Spicy caramel nuts

I am no Nigella Lawson!  When she gives a dinner party for friends she gives the impression that she wanders in from work and throws together a fabulous feast.  When I have a dinner party it takes me all week to move the billion and one toys out of the downstairs living space to be hidden out of sight upstairs.  Then the dusting, which has been put off for more weeks than is reasonable, has to be undertaken.  Then the sweeping and the mopping.  I don’t want my friends to see how slovenly I really am! So last week was a week of preparation for a gathering of friends at our house on saturday night.

I love having friends over and hearing the house ring with laughter and I love cooking something for everyone to share.  These nuts went down well with everyone.  Watch out though, one or two handfuls and you are hooked…

150g caster sugar
150ml water
1 tsp fennel seed
1½ tsp cumin seed
½ tsp crushed chilli
salt and pepper
400g mixed nuts and seeds


Place the sugar and water into a heavy based pan and heat over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Turn the heat up and bring to a boil and boil for about five minutes until the mixture has turned darker and is syrupy.  Add the spices.

Place the nuts onto a silicone sheet on a baking tray (a silicone sheet prevents the nuts from being stuck forever to your baking try) and pour over the syrup, being very careful as it is extremely hot. Put the baking tray into a preheated oven at 200°c, gas mark 6 for 5-6 minutes until the nuts have toasted.  Leave to cool and the syrup will harden.  Break up into chunks and serve with pre dinner drinks.

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16 thoughts on “Spicy caramel nuts”

  1. I do that too – not wanting people to know how slovenly I am! I’m sure your house is in a far better state than mine generally but thanks for your post to make me feel a little better! 🙂
    The nuts look lovely.
    Shows that you put a lot of effort into your dinner party if you served hime made pre-dinner nibbles too! Well done.

  2. These sound scrummy – a bit like an up-market version of peanut brittle – which I always loved and haven’t had in ages. I would definitely have to limit myself to ‘one or two’ … or possibly three or four handfuls only!

  3. Oh those nuts look so delicious. Can’t quite get my head around using fennel, but if you say it works, I’ll just have to believe it. I had friends over for lunch last week while I was on holiday and spent several days beforehand cleaning up and I don’t have the very good excuse of children.

    1. Thank goodness I am not alone. The fennel does work, but you could use whatever other spice floats your boat. Mr OC doesn’t like fennel seed and I received no complaints….

  4. I love that you were bothered to make nibbles, as well as no doubt some proper food. Very lovely.

    In our house, when we have visitors 1 does the cleaning, 1 the cooking – no prizes for guessing who does what. Very happy with this arrangement!

  5. One of my favorite flavor combinations is sweet and spicy–I just love party nuts, and these sound delicious. We just came back from visiting our son for his 28th birthday, and he still fondly remembers sitting at the top of the stairs as a child during our dinner parties listening to the laughter coming from the dining room. How bad could that be?

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