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
Test Kitchen Notes
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
about 8 cups
large raw nuts (I used a combination of pecans, almonds, and cashews)
dark brown sugar
ground cayenne or aleppo pepper, to taste
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.
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.
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.
Remove the mixture from the oven and let everything cool completely before storing it.
The snack mix will stay fresh for about a week when stored in an airtight container.