Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts {FFwD}

As in November, for the month of December French Fridays with Dorie will be free form. We have a list of five recipes from which to choose: Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts; My Go-to Beef Daube; Leek and Potato Soup; Speculoos; and (the one I lobbied for) Spiced Butter-Glazed Carrots. Each week, we are free to pick the recipe from the list that we would like to make and blog for that Friday.

For this first week of December I chose the first recipe, Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts. Weeknights around here are generally for simple, tried and true recipes or (more often) take out, and I reserve my experimental and club cooking/baking for the weekends. This means that I have to stay about a week ahead on FFwD to get my posts up by Friday. Unfortunately, with Thanksgiving last weekend, that didn’t happen, so I had to pick something I could easily make in the evening after work. This recipe seemed simple enough to make during the week, and as an added bonus, I had all the ingredients on hand.

The recipe is quick to mix up: I stirred sugar, salt, chili powder, cinnamon, and a pinch of cayenne powder in a bowl.

I stirred an egg white in another bowl, then added two cups of raw almonds and stirred to coat the nuts.

I added the sugar and spice mixture and mixed it all together.

The recipe says to take the nuts out of the bowl one at a time, scrape off the excess egg white, and place each nut individually on the baking sheet. Dorie apparently has a lot more patience than I do. After putting two or three nuts on the pan that way, I started putting them on the pan by the handful. The recipe also says to try to separate the nuts on the pan, but I found there were too many almonds to really do this.

I baked the nuts in a 300°F oven for 30 minutes, until the nuts were well-browned and the topping was mostly dry.

After cooling the nuts on the pan for a few minutes, I removed them to a Silpat, breaking them apart as I took them off the pan.

Looking at the almonds, I realized they probably would have looked better had I followed the instructions and scraped off the egg white mixture and separated the nuts on the pan. If I were making these for a cocktail party, I might go through the trouble. But I was making them for a TV snack, and for that they looked fine.

These almonds were delicious. Slightly sweet, and deliciously spicy, once I started eating them, I couldn’t stop. The chili and cayenne powders gave the nuts a nice kick, while the cinnamon and sugar provided just enough sweetness to make them addictive.

If you’re baking along with FFwD, or if you have Around My French Table and want a great recipe to try, don’t skip these cocktail nuts. But be warned: you may end up eating them all.

Note: Since writing this blog post, I learned a trick that keeps the nuts from sticking together as much. Mix the egg white with 1 tablespoon water, lemon juice, or lime juice and 1 teaspoon salt. Then, after tossing the nuts in the egg white mixture, drain in a colander before adding the spices.


  1. Kayte said,

    December 7, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Well, I am firmly in the camp of staying a week or two behind…lol…try as I might, that’s about where I find myself on this blog along. Kudos to everyone else for staying ahead. As usual, I find myself marching to a different drummer. At any rate, your nuts look great. Somehow that doesn’t sound right, but you know what I mean. Taking each one out and placing it on a tray is not a happening thing here either, I could tell immediately upon reading this. Eager to make this and see how it goes, it is getting rave reviews!

  2. December 6, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I was so lazy that I only too the time to break up the nuts for the photo but the people at work said that they liked that they were stuck together in brittle-like clusters because they could get more nuts at once out of the bowl without feeling like piggies!

    • gaaarp said,

      December 6, 2010 at 10:24 pm

      The people I work with had no compunction about taking handfuls of nuts. One lady came by mid-afternoon, took a few nuts, and said, “Oh, who am I kidding?” Then she took the rest of the container back to her desk!

  3. Renee said,

    December 6, 2010 at 1:09 am

    I agree. These were fantastic! So simple and yet huge results!! I ate almost all of them before taking them to a party. Yet I wasn’t embarassed to open a half eaten tub. They were good!

    • gaaarp said,

      December 6, 2010 at 10:21 pm

      Would it count for FFwD if I just make these every week for the rest of the month?

  4. Lana said,

    December 5, 2010 at 3:16 am

    I don’t think that I am going to go to the trouble of separating the nuts either:) They look fine to me (and I see your point of doing it if you want to impress the guests, as I am always guilty of:)
    I know that I will end up eating the whole batch if allowed, and it scares me. Yeah, yeah, it is the good fat, but my body does not know that:)
    I admire your adherence to a plan – my schedule lately has been so hectic that I cannot stay organized (and it bothers me immensely, because I believe in planing).

    • gaaarp said,

      December 5, 2010 at 1:51 pm

      It’s not so much adherence to a plan for me as it is an obsession with posting on time for the cooking/baking groups I’m in. The thought of being “late” or missing a post causes me undue stress.

      The more I think about it, I don’t think I’ll bother separating the nuts, even if I’m making them for company. No one at work seemed to mind, and the couple people I mentioned it to said they didn’t think they looked bad the way they were.

  5. Sarah said,

    December 3, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Looks awesome! If I’d had any almonds around, those would have been my 3rd nut of choice.

  6. Hornedfroggy said,

    December 3, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Lovely! I’m taking these to the bf and his friends – I think they’ll be a hit! 🙂

  7. December 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I made the cardamom version and they were also quite addicting. I’m going to definitely play around with this one some more!
    Trevor Sis. Boom.

    • gaaarp said,

      December 3, 2010 at 8:50 pm

      I’m going to try cardamom next. I bet that would be really good.

  8. Cher said,

    December 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    I agree! I try to get at least a week or so ahead as well. (I don’t know what I would have done if I guessed wrong on how this month was going to work – probably have made the nuts- which I am looking forward to trying since they have had so many rave reviews).

  9. stephirey said,

    December 3, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I”m with everyone else…staying a week ahead really helps. I made these nuts for Thanksgiving and everyone loved them. I did not have the patience to pull them out one by one (especially since I made a double batch). No one seemed to mind! Your almonds look so tasty!

  10. Sarah said,

    December 3, 2010 at 9:22 am

    We made these with cashews, and they were a huge hit! I think I might try with rosemary next time.

  11. December 3, 2010 at 6:56 am

    I made the nuts too! And I really liked them too. Just the right amount of heat.

  12. Krissy said,

    December 3, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Wonderful. I think I will choose this recipe to make next.

  13. December 2, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Oh, SO true about the non-stop eating hazard with these nuts; I’ve made them twice now and they don’t last very long at all!

    • gaaarp said,

      December 2, 2010 at 11:38 pm

      It was funny. I took them to work and put them on a table beside my desk. The same people kept walking past all day long, grabbing a few nuts here and there until they were gone.

  14. ComeUndone said,

    December 2, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    I totally agree with staying ahead of the recipe schedule too! I’ve settled into a nice routine of cooking and taking photos on weekends when I have plenty of natural lighting. The writing and posting can always wait.

    I too didn’t have to patience to pick up the nuts one by one. Glad I’m not the only one!

    • gaaarp said,

      December 2, 2010 at 11:37 pm

      I do the same thing. Cook and take pictures on the weekend, then write the blogs during the week as time permits. I try to have the blogs done well ahead of time, but that doesn’t always happen.

  15. Di said,

    December 2, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    I can’t wait to try these! I know what you mean about needing to be a week ahead for FFwD. There was no way I was going to get even a day ahead this week. But the weekend is coming! =)

    • gaaarp said,

      December 2, 2010 at 10:33 pm

      I’ll actually try to make two recipes this weekend, so I can get a little further ahead and have some breathing room. If I get really ambitious, I might try the beef daube and the glazed carrots together.

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