For me, parties (mine or someone else’s) serve as a culinary performance space. At other people’s parties, I try to bring snacks that are liked by a lot of people, but are also unique enough to stand out just a little. This nut / pretzel mix is one of my recent favorites: the mix of sweet and spicy and the contrasting crunchy textures of the pretzels and almonds makes it highly addictive.
Sweet and Spicy Pretzel Mix
2 cups pretzels [I think skinny sticks work better than normal pretzels, though I’ve done both]
1 cup natural almonds
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. brown sugar
Cayenne pepper (at least 1/8 tsp, up to 1 tsp)
Preheat oven to 300. Mix the pretzels and almonds in a large bowl.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter, brown sugar and cayenne pepper, blending together. Being careful not to burn or caramelize too much. As soon as the mixture is mixed and melted, pour over pretzel and nut mixture. Toss all together.
Spread pretzels and nut evenly on a baking sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes, until almonds are crisp. Cool on the sheet and serve. You can also store this in a tupperware for a few days, if you need to make it all ahead of time.