These crunchy nuts are seasoned with warming five spice powder, a mix of cinnamon, fennel, cloves, star anise, and white pepper that’s essential to Chinese cooking. Salty, pungent, and sweet, these nuts are a perfect foil for holiday cocktails. —Louisa Shafia
nuts of your choice (nuts can be raw, or roasted and unsalted)
Place the nuts in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, five spice powder, chili powder, salt, and orange juice to form a thick paste. Use a rubber spatula to scrape every last bit of the spice paste into the nuts, and toss to coat.
Transfer the nuts to a baking sheet, and spread evenly.
Bake the nuts for 10 minutes, then stir well to make sure they’re not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Rotate the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, and stir again. Reduce the heat to 300°F and bake for 10 minutes, until the nuts are dry and crunchy.
Remove from the heat and allow the nuts to cool to room temperature. They will become crunchier as they cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. If the nuts start to soften, crisp them up on a baking sheet in a 300°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
I'm fascinated by the way food connects us with different times, places, and each other. I live in Nashville, TN, a city rich with culinary traditions and a fast growing immigrant population. As Culinary Liaison for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, I organize events that unite people around food and spotlight the work of immigrant chefs. My cookbook The New Persian Kitchen is a winner of Food52's Piglet award. I love cooking Iranian rice and hearing people crunch on the crispy tahdig from the bottom of the pot. Find my Persian Rice Bonnet and Persian Spice Kit on my website and on Etsy.