I first worked with Beth Aretsky, who later came to identify herself as “the Grill Bitch,” at One Fifth, one of the many long-gone New York City restaurants of my checkered career. She created these spicy and sweet bar nuts, which caused many a customer to linger over drinks far beyond the advisable cutoff point. They are truly addictive.
(makes 8 cups)
4 large egg whites
5 pounds mixed nuts
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ tablespoons ground cayenne pepper
1 ½ tablespoons salt
Preheat the oven to 325˚F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are foamy and nearly stiff.
In another mixing bowl, combine the nuts, sugars, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt and toss to coat. Fold in the egg whites, tossing gently to make sure that all the nuts have been coated in egg white.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared sheet pans. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pans and stirring the nuts at the 15-minute mark. The nuts should be dry and crisp after 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.
Originally published in Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever