The holiday season brings friendly gatherings. Friendly gatherings bring the need to feed people. Those people love snacks.
Sweet snacks are in abundance during the holidays but easy, tasty, savory snacks are more difficult, I think, especially snacks that can be made ahead and take absolutely no effort when guests arrive.
I used to just put out a bowl of mixed nuts.
Plain old mixed nuts . . . until I found this recipe, that is. This recipe takes nuts to a whole nother level, as we say at our house, a level that is exceptionally tasty, pretty addictive, not at all healthy, but totally worth the indulgence during this special season.
The recipe for Hot and Spicy Nuts comes from the good old Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook. This series of Silver Palate cookbooks was all the rage in the 1980s, which you can see by the shoulder pads and that one hairdo on the cover!
I’ve been making these spicy nuts for all those years and, even in the years when we do the absolute least for Christmas, I take the (minimal) time to make these.
Here’s the basic recipe, as it came out of the cookbook. I’ll follow with some comments.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1½ cups mixed unsalted roasted nuts
- 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over low heat.
- Add the remaining ingredients except the nuts and coarse salt.
- Simmer over low heat for several minutes to combine flavors.
- Add the nuts and stir until evenly coated. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.
- Toss the nuts with the coarse salt and let cool. Store in an airtight container.
- I’ve never used celery salt. I didn’t the first time and didn’t miss it so I’ve never used it.
- Use the nuts you like. I use unsalted cashews, pecans, and peanuts that I get in the bulk section of the grocery store. I also use sesame sticks and love them!
- Don’t bother making a single batch. Trust me and do at least double the amount.
- The kosher salt gets added at the end. I let the nuts cool for a few minutes then put the salt into a big paper bag, add the nuts, and shake it all up.
- Be careful about the amount of salt!! The recipe calls for a tablespoon but, even though I LOVE salt and often go looking for it, that is too much. For a doubled recipe, I use only 1.5 teaspoons.
- Make sure the nuts have completely cooled before you sample them and judge. They need to cool to be crispy and crunchy.
Make them today, to be sure you like them. Serve them when you put up your Christmas decorations. Serve them when you take the decorations down.
Serve them when carolers come over, at the Christmas Eve soiree, and let people snack before Christmas dinner.
Serve them for every college bowl game.
Serve them on Boxing Day, just because.
They are perfect for New Year’s Eve and super-perfect for your Super Bowl football party!
I already made a bunch of these . . . and they are gone. That is unacceptable so I’ll be making more soon. Will you join me?