Last weekend I made these spicy nuts for a get-together in our nano-house, to watch the Oklahoma x Nebraska college football game. A nail-biter of a game, fortunately with a happy ending for us OU fans.  Anxiety is a lot easier to take if you have something to munch on…   😉

The pepper coating gives this nuts an unusual look, but once you grab the first one, you will be going back for more, deliciously addictive they are.  You can substitute almonds, walnuts, in fact the original recipe called for whole, blanched almonds, but they did not have them at the store, I went with cashews instead. Extremely simple to prepare, with just the right balance of salty, hot, and sweet. Great recipe!

(adapted from Bon Appetit, 1997)

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 tsp water
2 cups whole cashews
1 Tbs ground black pepper
2 tsp salt

Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and butter the foil to prevent the nuts from sticking.  Heat the oven to 350 F.

Melt the butter in a skillet, add the brown sugar and water, mix until the sugar dissolves.  Add the cashews, mix them carefully to coat with the butter/sugar, lower the heat and cook, stirring often, for a few minutes, until the coating thickens slightly.  Meanwhile, mix the ground pepper and the salt in a small bowl.

Add half of the pepper/salt mixture to the cashews, mix gently.   Working quickly, transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, pressing with a spatula to keep them in a single layer.   Sprinkle the rest of the black pepper/salt all over, and bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.  Let it cool over a rack, then break the nuts apart, storing them in an air-proof container (they won’t last very long, they tend to mysteriously disappear).


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Folks in the cooking forum raved about this recipe, and their enthusiasm was what made me try it.  Plus, I tend to like contrasting flavors, so the idea of mixing brown sugar, salt, and pepper immediately perked my interest.   I imagine other seasonings   could work too: a little hot paprika, ground cumin… definitely worth experimenting.

ONE YEAR AGO: Ossobuco Milanese (one of my favorite dishes!)

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  1. My first time commenting, long time reading your blog. Made these nuts and they were fantastic, everyone who tried them asked me ‘what is in these nuts?
    I was afraid they would be too hot from all the pepper, but they are not. I now want to try the same thing with walnuts… hummmmm

    thank you for keeping such a nice blog going, I visit it all the time


  2. Pingback: curried zucchini soup with crispy pancetta – sights, bits & bites

  3. I’m preparing a special birthday dinner for a dear friend this evening, which includes osso bucco. Actually, we arrange to cook together one day per month, always using recipes that we’ve never made before. It’s fun because we switch kitchens each month and whoever is hosting chooses the recipes. This month happens to be *her* birthday and it’s at my home, so osso bucco is on the menu. I thought to make my standard rosemary cashews as a nibble while we cook. It’s a great recipe and everyone scarfs them up, just like your pepper cashews. I think I’ll use your recipe today, but would like to ask what kind of pepper. Is it coarse, fine or other?

    Liked by 1 person

    • it is a grind that we have here called “restaurant grind” (oh that helps a lot, I am sure) – anyway it is not fine, but not super coarse. If you can do it manually yourself, just don’t go super fine


  4. Dang. All I have in the house is fine (hubby can’t eat coarse, which *I* love) and a grinder that only seems to be able to make coarse. I went to FIVE stores yesterday looking for ingredients. I guess I’ll be going back today… Thanks for the explanation. I hadn’t heard of ‘restaurant grind’ before now. And you’re right. It doesn’t explain much… LOL


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