Small Gifts, Spiced Nuts

December 15, 2012

20121215-064516.jpg With the Season filled with much gift giving, I like to have a few small gifts at the ready. Gifts of food are always a winner by me, but if it can be something that is homemade, even better. This is where a batch of spiced nuts comes in. They are super easy to make, and are always a crowd favorite. Any recipient of this little cello bag treat will be quite happy. Add a gift tag of your liking–done.

Here is how I make the spiced nuts. If you just want them sweet and not spicy, omit the chipotle powder.

Preheat oven to 350 while you assemble things. Take 2 baking sheets and liberally brush them with vegetable oil. This will help tremendously with the mixture not sticking and does not impart flavor. Between the 2 baking sheets add 4 cups each of whole cashews, walnuts and pecans. To each pan add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, half of a cup of brown sugar, half of a cup of maple syrup, and 2 teaspoons of ground chipotle powder. Cut an orange in half and juice each half right over the mixture. Add a few pinches of salt. Mix all together. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring several times along the way. Once done, carefully take the nuts off the pans and let cool on plates or a large platter. You will want to soak the baking sheets immediately, as the mixture will harden and become a big task if you don’t. This is advice from past experience. To the nuts I like to add a healthy dose of Maldon salt, so you really see the big flakes of salt amongst the nuts. But any salt will do. When all has cooled, put in clear cello bags so you see all the nutty yummy goodness. All ready to give and be happily received.