When a bar serves freshly roasted spiced nuts along with my cocktail I am in heaven. But more often than not, my cocktail drinking now happens at home with friends. This recipe is inspired the bar snacks I once had at The Union Square Café in New York, it is such an easy recipe to make at home and will make you and your guests feel totally spoiled. It is a brilliant one to have up your sleeve for impromptu parties over the holiday period.
How to perfectly balance your spiced nuts
These spiced nuts have just the right balance of salt, spice and sweetness to get your taste buds going, but they won’t leave you too stuffed to enjoy your dinner. They also give you maximum opportunity to inflict ‘toasted nut’ comments on your guests.
You can mix up the nuts to suit any allergies you are catering for, be sure to buy raw, unsalted nuts so you can control the flavour. I think a mixture of three types of nuts is perfect, but I often make this to use up odds and ends of nuts that I have in the cupboard too.
Prep your spiced nuts ahead
If you want to prep ahead, you can mix the flavoured butter a week ahead and store it, well wrapped in the fridge, or store it ready mixed in the freezer. You can also make the nuts, store them in an airtight container and reheat them just before serving. That said, this is a pretty low effort recipe so I usually put all my spices and butter in a frying pan then go off to get ready. Then, when my friends arrive, I just heat the butter while I toast my nuts.
Leftover spiced nuts are brilliant tossed into salads.
Ingredients (makes 2 ¼ cups – enough for 4-6 people with drinks)
Note – when using teaspoons to measure, I use a teaspoon measuring spoon rather than the type of spoon you’d stir tea with.
500g (2 ¼ cups or 18oz) shell off, un-roasted nuts – my favourite combo is raw whole almonds, walnuts, pecans and cashews. I buy each type separately and mix them myself. In the US I get my nuts at Trader Joe’s. In the UK, from Lidl.
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon (15g) butter
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
Active prep time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes
To make the spiced nuts
- Scatter the nuts into a large frying pan and cook them on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes, shaking every minute until they are golden and toasty.
- Put the butter, sugar, rosemary, smoked paprika and fennel seeds into the pan with the nuts, then cook on a medium high heat until the butter and sugar melt and thicken to a runny honey texture. Keep and eye on it as it can burn. I usually cook it for 4-5 minutes and stir every minute with a silicone spatula.
- Sprinkle the finished nuts with sea salt flakes and leave to cool on a serving platter for a few minutes before serving.
- If you want to refresh any leftovers, pop the flavored nuts into a dry frying pan and cook for a couple of minutes, being careful they don’t burn.
You can now buy the equipment I use in this recipe through my shop. I’ve spent years testing my favourite bits of equipment so rest-assured that whatever I recommend is the best tool for the job and will give you great results without cluttering your kitchen with unused tools.
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