Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Spiced Glazed Nuts and Pretzel Mix

By Leslie Budewitz

Readers often ask me why I write mysteries with food in them and I always answer honestly: I love eating. And I love spices. Writing a series set in a spice shop has given me even more reasons to play with flavors.

Some people say they don’t like “spicy” food, but they usually mean they’re put off by heat, not flavor. This recipe has a bit of both—but Pepper, my Spice Shop owner, always advises giving blends time for the edges to wear off, usually just a few hours.

Mr. Right and I made three batches of this at Christmas, mostly to share. Oh, alright, partly to share. If you’re serving these nuts at a party, as Pepper’s friend Laurel does in ASSAULT AND PEPPER, make extra and tuck them away to enjoy after your guests head home.

We ate them so fast the pictures are a tad blurry. Sorry!

Spiced Glazed Nuts and Pretzel Mix

2 cups mixed raw nuts: any combination of cashews, whole almonds, Spanish peanuts, pecan halves, or hazelnuts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1½ tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, kosher salt, or other coarse salt
2 cups mini pretzel twists; if you can’t find mini twists, break up larger twists or sticks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the nuts in a large bowl. Spread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring once. Leave the oven on after you remove the nuts.

Melt the butter, either on the stove top or in the microwave, and pour into the large bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and maple syrup.

Add the toasted nuts, still warm, to the bowl and stir until coated. Mix in the salt and pretzels, and stir until the nuts and pretzels are completely coated. (Adding the salt after the nuts and sugar mixture are stirred keeps the salt from dissolving.)

Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and toast in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, stirring twice during cooking. Remove from the oven and cool completely. The mixture can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

Makes about 4 cups.

When the mixture first comes out of the oven, you may taste a sharpness and fear that you overdid the cayenne. Remember Pepper’s advice—these flavors mellow beautifully in just a few hours.

ASSAULT AND PEPPER, March 3, 2015 (Berkley Prime Crime)
available for pre-order now.

Leslie Budewitz is the only author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction—the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, for Death al Dente (Berkley Prime Crime), and the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction, for Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books).

Connect with Leslie through her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.


  1. Yep, that little bit of cayenne will do it. Just a hint and pow! These nuts sound really good. Making a note of the recipe.

  2. those look yummy Leslie--I'd be afraid to have them in the house LOL

  3. You're so right about people meaning heat when they say they don't like spicy things. We're not super fond of heat around here but we do love flavor. These nuts sound terrific!

  4. I can imagine these vanishing really quickly. Sounds good!

  5. Leslie, I want these and I want them now! It's printing out as we speak. Great for parties too.



  6. Yes, they are great for parties -- Pepper's pal Laurel serves them at Flick Chicks, their Tuesday night movie club, in ASSAULT AND PEPPER. Take a little bag as a hostess gift to solve the problem of having too many of them around the house!

  7. Only a few more weeks until "Assault and Pepper" will be in my hands! Yay! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Two weeks to launch -- and this recipe is in the book, so you've got a head start! Thanks for your enthusiasm!