Carnival-Style Roasted Spiced Nuts
Standing in 95 degree heat in a parking lot for nearly 6 hours while dancing is much harder at almost-35 than one would remember it being at, say, 32. For realz.
Today we’re coming out of recovery mode from this past weekends’ good times and for that, something a bit easy. But remember that on these pages, easy does not mean boring. Rather, I was surprised by how easy today’s delicious carnival style roasted spiced nuts were to make. You’ll see. But let’s chat a bit first.
Back to business as we virtually hit up Munchen in my return to 2005. Munich has a special place in my heart because during every visit and every subsequent return, it’s just so damn fun. The first time with the fantastic four took us to the hot spots: Hofbrauhaus; the BMW museum and Olympic park; a museum and a palace, and left us all with an addiction to Linzer cookies.
Oktoberfest, take I with Lettuce and Tomato had us staying in the city center to learn about some history, appreciate the architecture, the pretzels, the brats, the Linzers and the beer. For Oktoberfest, take II, we took it further with a bike trip through Bavaria, some dirndl shopping, a lunch trip to Salzburg, an attractive-but-stoic Austrian on the train, a standing date with the beer merry-go-round and an incident with a nut cart, and the latter is today’s inspiration.
One night during Oktoberfest, part II, as the nights activities were drawing to a close and we three were a bit…let me put it this way: Tomato was so red, I was so full and Lettuce was all giggles, we were looking for something to satisfy the late night beer-stomach munchies. As we debated the virtues of gingerbread, brats and nuts, we decided on nuts.
You know the nuts- the ones that are at every carnival and every amusement park. The kind that fills every breathable molecule within a twenty foot radius with sugared goodness. Those nuts.
However, as we made our way towards the nut cart, with shock and horror we realized that it was closing! And we would not make it there in time, despite Tomato’s best efforts as she ran towards it screaming, “No nut place! Don’t close!” Alas that night, there would be no nuts, but today’s recipe ensures that should you have a nut emergency, it can be easily tended to with minimal work, about 30 minutes in the oven and handfuls of delicious.
My research into this recipe led to the biggest surprise- the crispy, thick coating comes not from butter but from egg whites! I speak the truth. Of course I told mom this big discovery and she was like “yeah, that’s how Indian spiced nuts are made.”
Ugh. Mom. Way to be a know it all.
Moving on, I upped the ante with this recipe by combing the traditional cinnamon flavor with some essence borrowed from Marcus Samuelsson’s recipe which means we have vanilla, cinnamon, salt, paprika and cayenne. Sweet and savory. Also, pecans and walnuts to the mix, because why limit ourselves to almonds? Yes, yes and yes.
We had some of these packed away in our bags this past weekend when the beer munchies hit again, and thankfully did not have to rely on a lame nut cart. Perfect for picnics, snacks or gifts, these do not and will not disappoint.
- 2 egg whites
- 2 1/2 cups whole unsalted raw almonds
- 1 cup raw pecans
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 300F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bow, combine the sugars, spices and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl. beat the egg whites until medium peaks. Fold in the nuts and vanilla and coat well. Add the sugar mixture and make sure all is coated thoroughly.
- Divide the mixture evenly on the two cookie sheets, spreading the nuts to one layer. Bake about 45 minutes, stirring halfway in between, until the nuts are browned. Remove from onion, give it one more stir and let cool until hardened.
- Break into pieces, store in an airtight container.
Written whilst eating some nuts, of course.