Sweet & Spicy Roasted Nuts 

Trader Joe’s Mixed Nuts

By Cat, Nov 2007 (recipe originally part of Soaking & Sprouting, etc.: Nuts and Seeds article)

(Photo right, from Wikimedia Commons, originally by Sage Ross)

I love walnuts, almonds, cashews and pecans, and am happy to eat them plain. But sometimes you want something special, like during the holidays, or you want to give them as gifts. This recipe is perfect for that.

See also: 1. Miscellaneous Menu, under “Nuts;” 2. Soaking & Sprouting, etc.: Nuts and Seeds

Sweet & Spicy Roasted Nuts 

This is based on a recipe in FineCooking.com (originally by Tony Rosenfeld). The nuts are sweetened with brown sugar & thyme, and spiced with chipotle powder. The original starts with raw nuts and roasts at  400° F for 10 minutes. Soaking the nuts first and slow-roasting at a low temperature (never above 150° F, to avoid denaturing the enzymes) provides a more nutritious result. However, see note above regarding cashews, if soaking first.

You’ll get the best flavor if you mix the roasted nuts with the remaining ingredients while still warm and right before serving.

If it’s too much bother to soak the cashews differently from the other nuts, roast them, un-soaked, with the soaked nuts as indicated below, to warm them.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Presoak:
  • ⅓-pound, each: unsalted raw almonds, pecans and cashews
  • 1 Tbsp unrefined sea salt for each 4 cups nuts
  • warm water (113 – 131° F)
  • Glaze (After soaking):
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Rapadura sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp (plus more, to taste) unrefined sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • Equipment:
  • 2 Mason jars, with lids fitted with screen; or cheesecloth and rubber bands (for soaking nuts)
  • dishtowel or other cloth for keeping jars in the dark
  • baking sheet
  • Mason or other lidded jars, for storage and/or gift-giving


If you don’t want to presoak them, skip to step 4.

  1. Presoak: Add salt to warm water; pour over almonds & pecans in one jar, and cashews in a separate jar. Screw on lids fitted with screen, or cover with cheesecloth secured with a rubber band. Cover both with a cloth and let rest on counter to soak: cashews: soak no more than 6 hours, or leave them raw (then warm with the soaked nuts in step 3; almonds & pecans: soak overnight, at least 12 hours.
  2. Rinse: After soaking, carefully drain through the lid or cheesecloth, rinse once and drain again.
  3. Dry/roast, or toast: Spread out on baking sheet and dry in oven: cashews: if presoaked: set oven at 200° – 225° F and roast just until dry, 12 – 24 hours until completely dry and crisp; alternately, don’t presoak and simply roast with the soaked nuts to warm them; almonds & pecans: set oven at lowest setting (about 150° F) and slow-roast for 24 hours.
  4. If you didn’t soak any of the nuts, scatter them on the baking sheet and roast at 400° F for 10 minutes.
  5. Sweet & spicy glaze: Remove from oven and transfer nuts to a bowl. Add butter and toss well.
  6. In separate bowl, combine sugar, thyme chipotle, and salt; add to buttered nuts in bowl and toss again, to coat evenly. 6. Adjust seasoning with more salt to taste, and
  7. Serve while still warm, or store in airtight container up to 3 days.

If giving these as gifts: 

Option 1:

  • Give already-prepared sweet and spicy nuts. Be sure to include instructions as to storage: “Store in airtight container, up to 3 days.

Option 2:

  • Give roasted nuts in one container, and glaze flavorings in a separate container: sugar, thyme, salt and chipotle. Include instructions to “Warm nuts in a slow oven (150°F), toss with (amount) butter and then with the spice mixture right before serving. Store in airtight container, up to 3 days.
  • Be sure to include how much butter for the portion of nuts. For example, if each gift is ¼ recipe, about ½ Tbsp butter is needed.


  1. FineCooking.com recipe (originally by Tony Rosenfeld): finecooking.com/recipes/sweet-spicy-roasted-mixed-nuts.aspx

About Cat

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