What’s this? Five days until Christmas?
Of course I’m prepared! Cookies are baked, presents are not only bought, but wrapped! hahahahahaha!
Err, right… Tomorrow through Friday I’m going to be doing my annual stint with Trans-Siberian Orchestra which is kind of hampering my last-minute Christmas prep. This is the first day I’ve had off in about five weeks, so I feel less guilty and more helpless than anything. Whee!
If you’re stuck in a similar predicament, but still would like to make instead of purchase gifts, you can go the easy route and bake a lot of variously spiced nuts. Think of the people they’re for: do they like/dislike certain kinds of nuts and have a favorite cuisine? Pick a nut (or a mix) and a couple spices with some sort of liquid for glue, and you’re good!
Chile and lime is a flavor combination that is popular in south Texas thanks to its close proximity to Mexico. (Is it chile or chili? Google to the rescue!) These make a spicy, crunchy snack that can become super addictive. They would be great to have out at a party for nibbling with booze! Or, pair these with a six-pack or bottle of tequila and you’ve got an awesome gift.
These are pretty simple, but oh so tasty. I only used a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne, but could have definitely handled more. The garlic powder was a last minute idea that I think I’ll also add more of next time.
zest of one lime
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2-3 limes)
3 tablespoons chile powder
1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
optional: garlic powder to taste (I used maybe 1/4 teaspoon but could have used a lot more)
4 cups (1 pound) unsalted peanuts
Preheat oven to 250F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the zest, lime juice, chile powder, cayenne, salt, and garlic powder (if using). Add the peanuts and stir until thoroughly combined. (If you’re wondering about the photo, I mixed everything together in the measuring cup and then added that to the nuts!)
Dump the peanuts on a large rimmed baking sheet and spread out evenly. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until dry and fragrant, stirring every 15 minutes. Let the peanuts cool thoroughly, then store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
What sort of homemade gifts are you making this year, if any?