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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cinnamon Nuts with Dried Fruit

Bittman's new cookbook reminded me of a favorite recipe in another of his cookbooks. It takes about 20 minutes total, including preheating time, and is totally worth it. I like to throw in some high-quality chocolate chips for a real treat!

I have used peanut oil and vegetable oil. The nut oil does impart more flavor, but storage is trickier because it goes rancid faster. I keep the peanut oil in the fridge--but then have to remember to take it out in enough time so it is totally liquid. (I have placed the bottle in front of the vents for the preheating oven, but that can melt the bottle!) Other nut oils would be good, I'm sure, but they tend to be more expensive. Vegetable oil works just fine, too.

spiced almonds with dried cherries


Cinnamon Nuts with Dried Fruit

Source: Food Matters by Mark Bittman
Yields 6 c nut mixture

4 c raw, whole almonds
1/4 c vegetable or nut oil
2 c dried fruit (my favorites are cherries, cranberries, or apricots)
1 teas cinnamon
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450F. Place the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and toss well until evenly coated. Roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the warm nuts to a bowl. Add the fruit and cinnamon, then salt to taste. Cool briefly then serve. Store in an airtight container.

Note: This recipe has many successful variations. The one above is my favorite, but you can use any combination of raw, shelled nuts or seeds as well as a number of herbs or spices. Bittman suggests 2 T minced fresh rosemary, 2 teas ground cumin, a pinch or so of cayenne pepper, 1 teas ground cardamom, or 1/2 teas ground nutmeg or cloves in exchange for the cinnamon above. Also, you can play with the ratio of fruit to nuts. I used dried cherries in my latest batch, and people kept eating the cherries out of the mix, so next time I'll add maybe an extra cup of cherries.

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