Many years ago I came across one of Nigella’s recipes for spiced nuts. They were (as most of Nigella’s recipes unapologetically are) covered in butter and brown sugar as well as some heat, herbs and salt and were deliciously addictive. I stopped making them because I couldn’t stop eating them and then forgot all about them until I saw a picture of Maple Spiced Nuts on a Thanksgiving table and then I was craving them again and needed them asap. I found the recipe and modified it to make them healthier, omitting the butter and sugar and opting for a bit more punch in flavour. The result is spectacular – still deliciously addictive (I actually had to restrain myself so I could get a photo while there were still some left!). The balance is wonderful – crunchy, salty, sweet, spicy and fragrant. Of course, as always, add or subtract according to your personal preferences. You can use any nuts (or seeds) that you like. I used a combination of walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews and brazil nuts. Nuts don’t have a super long shelf life so they are best bought from a place that has a high turnover – I buy mine from the Royal Nut Company, The Staple Store or Oasis and they are best stored in the fridge or freezer if you have room (they don’t freeze, just get cold and stay fresh). These are perfect served with drinks as we head into silly season.
Spiced Roasted Nuts
5 cups of raw nuts (I used 1 cup of each cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans and brazil nuts)
2 large sprigs of rosemary
2 tspn Maldon salt flakes
1 tspn cayenne pepper
4 tbspn maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 150C.
Place the rosemary in boiling water for 10 seconds. This releases the natural oils in the leaf and prevents in from burring when it is in the oven. Use your fingers to pull all the leaves of the stalks by running your fingers down the stalks. Finely chop the leaves – you should get 2-3 heaped tablespoons.
Place the nuts on a lined baking tray. Add the rosemary, salt, cayenne and maple syrup and mix until everything is coated and glossy. Bake for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then enjoy. Store any leftover in an airtight jar in the fridge.