Hello fellow fall-lovers, and welcome to the best time of year. A long, tomato and cocktail-filled summer is now behind us, and we can greet autumn with a warm scarf, warmly spiced sweets, a hot cup of coffee, and a comforting bowl of carrot ginger soup.
In an wonderfully cliché manner, I wandered around Berkeley neighborhoods with my man yesterday – hot coffee in hand and crunchable golden leaves galore – and I became giddy with the feeling that fall has finally arrived as I planned our evening menu of pumpkin leek soup with mustard croutons and roasted pumpkin seeds. The only things missing were a plaid flannel and boots. We may have also purchased decorative gourds and a pumpkin ale, and I may have required a cozy blanket while we enjoyed them out on the balcony. No shame – I want all the autumnal clichés! To round them out, we’re also having a pumpkin carving party soon.
Another thing that I always associate with cooler weather is spiced nuts. My mom makes a recipe I always devour – it has the usual autumn spice suspects and egg whites for a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth shell. This recipe is rich in chocolatey flavor, salty and sweetened with honey, and it packs a warm spice from a healthy dash of cayenne and cinnamon. Easy and fast to throw together, all the flavors blend beautifully together to make a wonderfully addictive snack or hostess gift.
Here’s what I did…
Honey Roasted Cocoa Chili Pecans
- 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 cups unsalted toasted nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts, or peanuts work well – or a mixture of your favorites)
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons honey
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, quickly combine the first four ingredients (through cinnamon). Toss the 4 cups of nuts into the bowl. (If you don’t have roasted nuts, place raw nuts on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes, stirring once halfway.)
Microwave the honey for about 15 seconds, until it becomes very liquidy – this makes it easier to coat all the nuts. Pour the honey over the coated nuts and toss everything to combine. (It might look like there’s too much cocoa powder at first, but keep stirring – it will all get hydrated by the honey and coat the nuts entirely.)
Empty the spiced nuts onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or buttered tinfoil). Bake the nuts at 350 for 8-10 minutes until deeply browned. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet. Once they’re just cool enough to handle (before they harden), break the nuts apart. Let cool completely and transfer to jars or another airtight container. Enjoy!
And don’t forget to check out Fiesta Friday for more recipe ideas!