These easy-to-make spiced nuts are crunchy and flavorful with a kick of heat from cayenne pepper. They make an elegant accompaniment to cocktails, a zesty component of a cheese board, or are delicious straight up as a savory snack. Try chopping them and adding them to your favorite cookie recipe for a real treat. Read on for the simple instructions:
- one cup of raw nuts we used whole almonds, but pecan halves, walnut halves, hazelnuts and peanuts can be used as well, or any combination
- 1 teaspoon anise seed
- 1/2 tsp cumin seed
- 6 allspice berries
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp dried ground cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp panela (unrefined sugar cane) or maple sugar
- coarse sea salt
- olive oil
Place all of the spices in a food mill or coffee grinder used to grind spices (it will leave a scent and a trace of the spice mix, so don’t use one that you use for your coffee unless you want it to be molé-infused!) or a mortar & pestle, and grind until you get a uniform fine powder.
Place 1 Tbsp olive oil in a heavy medium-sized pan or skillet (we used a cast iron skillet) on medium until heated. Gently and carefully swirl the heated oil in the pan so the bottom is evenly coated.
Place the nuts in the heated oil/pan and move them around with a wooden spoon so they lay in a single, even layer in the pan.
Stirring occasionally at first, when you start to smell the nuts toasting begin stirring them constantly so they toast evenly.
When they are lightly browned and smell toasted, remove from heat and add the ground spice mix, mixing thoroughly to coat the nuts. The cocoa powder in the spice blend will melt and create a thin paste that adheres the spices to a nut.
Let cool, then add the coarse sea salt to taste.
Place in your prettiest small dish and voila. Enjoy!