Friday, October 21, 2011

Spiced Nut Trail Mix

It's now fall, the weather is cooler, and we can look forward to comfy-cozy clothes.
Bundling up in sweaters and scarves, perhaps some mittens...

The other day I wore a favorite jacket.
My mother saw me and said, "Please be careful not to put any holes in your jacket."
There was nothing as far as I could tell that prompted the request, it just happened.
I said nothing in reply.
At first I was a little taken aback and confused as to why I would need such and exhortation, but a little later I thought it was hysterical.

See, I'm in the "once you pass the age of three, you probably don't need people telling you not to put holes in your jacket" camp.
(A good strong look is all it'll take, no words are necessary.)
Thirty? Certainly not. It's a tad superfluous in my opinion.
I thought about why the statement was potentially made.
Let's see here... I've not been climbing trees, no bear or alligator westing, I generally try to steer clear of sharks, there's been no jumping of fences, there's not been any close frictional contact with concrete, no street fights, I don't play with ice picks or nail guns, and I've been good with scissors for years. True.

I didn't think I had a penchant for creating holes in my clothes.

Ok, so technically I DO play with knives, but it's a safe sort of play- closed toed shoes and all that jazz (and I don't play with knives with my jacket on, that's completely ridiculous).
Please, Natalie! If you're going to use knives at least take your jacket off!
Things could get dangerous to say the least.

Nope. Nothing that leads me to any logical reason.

Perhaps it can only be chalked up to being part of the "it's a mom thing" category.
Second only to clotheslining anyone who unfortunately happens to be sitting in the passenger seat if you come to a semi-sudden stop while driving.

So, anyway, the trail mix recipe included here is full of warm autumnal flavors.

The original recipe came from a magazine at least 10 years ago... I liked it and have been making a version since with what nuts and dried fruit I could find or whatever sounded good at that moment.
It's perfect to throw into a bag if you're out hiking, great in a desk drawer, in the car for a weekend road trip to look at fall foliage...
Just don't forget your jacket. Preferably one that's completely intact.

Spiced Nut Trail Mix

1 c cashews
1 c dried apricots, quartered (or halved, depending on size)
3/4 c walnut halves
1/2 c shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 c golden raisins
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c sugar
1 t Chinese five spice powder (pumpkin pie spice or a mix of ginger, anise, cloves, allspice, black pepper, and/or nutmeg will also work... choose a few, whatever suits your taste)
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t salt
1 large egg white
1 t water

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. 
In a large bowl stir together cashews, apricots, walnuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, cranberries, sugar, five spice powder, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. Beat the egg white and water until frothy, then fold gently into the nut and fruit mixture. 
Spread the mixture out onto a nonstick baking sheet (or a regular sheet pan covered with a layer of parchment paper). Bake for 1 hour. 
Remove the pan from the oven and place on a rack to cool completely. 
Break the trail mix into pieces and store in an airtight container. 


  1. Natalie,

    Do you suggest using nuts that are not salted, or does it not matter?

    This spiced trail mix looks outstanding! (Who needs Nuts on Clark, now?)


  2. I've found that I actually like to use salted nuts in this one... I think it helps sharpen the flavors.
    It's difficult to find nuts like cashews and sunflower seeds unsalted anyway. So, the only unsalted nuts used here were the walnuts.