Life requires balance. Long days of work insist on subsequent days off to re-energize and inspire. Non-fiction reading and classic literature demand the occasional trashy romance novel thrown into the reading mix once in awhile. And most importantly when the sugar intake is high – as is often the case during this season – then one needs to balance that with a salty snack. Bring in the nuts.

These spiced nuts in and of themselves are an edible representation of  balanced living. Multiple dimensions of sweetness coat the nuts in the form of maple syrup and Turbinado sugar, while a savory finish lingers on the tongue thanks to fresh herbs and cayenne. Don’t be stingy with the salt – they can handle it, in fact they require it.


Feel free to leave out the egg white if it seems too much hassle but what you’ll be missing is an even thicker and crispier coat of sweet and salty perfection. If you do use the white make sure it’s whipped good and frothy – like a nice cap of foam found on your morning latte.

These spiced nuts make a lovely little hostess gift. I visited my local Goodwill and found several cool dishes costing no more than $1.99. A package of these nuts in a funky, little dish along with a festive bow makes a simple, inexpensive yet very appreciated gift.


Make sure to save some for yourself so you have a little salty snack to munch on while baking all your sweet holiday cookies and candies because remember, it’s all about balance.



Sweet and Savory Spiced Nuts
adapted from

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 egg white
1 pound raw, mixed nuts
Fleur de sel or other sea salt, to finish

Preheat an oven to 375ºF. Line a standard half sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the maple syrup and Turbinado (dark brown sugar is also fine). Once melted, remove from the heat and stir in the herbs, spices and salt.
In a large bowl whip the egg white until frothy. Toss in the nuts, then stir to coat. Add the butter and spice mixture. Spread nuts in a single layer on the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven, turning occasionally, until the nuts are glazed and shiny with a deep golden color, around 15 minutes. Remove from the oven then sprinkle lightly with more salt (fleur de sel or Maldon are great) and stir again.
Cool completely then store in an airtight container.
Makes 1 pound.

24 Responses to “Sweet and Savory spiced nuts”

  1. Mary Gene

    Well nuts to you!! Love these nuts, and you can be sure I’ll be making a batch to offset all of the sweets that go by, as well as a treat while we enjoy a sip or two during the holidays! Cheers to you!!

  2. Dana

    As I was planning my annual holiday goodies to give away, I realized that every single thing was sweet. I had already decided to do some kind of nuts and had also booked this recipe. Glad to know it’s great!

  3. Stephanie S

    I made some pumpkin spice nuts for Thanksgiving (a gluten-free snack for my host) and they turned out fantastic. This recipe looks even more enticing and may be the perfect host gift for Christmas (same gluten-free fellow). I agree with @Mary Gene, it’s nice to be able to have a savory snack for the holidays when everything else seems to be a sweet dessert. And these are almost effortless in preparation, so it’s easy to squeeze them into my holiday schedule!

  4. Kocinera

    These nuts look amazing! I’ve been mildly addicted to candied pecans this holiday season, so I’ve really been looking for a little something savory to help balance it out. This recipe looks perfect!

  5. Mariah S

    Just be cautious gifting this out, especially with anyone who deals with nut allergies. I just found out I am allergic to almonds!

  6. Nancy

    You’re right. These will make wonderful hostess gifts. I snatch up pretty little dishes at yard sales all year just for this sort of treat. Thanks so much posting this recipe.

  7. Stephanie

    This will make the perfect hostess gift (or even a gift to send home with some of my own guests). I just discovered your site through a series of clicks and I’m excited because I love salty-sweet and I get the impression you might have a few wonderful recipes up your sleeve.

    Thanks for sharing and happy holidays!



  8. Brenda

    I’ll be making these tomorrow for our plane trip to California! Great snack and I’m sure my father-in-law will love them. Thanks!

  9. Tina Monji

    I’ve got these in the oven now….this is the first time I’ve made spiced nuts. Very excited! Thanks

  10. Elyssa

    I just made these as a snack for an impromptu NYE get together – amazing!!! Thank you for sharing, I will definitely make these again! Happy 2013!

  11. Marissa

    I love this recipe – I’ve made it 4 times in the last 2 months for entertaining and everyone asks for the recipe. A couple tweaks – I double the cayenne and 1/2 the thyme. My last batch I added dried cranberries to give holiday color.


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