Sweet, salty and savoury. Add mixed nuts to that combo and I am all over it – completely on board. If there is one snack I couldn’t live without, it would have to be mixed nuts. If I had to get really particular, I would say pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios and almonds are my fave. If I had to get even more specific, I would have to say I love combining praline pecans, with salted mixed nuts any time, any where. I have a cupboard full of nuts, trail mixes, salted, shelled peanuts and dark chocolate covered almonds (another weakness of mine).
I know snacking isn’t a great habit but I happen to be addicted. So, I figure if I’m going to snack I might as well aim for healthy. Mind you, praline pecans don’t necessarily count as healthy, but whose watching? Honestly, I usually snack on almonds or mixed nuts, the praline pecans are a special treat (don’t they remind you of fairs, baseball games or if you are from the Toronto area, the CNE). Dessert for me is often a few dark chocolate covered almonds, so I feel no guilt there. Seeing as I married a dessert fanatic, I am amazed that I haven’t fallen in that trap.
So in keeping with my love of mixed nuts and of combining different styles of nuts, I thought I would make two recipes – one sweet, one savoury and combine them, along with a few plain, salted nuts just to balance things out. Of course, both recipes are stand alone so if this combo doesn’t sound like your thing, they can stay solo.
Praline Pecans and Almonds:
Start with fresh whole pecans and almonds.
While the recipe calls for rosemary and thyme, I just used rosemary. I just wanted to keep this one simple.
Mix the egg white and water until the mixture is frothy. Combine the brown sugar and salt. Then, combine the wet and dry ingredients together.
Add the pecans and almonds to the brown sugar and egg whites and combine until well coated.
Savoury Mixed Nuts:
Melt the butter on the stove until lightly browned. It’s important to watch the butter carefully so that it doesn’t burn. Mix the brown sugar, salt, cayenne and rosemary together in a small bowl. Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
The roasted mixed nuts are ready for the oven.
The scent of the roasted nuts, sugar and rosemary will fill your kitchen when you remove these nuts from the oven.
Combining the two recipes:
Praline Pecans and Almond Recipe:
The recipe is modified from oprah.com. She calls just for pecans but I included almonds as well. She also calls for pecan halves, but I prefer them whole.
- Canola oil cooking spray
- 2 egg whites
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 3 cups of pecans and almonds
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Pre-heat oven to 300°. Lightly spray a large, rimmed baking sheet with oil. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites and 2 tsp. water until very frothy, about 30 seconds. Stir in sugar and salt until well combined, then add pecans and toss to coat. Spread out mixture evenly on prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until crisp, about 25 minutes. Give pecans one final stir to break them up, and then set aside to let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Brown-Butter Nut Mix with Rosemary and Thyme
This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s website. I omitted the thyme, as I was combining this recipe with the one above.
- 10 cups mixed nuts such as pecans, cashews, whole skin-on almonds, Marcona almonds, and peanuts
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves only
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until brown and fragrant, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until melted. Continue cooking until butter becomes fragrant and golden brown, taking care not to burn. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together sugar, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, and rosemary; mix in brown butter. Add nuts and toss to combine. Return nuts to baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake until nuts are semidry, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.