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baking prep

cinnamon spiced nuts

The Christmas Baking Quest continues!

Today's endeavour (<-- clearly my spelling has been watching too much PBS this week) is one of my go-to snacks for Christmas parties, gift boxes, party favors, and cheese plate accessories. These simple spiced nuts are incredibly easy to whip up and always a hit.

In fact, these are what we used as favors for our wedding a couple years ago. I made several large batches of these and stuffed them into muslin bags, embellished with a custom stamp. So simple and soooo delicious! Plus, they worked as nice little accent pieces for the tables to boot.

The thing that sets these apart for me is the bit of cayenne. Normal candied nuts are most excellent, but what if there was a bit of spice to cut through the sweetness? Bingo. It isn't too noticeable, but just serves to add a hint of warmth to the back of the aftertaste. If you prefer a spicier version, just up the cayenne a bit (I do!). I've included the ratio we used for the wedding, which leans a bit less spicy to be sure it had a broader appeal.

I'm so excited to include these in my Christmas gift boxes this year! Do you have a favorite go-to holiday gift recipe? Tell me about it in the comments!


cinnamon spiced nuts

yield: 3 cups of candied nuts


1 cup pecans 2 cups almonds 1 egg whites ⅓ cup sugar 5 tsp cinnamon 2 tsp vanilla ⅓ tsp salt 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or more)


  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Add the nuts to a large mixing bowl.

  3. Whisk the egg whites until frothy, then pour over the nuts and stir well until they are well coated.

  4. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, cayenne, and salt.

  5. Add the spice mixture to the nuts a little at a time, stirring between each addition to coat evenly.

  6. Spread the coated nuts on the parchment lined baking sheet, trying to have them touch as little as possible. Bake for 20 minutes without stirring.

  7. Use a spatula to remove the nuts from the hot baking sheet immediately. Allow to cool thoroughly before storing in tightly closed container.

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Pick varieties and flavors that bring you joy. Not everyone is a baker and not everyone likes to cook. 


Enjoy the process. One of my favorite things while baking is to knead the dough and feel how it changes in my hands. I love chopping vegetables that came fresh from the farmer's market, brushing the dirt off the leaves, and creating with something that came from the earth.


Listen to jazz. I know this is a personal preference, but there are few things that give me quite the feeling of contentment as cooking a good meal with a glass of wine and a Thelonius record on in the background.

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