Roasted nuts are always popular over the holidays, though I have to confess I love to make and eat them all year 'round. They're the perfect afternoon pick-me-up at work and keep me from reaching for chocolate or caffeine. They’re also fantastic gifts for hard-to-buy individuals; after all, who doesn’t appreciate a delicious, handmade treat prepared with love?
You could totally win at teacher gifts this year with a bottle of wine and a bag of these beauties! Even very young kids can help out with preparing the nuts; older ones could be supervised to help with stirring the mixture as it bakes. You can double the recipe, but be sure to spread the nuts over two baking sheets so they will roast evenly.
These nuts will keep well at room temperature for about a month. They're perfect for cocktail parties, nibbling by the fire, or as an accessory on a cheese board. As with all edible gifts, look for fun packaging ideas – I found votive holders at IKEA that reminded me of old-fashioned candy dishes. Mason jars or pretty dollar store cellophane bags tied up with a bow work nicely as well!
1 pound (3.5 cups) mixed raw nuts (I like walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne (or more if you like things spicier)
3/4 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 tsp fleur de sel
Preheat oven to 325F.
Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine nuts in a large bowl.
Drizzle with maple syrup, and stir well to blend.
Add vegetable oil and stir again.
Combine cinnamon, paprika, cayenne in a small bowl.
Sprinkle spice mixture over nuts then sprinkle rosemary over top as well. Stir gently to combine.
Pour nuts onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading in a single layer. Be sure to scrape out the bowl so you get all the maple syrup and spices! Don’t worry if there’s a little puddle of maple syrup under the nuts – as the mixture cooks, the syrup will evaporate slightly and stick to the nuts.
Bake for 20 minutes, stirring carefully but thoroughly every 5 minutes.
As soon as the nuts have completed baking, remove from oven and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Stir gently.
Let nuts cool completely before packaging in airtight containers.
Makes one pound (3.5 cups) of irresistable snacks.