Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts

I’m in a confessional mood again: I have no self-control when it comes to eating nuts.  That means – I can’t stop munching them if they are in less than a mile radius from me.  They are dangerous!  They’re so dangerous I usually don’t keep them in the house because I would eat them all day, every day, and they’d be gone… They’re what I call the forbidden food in our home.  But then it happens to have company over, which implies the perfect excuse to stock up on as many pounds of nuts as possible and make these crazy irresistible Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts and totally impress my guests and show that I’m a great hostess.
I’m a firm believer that the old custom of tipping over some dreary salted peanuts in a colorful bowl and serve them to your guests is overdone and should just go extinct.  And this recipe will help you abandon that boring behavior for good and opt for something more sophisticated and exciting.  Simply put, this unpretentious mixture of crunchy, sweet, salty, a tad spicy, and a smidge unctuous equals the perfect appetizer, snack, gift or… downright addiction!  Your guests will be chomping them by the fistful in no time!   
I dig any recipe that doesn’t require you to slave an entire day in the kitchen.  And this Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts recipe is right up there; it’s a breeze to whip up and uses a mere four basic ingredients to create an utterly indulgent result.  On top of that, I love any kind of nuts and chief among them, cashews.  In this recipe, though, I decided to pair them with almonds for some variety.  But feel free to use any kind of nuts you prefer – almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, and the list goes on.  Then, all you have to do is roast, mix, toss and serve.  No fancy ingredients, no fancy equipment, no fancy procedures but a very fancy and infinitely delicious snack that will keep your guests happily nibbling on until the main players make it to the table.  And now, though with no company around, I’m ready to dive head first into a bowl of these Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts.  That’s right!  No guests?  No problem!  The bowl is all yours!
Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts
Adapted from Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis
Makes: 2 cups
Ingredients for the Chili-Infused Oil:
·         ½ cup olive oil
·         1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
Ingredients for the Roasted Nuts:
·         2 Tablespoons Chili-Infused Oil
·         1 cup raw unsalted whole almonds
·         1 cup raw unsalted whole cashews
·         1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
·         1 teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions for the Chili-Infused Oil:
In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes over low heat, stirring occasionally, until a thermometer inserted into the oil registers 180°F, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, about 30-45 minutes.  Transfer the oil and red pepper flakes to a 4-ounce bottle or other small container and seal the lid.  Refrigerate up to 1 month. 
Instructions for the Roasted Nuts:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
Place the almonds and cashews on a large baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15 minutes.  Take them out of the oven and allow the nuts to cool completely.   
Transfer the nuts to a medium bowl.  In a small bowl, stir 2 Tablespoons of Chili-Infused Oil, 1 Tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt to blend.  Pour the mixture over the nuts and toss to coat.  And serve!  
Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)

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