Posted on January 2 2012

Tartine Baking Project: #29 Spiced Cocktail Nuts

Happy New Year!!!

I’ve mentioned this already, but I love celebrating the New Year.  I get this burst of energy where I want to rearrange, repurpose and restore everything around me.  I like the freshness of it all, and the process of training myself to write 2012, instead of 2011.  That reminds me – I caught myself dating something 2006 the other day!  Not sure what that was about…

We had a small group of friends over for a little cocktail party on NYE.  Jack was away with his Nana and Papa, so we planned on having the party, and then heading out somewhere for the actual countdown.  I’d planned on today’s post being all about the details of the party.  The excitement of NYE must have gotten the best of me, because I only took two pictures: one of the punch bowl, and the other a photo of my friend’s lovely skirt.  So, I’ll get right down to business and talk about the lonesome underdog of the party – the spicy cocktail nuts. 

Roasting your own nuts is the easiest, and quickest endeavor, I promise. 

Cayenne pepper, rosemary and thyme.  Simon and Garfunkel sang about that, right?

Preparing the spices. 

The brilliant mix of nuts: Spanish peanuts, cashews, almonds, and pumpkin seeds.

I wrote down the measurements I needed for all of the nuts in cups, rather than weight, and I ended up with a bit more than I needed.  Lesson learned.  Maybe I’ll bring a measuring cup with me next time. 

Determined to coat every nut, I ditched the spoon, and dove right in.  I made the mistake of licking a finger and sneezed four times in a row, which is some kind of record for me. 

At the party, I served the gougères (which were a hit) along with a table full of veggies, cheeses, crackers, and shrimp.  And the champagne punch I used from Foodie Crush was a total win, as well.  This recipe of spiced cocktail nuts makes such a huge batch, and I think my mistake was serving them in a HUGE bowl, which really seemed to bump up their intimidation factor.  They had a bad location on the table too, and so they were pretty much forgotten about.  Poor things – no one ate them and they had to listen to a relentless line of unimaginative jokes about spicy nuts.  They really were quite spicy – you saw how much cayenne went into smothering them!  But, not so spicy that someone who is a total wimp with spices (ahem…me) would like, die, from eating them. 

I stared at the huge container of the cocktail nuts this morning, and concluded I could not eat them all.  Since we just got pummeled with the first real snow of the season, I’ve resolved to bring some “heat” to my friends and neighbors.  I’m going to be delivering some presents to ring in the New Year to people’s door steps!  (I used the labels I posted about right before Christmas.  Feel free to grab some here!)

Ready for delivery, but I think I need some snow shoes to really make this work! 

Happy New Year!  I am so thankful to have ended the year on such an exciting note with this project and blog, and am over the moon about what excitement 2012 will bring!  Thank you for being so supportive & encouraging! 

xoxo Emily

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