Sweet and Spicy Pretzel and Nut Mix

By • December 18, 2010 • 32 Comments

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Author Notes: Last year, my husband needed an hors d'oeuvre or snack to bring to his holiday party at work. We both love nuts -- especially when they're roasted with sweet and hot spices -- so I adapted this recipe from David Lebovitz, changing the spice mix. The chocolate gives it some depth, and the ginger and cayenne add sweet heat. The great thing about this recipe is that you can make a ton of it. And the not great thing -- you won't be able to stop eating it.drbabs

Food52 Review: I'm not someone who considers herself above the myriad flavors of Chex Mix out there, but sometimes I just want something a little fancier -- a grown-up Chex Mix, you could say. This recipe boasts a long list of spices, and while balancing so many flavors in spice-heavy recipes can be difficult, drbarbs succeeds here. Spicy first from actual flavors, then from the heat of cayenne, this mix is above anything you'd find in the grocery store.Amanda Arnold

Makes about 8 cups

  • 4 cups large raw nuts (I used a combination of pecans, almonds, and cashews)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne or aleppo pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 cups unsalted pretzel twists
  1. Heat the oven to 350° F. Line a large cookie sheet with foil or parchment. Spread the nuts in an even layer and bake for about 10 minutes, turning the cookie sheet and stirring halfway through, just until the nuts are lightly roasted and become fragrant.
  2. While the nuts are toasting, place the brown sugar, spices (excluding the salt), maple syrup, and melted butter into a large bowl and stir together. Pour in the warm nuts and stir until coated.
  3. Add in the pretzels and salt and stir until thoroughly blended and coated, taking care not to break up pretzels. Spread the mixture onto the lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring twice during baking. Watch them carefully so that they don't burn.
  4. Remove the mixture from the oven and let everything cool completely before storing it.
  5. The snack mix will stay fresh for about a week when stored in an airtight container.

Tags: Christmas, edible gift, entertaining, Holidays, hors d'oeuvres, snacking mix, sweet and savory, Thanksgiving

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Comments (32) Questions (0)

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5 months ago barb48

Could honey be subbed for the syrup?

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4 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I think so, but I haven't tried it.

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5 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Good news, people. You don't have to separate out the pretzels for cooling. I'm editing the recipe now.

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5 months ago Wollie

Made this recipe a week before Thanksgiving. Everyone loved the nuts but for the most part no one liked the pretzels so I ended up tossing them in the trash. My suggestion is to omit the pretzel steps (which are the most time consuming anyway) and just prepare the nuts. They keep a long time as I've been munching on them off and on for 4 weeks stored in a ziplock at room temperature with no degradation in the wonderful taste and plan to serve them next week at Christmas.

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5 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hi Wollie. Thanks for your comment. I have them in the oven now, and I'm experimenting with not separating the pretzels to cool (which is admittedly a pain in the ass). I personally find the mix to be a tad rich without the pretzels, but to each her own. I'm glad you're enjoying them.

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5 months ago chris

Different strokes; my group went for the pretzels, first!

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5 months ago LULULAND

WONDERING IF I CAN'T FIND UNSALTED PRETZELS, COULD I JUST LEAVE OUT THE SALT THAT IS CALLED FOR IN THE RECIPE?

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5 months ago chris

I used salted pretzels, and cut the recipe's salt to a heaping 1 tsp.

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5 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

That's what I do.

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5 months ago Ann

It sort of depends how salty you like things. My market ended up having 1 brand of unsalted pretzels, which totally shocked me as I never noticed them before, so I bought them. If your pretzels look really salty, I'd skip the additional salt, but it really is personal choice.

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5 months ago pamelalee

My mix is in the oven. I’m wondering why we need to separate out the pretzels to cool separately?

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5 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I do out so that the pretzels don't stick to the nuts and then break. Someone wrote below that she didn't separate them and she didn't have a problem.

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5 months ago SophieL

Getting ready to make my second batch of this to give as Christmas gifts. This time I'll increase the aleppo pepper a little for a bit more kick (maybe my pepper was a getting old) or sub ground red chipotle pepper. I happened to find raw Brazilian nuts so will use that as part of the nut mix. The pretzels add variety as well as keep the overall cost down (especially since I am adding Brazilian nuts). And I was able to separate the pretzels with my fingers so that went faster than using tongs. Great recipe!

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5 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, Sophie, I'm so glad you like it.

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5 months ago Ann

I just made these and they are delicious, perfect amount if heat for us. Fishing out the pretzels was a bit of a pest, but doable. Next time I may omit the pretzels. Though a pretzel lover, I think I prefer seriously spiced nuts like these without them.

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5 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks for letting me know. I'm so glad you like it.

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5 months ago chris

This is dangerously delicious; I made a batch for Thanksgiving, but neither my husband nor I can stop eating it. Might have to make more! I'm going to hide a jar away, to see if it "stays fresh for longer than a week." I agree with Kimberly, it would make GREAT Christmas gifts ... if it stays crisp. I had my oven at 325, so I didn't have to watch it so carefully, and doubled the cooking time.

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5 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Good to know that worked!. I'm so glad you like it.

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5 months ago Connie Booth

So, how long did they stay fresh? I'm shipping a batch and am worried about how long they will last before becoming sticky rather than crunchy.

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5 months ago chris

A "test" container of my first batch is still crisp and crunchy after 15 days. No stickiness, at all. I plan to put some in tins, and mail them ... soon.

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5 months ago Connie Booth

Terrific!!! Thanks Chris!

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5 months ago Kimberly

Saw this recipe this morning, and knew I had to make it today for a dinner we are having - So so glad I made this, so yummy. Although I didn't have the clove, I did add a bit of Pasilla Chili power. I cant wait to make more, would make GREAT Christmas gifts !! thank you !

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5 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks for letting me know! I'm thrilled that you liked it.

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5 months ago Mary Gillis

This sounds great. I plan to make it for Thanksgiving snacking. My concern is that in the past I have found that cashews toast much more quickly than almonds or even pecans, so I plan to omit them or add them at a later stage of cooking. Also, I am gluten free so I will change up the pretzels--not sure I can get them unsalted, so I will likely reduce the salt. Thanks for the delicious-sounding recipe, I can't wait to try it!

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5 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks! I hope it works for you.

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5 months ago Mary Gillis

Going g-f worked great. I cut the salt in half and didn't bother to separate nuts and pretzels after baking...no clumping! This is a big hit and my house now smells like Christmas! Thanks for the recipe.

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6 months ago Mel b

Why do the pretzels and nuts need to cool separately?

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6 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

So they don't stick together.

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about 1 year ago Ann Hyland

Just made this for a friends bday cocktail party: AMAZING! For real, this is a new fav:) Thank you! Btws, didn't use any foil or parchment it was totally fine, didn't stick at all.

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about 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wow, thanks for letting me know! I'm so glad you liked it.

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over 3 years ago lorigoldsby

I made thisrecipe earlier this summer but omitted the cocoa powder for a friend who can't have it--it triggers migranes--so tasty, still sweet and spicy.

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over 3 years ago Niknud

Argh! This looks way to good. I know for a fact I would not be able to stop eating it and will NOT be making it this holiday season! :) BTW, thanks again for your help yesterday with the chocolate - it worked out perfectly and I gave you mad props in my recipe....now if I could just figure out how to submit it to the contest.....