My kids have been growing like weeds; tall, lanky and pesky. Every time I turn around, it’s time to buy a bigger pair of shoes or a longer pair of pants. A side effect of all this growing is a never-ending hunger for snacks. I know, I know—the word "snack" sometimes sounds like a bad word when the media bombards us with warnings about our children’s nutritional well-being. But my kids function best when food is doled out every few hours – cranky and lethargic does not add to their appeal. Even their pediatrician chimed in, saying they needed to consume more protein to fuel their growing bodies. So I’ve made an effort to keep a variety of ready-made and home-made snacks on hand to keep them happy, healthy and going strong.
I’ve added this recipe for Orange & Cinnamon Spiced Nuts to my arsenal of snacks. The comforting taste of cinnamon and orange zest appeals to kids and parents alike and it’s a great after school snack or game night energy-booster. Plus, it makes a lot at once, which means my needy-weedy kids don’t run out of it the second I turn my back.
To get started, heat your oven to 325°F and gather the ingredients – almonds, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, sugar, egg whites, butter and oranges (for the fresh zest).
Spread the nuts in a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan and bake until lightly toasted (about 20 minutes).
Stir together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.
Grate 1 T. of fresh orange peel and set aside. I love to use a micro-plane to zip through this task, but the smallest holes on a box grater work just as well. If you zest over a piece of parchment it’s a snap to scrape the zest into your recipe. Two oranges should do the trick (let the kids finish the insides).
In a separate bowl, beat the whites of two eggs at high speed until soft peaks form. (A dollop of whites holds together but the top still "sags" a bit after being lifted).
Gradually start adding the sugar and spice mixture while continuing to beat the whites until stiff peaks are formed. (Now the egg white mixture looks glossy and "holds" the pattern made by the beaters).
Gently stir in the nuts and orange peel to the egg white mixture by hand until evenly coated.
Melt the butter in the same jelly roll pan used earlier to toast the nuts by popping it in the oven for a minute or two.
Spread the coated nut mixture back into the buttered pan.
Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, for 20 to 30 minutes or until nuts are browned and no butter remains.
Cool completely before storing. You can pre-portion them in zippered snack bags, or keep in an air tight container to maintain freshness.
I’d love to hear any comments you have about these Orange & Cinnamon Spiced Nuts…check back in a few days when Amanda will share a soup recipe perfect for a cold evening.
Emily is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.