I returned from our China trip (recap coming soon!) to find Jan Scott's and Julie Van Rosendaal's new book Gatherings waiting for me in my mailbox. Getting good mail like this always makes my day. Move aside lame Michael's coupons and fliers for snow removal, there's a new cookbook to try!
The book outlines a number of potential entertaining situations ranging from kid's birthdays to unique events like a pantry party (!!) or pie party. Each party has it's own menu, recipes, and lots of entertaining tips to ensure that your gathering goes smoothly. It's a clever idea and the photos are beautiful.
It just so happened I was having my parents over for a tree decorating party that weekend, so I read through the holiday open house menu and decided to try out the sweet and spicy mixed nuts because they looked amazing and (more importantly) the steps were simple enough for my jet lagged brain to follow. Had I not chosen the nuts I would have gone with the birthday cake popcorn, it was a close second. Still planning on making that in the spirit of testing all birthday cake flavored confections.
The nuts are first folded in whipped egg whites and then shook up in a bag full of sugar and spices to coat them evenly. It was sort of like making shake-and-bake.. actually, it was exactly like making shake and bake minus the meat.
The nuts bake in the oven, and once cool they've got a crispy, sugary coating that shatters in your mouth and tastes both sweet (thanks to the cinnamon and brown sugar) and spicy (thanks to the cumin and pinch of cayenne pepper).
I'm looking forward to trying out the rest of the recipes that I have marked off, and seriously considering throwing a pantry party with my canning-loving friends.
Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts
Recipe from Gatherings by Jan Scott and Julie Van Rosendaal
1 egg white
2 cups (500ml) mixed nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts)
1/4 cup (60ml) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) brown sugar
1 TBSP (15ml) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2.5ml) cumin
1/2 tsp (2.5ml) coarse salt
pinch cayenne pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 325F (160C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
2. Place egg white in a medium mixing bowl and beat until frothy: add nuts and toss to coat.
3. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, cumin, salt, and cayenne in a plastic zip-top bag and shake to mix. Add the nuts, seal the bag and shake vigorously, until the nuts are completely coated with the spice mixture.
4. Spread in the nuts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time
5. Cool completely and break nuts apart if stuck together. Store in a tightly covered jar for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for a month
Full disclosure: This book was sent for me to review. However, I'm under no obligation to write anything and I only share reviews of the books that I've actually baked from, enjoyed, and would buy for my friends.
But you don't just have to take my word for it! Lots of bloggers are sharing what they thought this week, check out their their posted and upcoming posts:
Valerie from A Canadian Foodie