I made this simple recipe en mass last week as gifts for my husband’s co-workers. We adore them so I wanted something they’d love without killing myself to get it done. I got requests for more nuts the same day, so I made another big batch and sent it off with Joe the next morning.
Though this would have been a great mid-December post for you to give as gifts, I think you can whip this up in time for your New Year’s Parties and have a delicious treat for your guests to snack on. It would also make the perfect hostess gift any time of year.
The base recipe for this comes from Elana’s Pantry. I’ve added my own spices and some of my own tricks to get the nuts just the way I want them.
Almonds don’t have the ridges and crevices that walnuts and pecans do, so my recipe has two separate instructions for the them. I found that almonds take 3 – 5 minutes longer to get nice and crunchy.
If you have granite counter tops, let the nuts cool on heavy duty aluminum foil there. The stone will pull the heat from the nuts quickly. They do stick together a little when you pack them in a jar. It’s just the nature of the ingredients.
A note about the oil: You want it to be tasteless and fresh. It is a major player in the overall flavor and if you’re oil is rancid, your nuts will taste rancid. I haven’t tried coconut oil but I bet it would make a fabulous tropical flavored nut.
An equally yummy variation is to use 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder instead of the cinnamon and cayenne. If you still have squash seeds lying around like me, you can roast those, too.
- 2 cups of almonds, pecans, or walnuts – roast each type of nut individually
- 2 tablespoons agave
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or canola oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons good quality cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
- Place a rack in the middle of your oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place nuts in a large bowl. When you roast the nuts, roast each variety in separate glass or ceramic baking dishes as their roasting times vary slightly. You can put two dishes of nuts in the oven at once so long as they fit on the same middle rack. If the nuts are too close to the heating element they’ll burn.
- Combine agave, oil, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne powder in a glass measuring cup. Pour mixture over nuts and toss to coat completely. Place nuts in a glass baking dish in a single layer. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, stirring after 6 minutes. Test for doneness at 12 minutes. Nuts will still be soft when done and will get crisp as they cool.
- Let nuts cool in glass dish for a few minutes. Stir to toss nuts in any remaining agave mix on the bottom of the pan. Place on heavy duty aluminum foil to cool completely, separating nuts as much as possible so they don’t dry in clumps.
- For almonds: these take several more minutes to cook. Once cooked, allow to cool in pan, tossing in agave mix. Since the almonds have no ridges to soak up the flavoring, you may need to add a little salt, cinnamon, or cayenne. Taste the nuts and adjust the seasoning as needed. Once they’ve cooled and have nice globs of spicy cinnamon agave on them, move them to heavy duty aluminum foil to cool completely.
- Store in mason jars for optimal freshness.
Variation: Use 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder in place of the cinnamon and cayenne.