Macrina's Nuts

Sweet & Spicy Nuts

This recipe comes from Leslie Mackie, owner of Seattle's fabulous Macrina Bakery.

Yes,this is the same Leslie Mackie….currently nominated by the James Beard Foundation as America's "Outstanding Pastry Chef."

Leslie is a true dynamo and I can offer no valid reason why her cookbook has languished on my shelf for so long. But this weekend, I pulled it out and quickly earmarked dozens of recipes I want to try: Olivia's Old-Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies, Sour Cherry Shortbread, Chocolate Cherry Pound Cake and the list goes on....

Since the bakery also serves lunch, she offers recipes for some of my favorite savory dishes too….Butternut Squash & Apple Gallette, Tuscan Tomato & Fennel Soup with White Beans, and her wonderful Bacon, Leek & Gruyere Quiche.

For my first foray, I started out with something simple...Sweet & Spicy Nuts.

Let me tell you....these nuts are fantastic!
I have a small burn on my finger because I absolutely could not wait. The wound is a small price to pay for a taste straight out of the oven. YUM!

With a touch of sweetness and just enough spicy warned...these nuts are positively addictive!

Sweet & Spicy Nuts
From Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook

(Makes 4 cups of nuts)

1 cup whole almonds
1 cup whole peanuts
1 cup whole pecans
1 cup walnut halves

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then brush top of the parchment paper with canola oil. (This method is better than using a Silpat. As the nuts coos, the coating gets quite syrupy and ran underneath my Silpat. Lesson learned. Make it easy on yourself...go with the parchment.)

Combine nuts in a medium bowl.

Combine spices in a small bowl. Mix well with a spoon, then pour the spice mixture over the nuts and toss together thoroughly.

Combine honey and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and place over low heat. Stirring frequently, heat just until mixture is warm. Pour the warm mixture over the nuts and toss together (it's best to use your hands) until nuts are evenly coated.

Pour the nuts onto the prepared baking sheet and spread them into a single layer (mine was not quite a single layer and I spent a lot of time breaking nuts apart. Do your best to get them in a single layer.) Bake on center rack of oven for 15-20 minutes, or until nuts take on a rich mahogany color.

Let nuts cool completely. At this point, they will have formed a single, crispy layer in the baking sheet. Break the nuts apart with your hands and store in an airtight container. Note: heat will melt the syrup on the nuts and make them sticky again. Store in a cool place.