Toasted nuts are a great holiday snack.
Spiced nuts, sweet or savory, are an easy-to-make holiday snack or edible gift. Sally Sampson, the Boston-based author of “Party Nuts!” offered a few tips:
“When flavoring nuts, other than cashews,” she said, “start out with raw or toasted nuts, not salted.”
Be sure they’re fresh, not rancid (smelling like old cooking oil). “Buy at a store with a lot of turnover.”
Nuts can burn quickly. Keep tabs on them.
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Sampson’s Cajun pecans make a great gift: Lightly toast 2 cups pecan halves, stirring once, on a baking sheet at 350 degrees, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven; reduce oven to 325 degrees. Let pecans cool. Put in large bowl with 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, 3/4 teaspoon each ground cumin, paprika and garlic powder and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce. Toss to coat. Bake 15 minutes. Loosen nuts with spatula; let cool. Makes 2 cups.