Friday, October 22, 2010

Chef's Secret... Spiced Nuts for Christmas

Okay, I hesitate to write this recipe out because so many of my gift recipients get these for Christmas... I don't want them to feel like they're getting the short end of the stick because of how easy they are to make. Don't tell, okay?

These spiced nuts are gift recipient favorites for those who like spicy foods. I have a "Sweet" recipe that I do for the people who can't stand the heat, but that is for another time. I get my gift tins for $.50 or less at garage sales, thrift stores or free if I just ask people for them (believe me, neighbors tend to be happy to give them away because they take up so much space but are too nice to throw away!)


Olive oil
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper or to taste
1/2 tsp. chili powder or to taste
1 c. mixed nuts - I'm not a peanut fan so I use the Deluxe variety
2 to 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
paper towels (2 or 3)


1. Over medium heat, warm 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan; add the cayenne pepper and chili powder and heat for about 30 - 45 seconds - if you do it too long, the spices will turn black and will lose some of their potency.*

2. Add the mixed nuts and coat them with the spices - for 2 or 3 minutes.

3. Add the soy sauce to the nuts and coat the nuts. Stir over the heat until the pan is nearly dry. This will be the longest part of the recipe.

4. Put the nuts on the paper towels off to the side to cool.

5. Once the nuts are completely cooled, put some saran wrap into your gift tin or box so that the wrap is coming out over the top - it should make a little "Saran Pouch" inside the box. Fill the pouch with the nuts and tie off with string or ribbon. Put your lid on to keep them relatively air-tight and to complete your gift wrap!

* The amount of cayenne pepper and chili powder is easy to adjust. I would play with it a bit before sending these out as gifts. You might like a little more... or a little less!

This is one of our healthy snack recipes in the fall. Try some out - you can make them as spicy as you like! Check out for more great tips, ideas and Christmas goodies!

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