Moroccan Spiced Walnuts

That there is one pretty jar of goodness….good on many levels.

GOOD tasting for sure. The walnuts are coated with a Moroccan seasoning mix called Ras el Hanout. That, in combination with just enough butter and brown sugar to make a crunchy coating, results in nuts that are sweet, salty and spicy all at the same time. A dream team.

GOOD to make because the recipe will take you about 15 minutes to knock out and can easily be doubled.

GOOD for whoever is on the receiving end since walnuts are enormously nourishing: high in healthy Omega-3 fats, protein, fiber, and antioxidants.  The spice mix contributes on the nutritional front too, since research shows healthy upsides to everything from turmeric to cinnamon to ginger.

GOOD for the cook because you get to nibble on the extras without getting a sugar high as is often the case with gifts from the kitchen. If you make your own Ras el Hanout, you’ll have a generous amount leftover to experiment in your cooking. Here you’ll find a Ras el Hanout tutorial with some recipe ideas.

I’ve been smitten with these Moroccan Spiced Walnuts ever since  attending a dinner last spring hosted by the California Walnuts folks. The recipe was developed by oh-so-talented cookbook author and chef, Joanne Weir, who sent us home from the dinner with goody bags full of  spiced nuts. I’ve been making them  ever since. They make a delicious snack, are wonderful over salads, and pretty served alongside a cheese plate.

 

Now, go spread the Moroccan walnut love. Be careful, it’s highly contagious.

Moroccan Spiced Walnuts

Moroccan Spiced Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons ras el hanout (store-bought or see Notes)
  • Large pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes.
  2. Over medium heat, in a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the ras el hanout, cayenne, salt, brown sugar and water. Stir until the sugar is melted, the mixture bubbles and looks foamy on top. Toss the warm walnuts with the butter mixture until thoroughly coated. Place in a single layer on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes. With a spoon, toss the walnuts. Return to the oven for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Break up the walnuts if they have stuck together.
  4. Store in an air-tight container.

Notes

Ras el Hanout Spice Mix -- In a small bowl, whisk together the following spices. Transfer what you don't use to a small container with a lid. 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 teaspoons ground cumin

3 teaspoons ground turmeric

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon mace

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Adapted from a recipe by Joanne Weir for California Walnuts