With Thanksgiving coming up soon, it’s never a bad idea to start thinking about what sort of snacks you’ll need before the turkey (no, not Steelers-Ravens in the evening) for the early games without spoiling the feast. Roasted nuts are great for any part of the year, but for some reason we’re always so centered on grilling meats, putting together dips and sandwiches, and working on new bloody mary recipes for the first half of the football season we overlook the humble nut that pairs so well with all everything else we make for Sundays.
And there are few things on this earth that go together like beer, nuts and football on the TV.
Sweet Ancho Chile Roasted Cashews
Out of all the nut recipes I’ve posted over the years, this is one of my favorites. The smoked paprika giving extra depth to the mildly hot ancho chile, a little extra heat from the cayenne; big, fat crunchy raw sugar crystals on the crust; just the right amount of salt to the sweetness. You can also use this spice mixture on peanuts if you like, but the butteriness of the cashew really is the best play with the ancho and cayenne.
You will need:
1 pound raw cashews
1 egg white, room temperature
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 300º. Line a large jellyroll pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, mix together the raw sugar, kosher salt, ancho chile, smoked paprika and cayenne until throughly combined.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg white until very frothy. Not meringue thick, but more like a nice cappuccino froth. Add in the cashews and stir until the nuts are completely covered with the egg white. Fold in the sugar and spice mixture and turn until the cashews are evenly coated with seasoning.
Pour the cashews onto the pan and spread into an even layer of nuts. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring and tossing the cashews every 15 minutes.
While the nuts are roasting, place another piece of parchment paper on the counter. We’re going to cool the cashews on a clean surface because anyone who has ever roasted nuts knows that the bottom of the pan quickly becomes a morass of extra sugar and seasoning that becomes difficult to remove the nuts from once cooled.
Once the cashews are done, remove from the oven and transfer the cashews to the clean parchment paper, breaking apart any nuts that may stick together. Allow to cool for at least 15-20 minutes (don’t worry, they’ll still be warm if you prefer them toasty from the oven) and serve.
If not serving immediately, store in an airtight container up to a week.