Snack Addiction: Rosemary Spiced Nuts & Pretzel Bites

November 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

I hosted my very first Thanksgiving this year!  I bought a small, sweet pumpkin from Forever Young Farm, stuffed it with buttermilk-cornbread stuffing and chucked the whole thing in the oven for an hour — perfuming the house with scents of rosemary and winter squash — and called the feast, “Save a Turkey; Stuff a Pumpkin!”

In the two weeks preceding Thanksgiving, I hemmed and hawed: When should I serve the thick, vegetable soup?  How many desserts are too many desserts?  What can I give my guests at the peckish, midday hour to hold them over until my (undoubtedly delayed) afternoon mega-feast?  This last question put a twist in my noodle.  I wanted to serve appetizers that would be satisfying, but not put a brick in the stomach.  I often resort to simple blender-whiz things like hummus or riffs on that idea.  But this year, I decided to steer away from spreadables.  Instead, I roasted thick wedges of sweet potatoes and topped them with a tangy-avocado salad spiked with feta and nibbles of dried cranberries.  To drink, we clinked pear ale in champagne glasses.  To clear the palate, I filled a glass bowl with aromatic, sweet & spicy mixed nuts.  It was a delightfully satisfying beginning: No flavors rivaled one another; it wasn’t boring (no carrots, celery and globby ranch dressing).  It was a serendipitous start to a crisp day, spent near the warm oven, over bubbling pots and side-by-side with dear family.

1 cup cashews (raw, unsalted)
1 cup pecans (raw, unsalted)
1 cup almonds (raw, unsalted)

2 cups pretzel bites

2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon mild, Santa Cruz chili powder
1 teaspoon ancho powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt


1. Toast nuts in 325 convection oven for 10 minutes until fragrant and slightly browned.

2. Meanwhile, mix together sugar, syrup, spices and salt on the stove.  Once nuts are toasted, toss with pretzels in syrup and place on lined baking sheet.  Bake an additional 10 minutes until crisp.  Cool completely, then break apart and store in an air-tight container.  Can be made several days in advance.

Diet Notes: vegan


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