Thursday, November 3, 2011

Oh, Nuts!

I have an addiction to spice blends.  I admit it.  

Phew.  I feel a lot better getting that off my chest! 

I have tons and tons of tiny tins, jars and bottles of the most amazing spice blends - Jamaican Jerk, Thai Green Curry, Park Hill Maple Pepper, Chili and Lime... you get the point.  As much as I love these delicious spices, they usually sit unused for quite a long time.  They are so taste-specific, that they usually only "belong" to one or two recipes in my repertoire.  After months years of collecting, I decided I needed a plan to use them up.  I mean, how else am I going to clear enough room in the spice cabinet to buy new spices?!

Today, while flipping through the latest Food Network magazine, inspiration struck!  Spiced nuts!  YES.   We always have a ridiculous amount of nuts in the house (and that is besides the people), so I had everything I needed on hand already. I used a spice blend called Park Hill Maple Pepper from the fabulous spice shop, Savory (you can order online if there isn't a location near you). It is a mixture of maple sugar, black pepper, coriander, tumeric, ginger, nutmeg, cumin, mustard and lots of other fantastic flavors. A perfect sweet and savory blend.

Unfortunately, batch #1 was a huge FAIL.  I used the temperature/time recommendations from the magazine and managed to horribly burn the batch.  Ugh.  Word of caution - do not stray far from the oven during cooking time.  If you start smelling the nuts getting toasty, remove them asap... there is no recovering burnt nuts.  Luckily, batch #2 was a delicious success.  I lowered the temperature and decreased the cooking time.  Perfection! 

Park Hill Maple Pepper Spiced Nuts
Yield: 2 cups

1 cup unsalted or reduced salt peanuts
3/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp Park Hill Maple Pepper spice blend (or whatever spice blend that you happen to have sitting around in your spice cabinet)
Sprinkle of salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 400˚.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.

Mix nuts with vegetable oil and spices in a small bowl.  Stir until nuts are evenly coated.

Spread in an even layer on baking sheet.  Bake for 4-6 minutes, stirring once.  Pay close attention - the second they start getting golden brown, get them OUT of the oven!

Transfer to cooling rack lined with parchment paper or paper towels to cool.  Enjoy!

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