It occurred to me recently that I rarely make spiced nuts any time other than during the holidays. And then it occurred to me that that is really silly. All of the ingredients are readily available all year long. They're perfectly delicious all year long. And they're just the right amount of crunchy, spicy, salty and sweet to keep me away from all of the other more sinful options that fall into those categories. ;-)
So. I've decided that these are now an all-the-time snack in my house instead of just a holiday treat. Try them and see if you think that's a good decision.
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (plus more for dusting)
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 pound raw almonds (or really any nut. Pecans or cashews would be delicious, I bet.)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons water
Line a baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Mix the salt, chili powder, cayenne, cinnamon and orange zest together in a small bowl and set aside.
Place the nuts in a 10-inch cast iron skillet and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes until they just start to brown and smell toasted. Add the butter and stir until it melts. Add the spice mixture and stir to combine. Once combined, add coconut sugar and water, stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the nuts, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the nuts to the prepared sheet pan and separate them with a fork or spatula. Allow the nuts to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container for storage. Dust with a little extra cinnamon if desired to keep them from becoming too sticky. Can be stored up to 3 weeks.