It was going to be that kind of day. The kind of day when you wake up raring to go, have the best intentions, but then nothing goes right; the kind of day where you hear the “wah-wah” sound playing over and over in your head; the kind of day where you end up spending hours on something that you thought would be so simple…like spicy roasted nuts.
Never in a million years would I have thought that spiced nuts would give me the kind of trouble they did. The failed versions are crossed out and written over in my recipe notebook with descriptors like “Yuck!” and “Boo!” By far, the worst was chocolate-chipotle. The flavor of the mixture itself was very good, but once roasted in the oven, the chocolate burned and charred, leaving little black blobs where the nuts used to be. Other attempts were sadly flavorless.
Nothing was working…I wasn’t happy with the egg white coating or the vegetable oil coating. Then I remembered seeing this mouth-watering recipe for Buffalo Spiced Cocktail Nuts that Carolyn at All Day I Dream About Food made, and she used butter. Of course…butter! Why didn’t I think of that?? If not for the buttery inspiration from Carolyn’s recipe, I might still be in my kitchen trying to get this recipe right.
With that issue solved, it was time to up the ante with the spices. My rib rub tastes good on just about anything, so using that as a base, I added a little extra heat and came up with a version I was finally happy with. This version also happens to use beer, and since it only uses two tablespoons, the rest has to go somewhere, right? (A definite plus after fighting with nuts all day.)
Spicy Roasted Nuts
1/4 teaspoon each:
1/2 teaspoon each:
ground chipotle powder
fresh minced rosemary
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons beer (I used an amber lager)
1/2 cup each cashews, almonds, pecans
extra salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Mix together all the spices, then stir in melted butter and beer. Whisk until completely incorporated.
Add nuts and fold into spice mixture into completely coated.
Pour onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-13 minutes, stirring about every 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer off baking sheet and let cool completely on parchment paper. Toss with more salt to taste.
Grab that beer…the spice definitely comes through with these addictive nibbles. The smoky flavor of the chipotle lingers with a hint of rosemary, and then the cayenne comes in loud and clear. But it only makes you want to eat more…
So, yes, this unassuming bowl of nuts made me crazy, but it also reminded me that when it comes to cooking, you can always have a bad day. All in all, I’m pretty lucky I don’t have more.