My friend Jamie gave me a new Barefoot Contessa cookbook called How Easy Is That? for Christmas. Our menu for Christmas Eve at my in-laws is appetizers and desserts (we like to keep it light before our big meal on Christmas—ha, ha!). When I looked to this new book for inspiration in my menu planning, I found this recipe. I made a batch yesterday and am happy to report that the nuts are delicious—spicy, smoky, and sweet. (In fact, I have to exercise some self-control to stop eating them!) I didn't have the exact quantities of the different nuts the original called for, so I substituted what I had. You can't taste the maple syrup, but it beautifully caramelizes the outsides of the nuts. Enjoy!
Sweet-Spicy Roasted Nuts
12 oz. whole roasted unsalted cashews
7 oz. walnut halves and pieces
7 oz. pecan halves
7 oz. whole almonds
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
Juice from 1 orange
2 tsp. chipotle chile powder (This has a smoky taste that regular chili powder lacks.)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 tsp. salt
1. Line a half-sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper; coat with cooking spray. Arrange nuts in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Combine syrup, next 4 ingredients, and 2 tsp. salt in a bowl. Pour over nuts on pan, and toss to coat.
2. Bake at 350° 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with additional 2 tsp. salt; toss to coat. Let cool in pan. Transfer to an airtight container.