Cocoa-Espresso Roasted Nuts

by Food Hound on November 11, 2013

in Appetizers

Post image for Cocoa-Espresso Roasted Nuts

I used to love the night daylight saving ended.  You get that extra hour of sleep, yay!  (OR) The bars stay open an extra hour, yay!  George Vernon Hudson, the guy who came up with the brilliant concept of daylight saving time, wanted a way to take advantage of the later hours of sunlight in the warmer months.  It was implemented in the US during WW1 to save energy for wartime production.  I get it.  I’m all for energy conservation.

But here’s the rub:  George didn’t have a food blog that thrives on daylight photos of dinner.  And if my math serves me correctly, he probably wasn’t the parent of a toddler when he suggested adjusting the clock by a. full. hour.

The food photo thing is more of a nuisance for me in that I don’t truly get to showcase the beauty of my dinner in lovely, natural light, and you have to look at the yellow-y tinged photos of things that don’t photograph well as next-day lunch leftovers from November-March.

The toddler thing is a little more intense.

My little one is actually a great napper and bedtime sleeper, but has been inching her way toward an extra-fun, pre-6am wakeup time for the past few weeks.  Adjust everything earlier by an hour last weekend and, that’s right, we are now in the extra-extra-fun zone of pre-5am wakeup times.

I can roll with 6 am.  I work out at 6 am.  Normal news is on at 6 am.  You see cars at 6 am.  Before 5 am is not my scene.  It’s the land of infomercials and that lonely feeling that you are the only person who is possibly awake at this hour.  You can’t eat breakfast because then you would have to eat lunch at 10 am, and then you might as well commit yourself to a retirement community.  I try to remind myself that there are millions of mothers of newborns world-wide who are also awake with me, but I paid those newborn dues.  I’ve climbed the company ladder into toddlerhood and I have no desire to slip down a few rungs- NONE!!

So, I do what every mature parent should do: I complain about it on the internet I put Sesame Street on loop before the sun comes up and siphon as much caffeine into my body as I possibly can.  I ran through a box of tea and a whole sleeve of Nespresso pods in a week.  My lunch comes with a side of Trader Joe’s chocolate-covered espresso beans.  And if there’s a food out there I can douse in espresso, I’m going to do just that.

I’ve been making these nuts since way before my little one started penetrating the Iron Dome of early morning sleep, but I just remade a batch because they’re awesome and I feel more awake just smelling that espresso powder in the bowl.  I am totally in love with the cocoa-cinnamon flavor combo (aka ‘Mexican chocolate’) and mixing in espresso is one of the best ideas since sliced bread (and definitely better than changing clocks twice a year, George!!!!).

I’ve made tons of roasted spiced nuts before, but these are by far and away my favorite because they rely on egg white to help the topping stick (way less greasy), they bake in the oven (way less messy), and the spice coating is sooooo thick it reminds me of those Gebrannte Mandeln (spiced almonds) you get at German Christmas markets, which makes me instantly happy and pretend I didn’t doze off in the shower.  Or maybe I just dreamt about Gebrannte Mandeln while I was dozing.  Anyway, it’s cocoa + cinnamon + espresso.  Can’t go wrong with that.

I’m trying to love my new 9pm bedtime.  I’m trying to remind myself that if I can be happy and bubbly after ripping my hands on a pull-up bar at 6 am, I can be happy and bubbly watching Elmo’s World when it’s too early for even the dog to wake up.  I’m keeping a steady supply of these nuts on hand as the sleep-deprived midday pick-me-up of champions.  I’m trying to tell myself this is a perfect reason to experiment with every recipe involving espresso I can possibly get my hands on (silver lining?  I made the best coffee-toffee ice cream EVER EVER EVER this weekend!!).  So lemonade is being made out of lemons.

Is there a way to add espresso to lemonade?

Cocoa-Espresso Roasted Nuts
Adapted from Cookie Monster Cooking (love this blog!!), but originally from Savvy Eats
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups unsalted raw pecans
  • 2 cups unsalted raw walnuts
  • ⅔ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp instant espresso
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cocoa powder, instant espresso, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cayenne until there are no lumps (brown sugar can be lumpy). Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until they are white and frothy (doing this by hand is immensely satisfying, especially if you're trying to work on sculpting sexy guns, but otherwise use a hand mixer). Add in the pecans and walnuts and mix until the nuts are all coated in egg white. Add cocoa mixture to the nuts and mix until well combined and all of the cocoa mixture is sticking to the nuts.
  4. Spread the nuts onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let them cool completely before storing in an airtight container. OH SO GOOD!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy Slocum November 12, 2013 at 3:11 am

This looks like a must try!! Love,live,love your sense of humor too!


Jessica @ Floptimism December 22, 2013 at 12:40 am

I definitely had to include these in my Weekend Wrap-Up today. I keep telling myself I need to make my own flavored nuts, and this recipe sounds unbelievable. Thanks for sharing the recipe! Here’s the link to the wrap-up, if you’re interested:


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