Last year we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary with our first trip to San Francisco. We were guests at the W Hotel, which was a short walk from both the Ferry Building (food market) and Union Square (clothing stores). Yes, my husband planned that one perfectly for me. As soon as we arrive in town we ditched our bags at the hotel and headed straight to Alcatraz. It was a bright and sunny day, and we had clear views of the bridges and the city from Alcatraz. The tour is a self-paced audio tour, which we found to be quite interesting. If you have never been there, I definitely recommend going – especially on a nice day!
We returned to the hotel for a quick change before heading to dinner at Isa, when there was a knock on our door. Room service had brought by a bottle of champagne, a cheese tray, and a card wishing us a happy anniversary! The champagne and cheeses were delicious, but what was particularly delectable were the spiced nuts on the cheese tray. They were sweet with a great spicy kick. The only problem was that there weren’t enough! The next night we found our way to the hotel bar where we were able to order a bowl of them to snack on.
A few weeks after we returned home I set forth to make a similar cocktail nut. They turned out really well and were easy to make. We returned to the W in San Francisco last summer and stopped by the bar just to order the spiced nuts. We were actually disappointed when we tasted them, because as my husband put it, “yours are better than this!”.
I made my spiced nuts for my niece’s birthday party. This recipe makes a large batch, so if you're having a gathering they’ll feed your crowd. If you’re just making them to snack on yourself, be warned because they’re a bit addictive!
Kate’s 'W' Spiced Nuts
12-16 oz. Roasted Almonds
12-16 oz. Roasted & Salted Cashews
12-16 oz. Pecan Halves
12-16 oz. Macadamia Nuts
2 egg whites
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 250°F. Spray a baking sheet, liberally, with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk egg whites. Stir in sugar, cayenne pepper, and salt. Add nuts and toss until nuts are coated with egg white mixture.
Arrange nuts in a flat layer on baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, until nuts are golden but not burnt. Allow nuts to cool on baking sheet for 45 minutes, and then use a metal spatula to remove nuts from baking sheet. Break into bite-sized pieces and serve.