Is anybody else craving simplicity this holiday season? Maybe it’s the fact that I’m coming off of a week of two turkeys, three pies and more overindulgence than I’m willing to admit, but this week, I’m just looking to simplify. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as pumped for the holidays as the next gal — my house is already decked floor-to-ceiling in fir garlands and I’m already checking Christmas movies off my must-watch list — but this year, in lieu of hours in the kitchen baking for my family and friends, I’m hoping to slow down a bit and focus my energy on being present. To instead spend those extra hours in the company of my favorite people, rather than elbows deep in cookie dough. (That’s not to say there won’t be cookies, just fewer this year!)
So what does that have to do with snack mix? Well, in my opinion, a good snack mix is the ultimate holiday crowd pleaser. Humble, approachable, and universally appealing, its sweet and salty flavor is addicting and endlessly customizable, and it aligns perfectly with my mission to simplify. Big flavors, little effort, maximum impact. Are you convinced yet?
In order to ensure there’s not an ounce of snooze in this snack, I decided to go slightly non-traditional by spicing mine with a combination of curry powder and brown sugar. The complimentary warmth of both ingredients, savory and sweet, makes for an irresistible combination.
Curry’s hearty, deeply fragrant scent is present but not overpowering, proving pleasing to even the most traditional (read: picky) of eaters. In fact, it’s such a subtle touch of spice that you may find your guests puzzled over the “secret ingredient” that makes this mix so darn addicting.
And bonus: you can use any combination of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit that you have in the pantry. Just don’t skimp on the pretzels. They get perfectly toasty in the oven, resulting in a hearty crunch and caramelized coating — it’s a simple pleasure that’s not to be missed. Enjoy!
- 2 cups raw, unsalted mixed nuts of your choice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch garam masala
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Black pepper, to taste
- 2 1/2 cups small pretzels
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Toast the nuts on a large baking sheet for 10 minutes, stirring half way through to ensure even coating. Remove from the oven to let cool slightly, but leave oven on.
- In a medium bowl, add the melted butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, spices, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Add the nuts and stir to coat, then add the pretzels, dried cranberries and pepitas. Stir again until everything is well coated.
- Spread evenly onto the baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes, stirring every 6 minutes to ensure even baking. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack until completely cooled. Serve alongside holiday cocktails for an irresistible snack!