Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spiced up Snacks! Baked Kale Chips with chili oil & Seasoned Roasted Nuts

I'm always on the look out for new snacks and nibbles to make for myself or for friends when we're enjoying a glass of wine. After enjoying Brussel Sprout chips at a restaurant I was OBSESSED with making those for awhile (you can read about them HERE). Not long after that I kept seeing features for Kale chips. Baked low and slow the firm leafy kale crisps up and has a wonderful crunchy texture and earthy nutty flavor. High in vitamin C, K, & A, Iron, Calcium, & Antioxidants there are tons of healthy benefits to working kale into your rotation. For me the texture is a little firm for salads so I liked this alternative to munch down a whole bunch in one sitting (especially because they are less than half the calories of the same amount of other snack foods).

Now mixed nuts might not be low calorie but they are still a great source of pick me up protein and these seasoned nuts are TO DIE FOR! Probably one of the most addicting things I have ever made I now have to have them in the house at all times. I actually first made the recipe for a Holiday party I catered for family friends and the nuts went almost as quickly as the appetizers! I have tweaked the proportions of ingredients a little from the original recipe (which can be found on Epicurious posted by Melissa Clark in November 2007) to fit my personal tastes and what I think works best (there was some trial and error the first time I made them after the party).

Both of these recipes are super simple!

Baked Kale Chips with chili oil:


6-8 Full Lacinato Kale Leaves (or about 1/3 of a bag of chopped kale available at Trader Joe's)
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Tablespoon Chili Oil (this will have heat you can use less if you want just a dash of flavor)
Sea Salt to taste (you will probably need less than you think)


Pre heat oven to 275* F

Dry any moisture off of the kale leaves gently with kitchen towels. Tear into your preferred chip sized pieces and arrange evenly on a baking sheet. Exclude the ribs. If you are using the pre chopped bagged kale remove rib pieces.
In a small bowl combine olive oil and chili oil. Stir together so they combine evenly
Drizzle over the kale on the baking sheet tossing lightly with your hands until the leaves are well coated

Sprinkle lightly with salt (far too often I over salt, start with just a 1/4 teaspoon, if you need more you can add later after they bake)

Bake for 10 minutes at 275*, pull them out and toss with a spatula so they bake evenly, put them back in the oven to bake for 10 more minutes.
They are now ready to enjoy! Nice and crispy with a great satisfying flavor!

Seasoned Roasted Nuts:

8 Tablespoons (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter
1/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt (sea salt)
3 Tablespoons chopped Fresh Rosemary (I subbed dried and it is still good but the essential oils really come through if you can use fresh it is a marked difference)
3 teaspoons chopped Fresh Thyme
1 teaspoon dried chipotle or cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 lb Raw Walnut halves & pieces
1/2 lb Raw Pecan halves
1/2 lb Raw Almonds
(you can substitute in another favorite nut if you prefer, cashews are a great option)


Preheat oven to 375* F
Line a large baking sheet with sides with aluminum foil
In a medium sauce pan over moderately low heat melt the butter and stir in seasonings.

In a large bowl mix together all of your raw nuts
Once butter and seasoning are well combined drizzle half the mixture over the nuts. Stir to coat. Drizzle the other half of the mixture and stir again. Arrange the nuts in an even layer on your foil lined baking sheet and put in your preheated oven.

Bake for 10 minutes, pull out of the oven and stir to make sure that the nuts are baking and being coated evenly, (I take the sheet all the way out of the oven so I don't have any nuts jump ship and burn on the bottom of the oven) Return to the oven for 10 more minutes, pull out and toss again, return for the last 10 (30 minutes total) when you remove the baking sheet at the end stir the nuts one last time then let cool & dry on the counter for 30minutes. They are ready to enjoy! Keep any that you aren't eating that day in a well sealed container so they stay fresh.

 These flavorful snacks will keep you satisfied and are a great pairing for wine and cocktails for your next party or as an after work snack to pep up your day!

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