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 sevenspoons.net
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.