I wanted to make a memorable and delicious gift to give to my friends for Christmas (besides cookies). So I searched the internet for something different than your standard Christmas baked good, and came across a recipe for Spicy Maple Nuts. These nuts promised to be sweet, salty, spicy, and crunchy... and addictive! I read through the ingredients and immediately my interest was perked... the main ingredients were Sriracha (hot chili sauce) and maple syrup! WA-WHAT?! I would have never thought of using those two ingredients together. But somehow the completely opposite condiments made sense in a spicy and sweet recipe... and I could visualize (and almost taste) my Christmas nuts!
When I emptied my grocery bag of strange ingredients for the nuts onto my mom's kitchen counter on Sunday, she looked skeptical. But the Spicy Maple Nuts turned out great! My family (aka my taste testers) loved them. We agreed they were a great change-up from all the sweetness of the Christmas cookies (and cookie dough)... and were perfect with a much deserved cold beer!
Spicy Maple Nuts
recipe via SparkRecipes.com
1/4 c maple syrup
1 T Sriracha (or 1 t red chili flakes)
1 t smoked paprika
2 c mixed nuts
1 T sugar in the raw
black pepper and salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, mix together the maple syrup, Sriracha, and smoked paprika. Stir to combine, then add the nuts, stirring well to coat. (At this point, you can store the nuts in the fridge overnight or for a few hours to let the flavors soak in.)
- Spread the nuts in a thin, single layer on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes. (Nuts will still be sticky.)
- Remove the parchment or liner from the baking sheet, and allow the nuts to cool on the sheet/paper. While nuts are cooling, sprinkle with sugar, salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
As promised, these nuts are addictive! I brought some into work and one of my co-workers said (as she tossed handfuls into her mouth), "seriously, how do you stop eating these things?!". They are sweet, salty, spicy, and crunchy. The combination of hot chili sauce and sweet maple syrup makes these nuts taste so unique. It's like a party for your taste buds!
I think I will package them with a 6-pack of some good beer as gifts for my friends... 'cause the pairing of Spicy Maple Nuts and cold beer is just too good!