SuperBowl Snacks

As people prepare for Super Bowl parties, most will make sure they have chips and dip on hand for the big event. But why be like everyone else? Why not try something different this year? When I know there's going to be nibbling going on -- and isn't that every bit a part of Super Bowl Sunday as watching the cool commercials that get unveiled? -- I reach for my tried and true recipes featuring nuts.

This month, I'm offering you two of my favorites. The first is a spicy mix that features a variety of nuts and a south Indian theme. Anyone who enjoys a good curry, or any other spicy food for that matter, will be enjoying these by the handful. If you're planning a large get together, I recommend adding a bit more salt and some mini pretzels to stretch the snack mix a bit.

Tandoori Nuts

  • 1/2 cup low fat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 T. curry powder
  • 2 T. cumin
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp. ground hot red pepper or cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 4 c. nuts - I like to use a wide variety (like pecans, walnuts, almonds and pistachios)

Preheat the oven to 275° F.

Combine the yogurt, butter, and spices in a large bowl. Add the nuts, toss in the mix until the nuts are well coated. Spread them in a large, shallow baking pan. Bake the nuts uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or until the nuts are golden. Cool completely.

Store in a tightly covered container. If desired, toss with additional coarse salt and mini pretzels.

  • Yields: about 4 cups
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes

The second recipe I'm sharing is for those of you with a sweet tooth. Maple-glazed nuts are a special treat in my home. Although you can also make these with any standard sugar syrup, I highly recommend trying this version with real maple syrup. After all, the Super Bowl only happens once a year and these treats are definitely something to cheer about!

Maple-Glazed Pecans

  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups pecans

In an iron skillet or saucepan, stir together the syrup, cinnamon, butter, and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture becomes brown and thickens. Add the vanilla extract, then the nuts and toss until the nuts are covered evenly with the glaze. Quickly spread the nuts out and cool them on wax paper.

  • Yields: about 4 cups
  • Preparation Time: about 30 minutes