Elevate your next party or outdoor adventure with this irresistible savory, sweet and spicy nut mix. The well-balanced mixed nuts, with just a hint of curry and coconut, are ideal as fancy cocktail nuts or an exotic trail mix.
What Makes This Nut Mix So Great
It was at one of Rebecca Berlant’s outstanding dinner parties back in Brooklyn, where we first tried this kind of homemade nut mix. On first bite, the nuts seem pleasantly savory, sweet and spicy. And then you realize that you keep going back to eat more and more and more and… that’s when Scott dubbed them Crack Nuts.
We immediately requested the recipe for what Rebecca called something like… Asian Spice Nuts, maybe? No one remembers the original name (or which magazine featured the base recipe) because the name Crack Nuts stuck. No offense to anyone – but for a simple snack, this is very addictive. Fortunately, it’s also pretty healthy.
Over the years, we’ve served countless bowls of these candied coconut curry mixed nuts at parties, potlucks and picnics. In the process, Luci played around with the recipe a little bit and came up with our ultimate Crack Nuts recipe.
Our Crack Nuts have just the right balance between sweet and savory – and you can dial in your own level of spiciness. The flavor of the nuts themselves still stands in the foreground with just a hint of curry, coconut and honey. There is a reason why you’ll keep coming back for more.
Crack Nuts are even gluten free! FYI: nuts and cayenne pepper are naturally gluten free. However, in theory nuts and spices can come in touch with gluten during processing. Just check the labels. Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste is marked as gluten free.
Besides the honey, the coconut curry mixed nuts are also keto-friendly! (You wrestle with your own demons about having a minuscule amount of honey.)
It’s so quick and super easy for you to have your own homemade spicy cocktail nuts. In no time, you’ll have a delicious snack mix packed with protein and all the good fats. Perfect to offer with cocktails to guests, bring as a side dish to a party, or take on an outdoor adventure. That is: if you can keep yourself from eating all the nuts before you leave the house. Again, they’re called Crack Nuts for a reason…
So let’s get to it:
Crack Nuts Recipe Ingredients
4 cups nuts (your choice, see Happier Tips below)
4 tbsp unrefined coconut oil (or olive oil)
1/4 cup honey (liquid)
4 tbsp green curry paste (Asian food section in US grocery stores)
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (1 – 4 dashes per your spicy desire)
Crack Nuts Recipe Instructions
- Preheat oven to 300 F (150 C) and cover baking sheet with parchment paper.
- If using unrefined coconut oil, heat it to liquid state. 10 seconds in microwave would do the trick. Olive oil and refined coconut oil don’t need this step since they’re already liquid.
- Mix oil, honey, green curry paste, salt and 1/3 cup of shredded coconuts. We recommend using a small pitcher.
- Pour mixture over nuts and stir gently (don’t break all the fancy whole cashews you invested in) until nuts are covered evenly. The complete mixture will be rather moist. Don’t worry; after baking and cooling this moisture will be gone.
- Spread nuts in a single layer on baking sheet. 4 cups of nuts should fit perfectly on an average oven-sized baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Stir nuts and get them back to a single layer.
- Bake for another 10 minutes. But keep an eye on them.
- Toss 2 tbsp of shredded coconut over the nut mixture.
- Bake for another 2 – 5 minutes to toast the coconuts.
- Let cool on the pan to ensure the delicious coating hardens and sticks to the nuts (instead of your hands or the parchment paper).
- Enjoy and do try to share.
THE OVEN: We cannot emphasize this enough: oven temperatures and therefore times may vary. Please keep a close eye on the nut mix in the oven – especially during the last few minutes. Most recipes for oven-roasted nuts suggest a temperature of 350 F – and then still roast them for up to 30 minutes. That has never worked for us. 300 F for about 20 – 25 minutes usually works best.
THE NUTS: Because this recipe works just as great with just plain peanuts as it does with a big variety, including fancy nuts, you get to determine the price and level of fanciness of your coconut curry nuts.
We definitely recommend using only unsalted nuts and almonds. If available, you might want to go with raw nuts vs. roasted, so you’re in control of texture and get the most freshly roasted taste. If you’re using pre-roasted nuts, keep an even closer watch on the oven.
Personally, we usually use a mix of almonds, cashews, pecans and walnuts. For this batch we also added some raw peanuts and pistachios just to try those. The peanuts worked great – but the pricey pistachios seem to be wasted in this kind of a mix since their flavor is rather subtle.
THE DASH OF SPICE: We’ve been experimenting with the level of spiciness, which we’ve dialed up over the years by adding cayenne pepper. We recommend adding the cayenne pepper AFTER baking so you can keep playing with the amount of spiciness you desire. So count your “dashes” and know how to convert dashes to teaspoons for future reference: one dash is an 1/8 teaspoon. At this point, we add about 1/2 a teaspoon or more.
THE OIL: Using unrefined coconut oil will give the Curried Coconut Party Nuts a little extra coconut flavor. However, you do have to heat it up for a few seconds to make it liquid enough to mix well with the other ingredients and coat the nuts evenly. Refined olive oil doesn’t require that step since it’s already liquid – but it also doesn’t taste like coconuts. So why bother? Also, when using coconut oil, the nut mix turns out a little bit oilier at first – but that settles. Last but not least, it appears that despite the hype, olive oil is better for you than coconut oil. But it all depends on what you want.
RESTRAINT: Do try to refrain from eating them all at once as soon as they’re done. They do actually taste even better the next day when all the flavors have mingled and the coating has solidified fully.
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Let’s keep inspiring each other!
Have you tried these mixed nuts? Tell us about how you liked them or if did anything differently. Do you have your own recipe for homemade mixed nuts? What makes your recipe special or different? What foods do you like to take on outdoor adventures?
Any favorite snacks to go with a cocktail?
Please leave a reply below – inspired by these questions or whatever you’d like to share…