanket of spice.  Rounded out in flavor by the addition of just a bit of heat, these nuts are the perfect snack if you can keep them around more than an hour.

Spiced Nuts

Makes 4 cups

1 egg white

1 teaspoon water

4 cups nuts of your choice, I used almonds and walnuts

1 cup sugar

1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon cayenne or chili powder (optional)

Whisk together egg white and water in a large bowl until foamy.  Toss with nuts to coat.  Add sugar and spice to mixture, then toss to coat evenly.

Heat a dry pan on the stove over medium heat. In small batches, roast the nuts stirring frequently.  Adjust heat if needed.  You’ll want a kitchen fan as it will get a bit smokey.  When the nuts take on a deep brown caramelized color, they’re finished, about 3-4 minutes per batch.  

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