Caramelized Spiced Nuts

Aya Brackett

Sugar and bit of spice make these only slightly more involved than plain roasted nuts, and even more addictive. Use all one kind of nut or a combination. Add seeds to the mix if you like; sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds all add flavor and texture.

Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: About 20 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons good-quality vegetable oil

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 2 teaspoons garam masala

  • 1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon cayenne

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups (about 1 pound) unsalted shelled nuts


1. Heat the oven to 450°F. Grease a baking sheet with the oil. Put a large skillet over high heat and add 2 cups water and the sugar. Bring to a boil and stir in the garam masala, cayenne, salt, and nuts. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced to a syrup, 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Turn the heat to low. Remove the nuts with a slotted spoon, letting the excess syrup drain off a bit and spread the nuts on the baking sheet. Be sure to turn off the burner when you’ve finished.

3. Roast the nuts for 10 minutes, tossing once or twice with a spatula. Remove from the oven and let cool—the sugar coating will be very hot, so resist sampling for a few minutes! The sugar coating will harden as the nuts cool. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 or 3 days.

Fiery Caramelized Nuts

Substitute a tablespoon or more finely chopped canned chipotle chile with the adobo sauce for the garam masala.

Rosemary Caramelized Nuts

Substitute 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary for the garam masala.

Recipe from How to Cook Everything: Completely Revised 20th Anniversary Edition (Photo: Aya Brackett)