We had some out-of-town friends over recently for a pre-dinner cocktail. We wanted to have an accompanying light snack before our lovely meal out at Fatty Crab, one of our not-so-new favorites. Cheese, as much as we love it, was out of the question. So, we settled on something we have made time and time again. Sometimes tried and true is the way to go.
Although the recipe I have included has some pretty exact measurements, feel free, as I do, to make it your own. I always increase the cashews and almonds in favor of a reduction in peanuts, for example. And, I find that a 2 inch sprig of rosemary and three sprigs of thyme is hardly enough.
The resulting spicy mixed nuts have many notable qualities. They are easy to prepare, can be made a week in advance and have an unusual herby spicy flavor that is unforgettable and perfect with an early spring beverage.
Spiced Cocktail Nuts
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 inch sprig fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup raw almonds
2/3 cup raw cashews
2/3 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
5 1/3 cups unsalted peanuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
2. Pick the leaves from the thyme and rosemary springs and chop the leaves coarsely. In a mixing bowl, combine the thyme, rosemary corn syrup, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper and mix well. Add all the nuts and mix thoroughly with your hands or a wooden spoon.
3. Spread the nuts evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Roast the nut mixture, stirring a few times with a heatproof rubber spatula to ensure that the nuts color evenly, until they are fragrant and a rich brown color, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely. The nuts will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Makes about 7 cups