Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Snack Mix

I've been making this snack mix for years. I can't remember when I first came across it. Probably in one of the daily newsletter emails I get from Martha Stewart. I keep getting drawn back to it because it's so darn easy and delicious. I gave this out to co-workers for Christmas this year and had some great reviews. It doesn't photograph particularly well but I can promise you it tastes better than it looks.

 Sweet and Spicy Snack Mix
very slightly modified from Martha Stewart
serves a crowd
  • 1 bag pretzel sticks
  • 2 cups natural (unsalted) almonds
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Line two large baking sheets with foil and top with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss together pretzels and almonds.

In a small saucepan, bring butter, sugar, cayenne, and water to a boil, stirring constantly. Once bubbling, pour over pretzel mixture in the bowl and gently toss to coat and combine.

Spread pretzel mixture in a single layer on prepared sheets. Bake until almonds are crisp, about 20 minutes, tossing occasionally. Cool on the sheet before serving. Package in individual bags if you're handing it out as a gift, or keep it in a large tin or storage container in a cool place. You could easily change things up by using different nuts in the mix. I've also made it with alphabet shaped pretzels when I couldn't find pretzel sticks. It was just as delicious.

Here's a lesson from me to you - while the finished product was delicious, there was a moment when I wasn't sure I was going to have gifts for people. I'm still getting used to having multiple racks in my oven. It didn't seem like the almonds were toasting so I left the mix in the oven a little longer than I should have. The result was a blackened mess on the bottom of one sheet. I spent about half an hour going through every pretzel and almond and picking out the ones that were too far gone. I think I ended up with at least a quarter of the batch in the garbage can.

A couple of "crispy" pretzels poking through
All this to say that, just because you might think your dish has turned into a disaster, there is usually a way to save it if you take a minute to think instead of immediately reacting and turfing the whole thing like I almost did. Even people who cook or bake all the time mess up. Don't let it discourage you or keep you from trying again.

What was your biggest kitchen disaster that you were able to salvage?


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