My ideal road trip snack is something that’s portable, easily eaten out of hand, and not terribly bad for you but not too virtuous either (sorry carrot sticks, you don't make the cut). Bonus points for anything that pulls off the trifecta of salty-sweet-spicy. And most importantly, it has to be easy to make because I'm usually too busy doing laundry at midnight and getting things ready to go to spend much time in the kitchen. The glazing method for the nuts is adapted from the Cooks Illustrated Best Recipe cookbook. Feel free to use other types of nuts and adjust seasonings to taste, though I highly recommend the dried cherries and apricots. Their sweet-tartness is perfect against the warm spices. —EmilyC
about 2 cups
1 ¼ cups raw, unsalted mixed nuts (I like cashews, almonds, pepitas)
¼ cup dried cherries
¼ cup dried apricots, chopped in bite-sized pieces
Heat oven to 350 degrees with oven rack in middle position. Line sheet pan with parchment paper and spread nuts in even layer; toast 4 minutes, shake and rotate pan, and continue to toast until fragrant and the color has darkened slightly, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer cookie sheet with nuts to wire cooling rack. Once cooled, toss in dried cherries, apricots, and coconut. (I like my coconut untoasted, but toast it with the nuts if you prefer.)
Meanwhile, make spice mix by combining sea salt, curry powder, Aleppo pepper, cumin, and ginger in a medium bowl (one large enough to hold the fruit and nuts once combined); set aside.
To make the glaze, bring bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, lime zest, and butter to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Stir in toasted nuts and fruit and cook, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until nuts are shiny and almost all liquid has evaporated, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Transfer glazed fruit and nut mixture to bowl with spices; toss well to evenly coat. Adjust level of heat and other spices to taste. Return mixture to parchment-lined sheet pan; spread in an even layer and let cool. Snack mix can be stored in an airtight container for about a week.