On an episode of BiteSize Cooking™ TV I did spicy nuts for nibbles. And like I do with all recipes, I try to find the common thread in the methods and then simplify the recipes so that all you need to learn is the fundamental ingredients and method and you can apply it to variations of the ingredients. For example, with spicing up nuts, predominantly, there are 2 methods of making them.

The first involves toasting the nuts first in the oven, and then creating mix of the spices and coatings in a saucepan on the stove usually with a syrup such as honey or golden syrup or similar, then adding the toasted nuts to the sweet spice mix and cooking it till the mix evaporates and the nuts are coated. You can then, either pour the nuts again onto a tray and bake for the coating to set, or, just leave the nuts coated and allow them to dry.

Generally with this method, the nuts that have been toasted first are just coated and cooked and allowed to dry on a tray, and nuts that are added to the spice mix raw, are then spread on a tray and roasted and dried afterwards. Either way will work, just depends on whether you’d prefer the toasted flavour under the coating. It’ll be a richer toasting flavour if you toast the nuts first.

The second method incorporates egg whites which are used to stick the spice mix to the nuts then the nuts and mixture are spread on a tray and baked to fix the coating to the nuts.

The great thing about both recipes is that you can vary the coating mixes and the nuts and basically come up with your own combinations.

I’ve created the base recipes for the two methods as…

Spicy Nuts – Toast and Evaporate Method
Spicy Nuts – Mix and Bake Method

I’ve chosen a few variations for each, but I’m sure you can come up with your own. You could also use any premixed spice such as Cajun, Ras el Hanout, Mole, Chinese Five Spice etc

The nuts are so quick and easy to make and if you’re someone who often has drop in visitors and doesn’t want to have to have cheese etc on hand to feed, them, these spicy nuts are inexpensive to make, taste great and are surprisingly filling. Great if you’ve got a dinner party and the courses are small, fill them up on the spicy nuts first.

The spiced nuts need to be stored in the fridge in an airtight container and will keep for about w week. They also make a nice gift for a Christmas stocking or hamper and are a nice thing to take to someone’s house as a gift when you’ve been invited for drinks or dinner.

To make the most flavourful spicy nuts, you must begin with the very freshest. Since there is really no way to tell how fresh a nut is from looking at it, the best precaution is to buy from a purveyor who sells in volume. Work on ¼ – ½ cup nuts per guest.

Happy Cooking!