So I have sat for a while trying to think of what I should call these festive nuts, and everything I came up with sounded overly suggestive (!!) So I came up with ‘S-S-S Festive Nuts’ in the hope that people will be too distracted trying to work out what ‘S-S-S’ stands for, to have the time to giggle at the word ‘nuts’ 🙊 Or not – go on, have a giggle.
So you no longer need to wonder, S-S-S stands for spicy-salty-sweet as this is precisely the flavour combination that has been used to create these delicious, sticky morsels.
The first time I ordered spicy nuts (🙊) off a menu was at a tapas bar in the city together with Friday night drinks. They were absolutely stupendous and went down so, so well with our wine, I knew right then and there I was a spicy nut convert (🙊🙊). Okay, no more monkeys, I promise.
What I didn’t realise at the time was how LUCKY I was to have hit the spicy nut jackpot straight off the bat, as when it comes to spicy nuts they can be really good, or really really disappointing. I have had both.
I was inspired to create my own recipe for these little snacky treats, as I thought it would be good to have them around over the festive season to munch on, and I also knew they would be perfect for a very quick and easy edible Christmas gift (they only take about 20 minutes start to finish).
The spices I have used to flavour my nuts are the ones I enjoy the most, however you could absolutely adapt my recipe to reflect your own tastes and preferences. Evelyn and I had fun this afternoon adding a ‘sprinkle of this’ and a ‘dash of that’ as we made three different batches. The recipe below is the one I enjoyed the most.
3.5 cups of mixed nuts (raw, not toasted)
1 tsp coarse sea salt (plus extra for seasoning while roasting)
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp ground chilli / cayenne pepper
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1.5 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 3.5 cups
Preheat oven to 160C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Pour nuts and all the spices into a large bowl.
Stir to combine and coat the nuts. Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine butter, water and sugar. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has melted and all ingredients have come together (about 1-2 minutes). Pour the sugar and butter mixture over the nuts and stir to ensure all the nuts are coated.
Pour onto lined baking tray and sprinkle with chilli flakes and a little more salt.
Pop into the preheated oven for 15 minutes, removing every 5 minutes to stir the nuts and add a further little sprinkle of salt.
Once roasted, take out of the oven (no need to add additional salt this last time) and allow the nuts to cool slightly but not completely! If you allow the nuts to cool completely in the tray they will turn into mixed nut brittle – which, while still delicious – will make casual grazing a little more difficult as well as squeezing into a gift jar! Instead transfer warm nuts into a bowl, stirring to make sure they don’t clump up and continuing to stir occasionally until they are cool.
Handy hint: If any of the sticky coating ends up on your baking tray, try wipe it off with paper towel (without burning yourself) before it turns into rock hard toffee on your pan! If you forget, or are too busy chowing on these goodies to remember to do that, and your pan is covered in rock hard toffee, pop it back in the hot oven for about 5 minutes to re-soften and then wipe off when you take it out.
Once they are cool – and even while they are warm – dig in! These are sooo moreish it is difficult to stop once you get going. They go perfectly with a drink and will be floating around our house for the rest of the festive season.
And if you manage to stop yourself eating them all in one hit, these S-S-S Festive Nuts make a perfect edible Christmas gift for someone you care about – a lot!! (i.e. enough to share these babies!) ENJOY!! 💜