I quite like vanilla, despite its boring connotations. In the February issue of “O” Magazine, there is a big feature on how vanilla is totally underrated, at least in terms of its sexiness. Chocolate is synonymous with Valentine’s Day, but turns out, vanilla flowers get it on. They are a type of orchid, which is just innately sexual, and the flowers are hermaphrodites. Despite having all the parts, they actually cannot reproduce on their own. The virgin flower only lives about half a day, during which it better hope a busy bee (or gardener) comes by! “Baby, tonight’s my last night in town before I ship out to war” is basically how this plant gets laid. The word “vanilla” actually comes from the Latin word “vagina.” Who knew!?!
The article included a bunch of recipes, and when I saw this one, I knew I had to try it. The vanilla comes here in the form of vanilla powder, which I had never even heard of.
I went to a specialty store, but I would expect a well-stocked grocery store or Whole Foods to carry it. (You can also order it online.)
1 large egg white
2 tsp vanilla powder or vanilla sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar, plus more to garnish
2 cups mixed raw nuts (I went with almonds and walnuts because they are the healthiest, and pecans for some flava flav. Cashews and peanuts will also work in the mix!)
This Is How We Do It
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Lightly beat the egg white in a large bowl and add all remaining ingredients up to nuts, stirring until smooth.
Pour the mixture over the nuts a few tablespoons at a time, and mix until the nuts are well-coated.
Spray a baking sheet (seriously spray, even if it’s a nonstick; otherwise the sugar coating will burn and you’ll have a baking fail in the form of blackened nuts…cause yep, I did). Spread the nuts in a single layer and bake for 40-45 minutes, turning after 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving, and then sprinkle with extra sugar for garnish.
Um, how easy is that?!
You can keep the nuts stored in an airtight container for up to a week. Perfect! Take it to work and share with everyone; they’ll be impressed by your mad baking skills. These are also great to serve at a party or give as a gift! It’s a nice alternative to sharing Hershey’s at Valentine’s Day, but still good for the heart. (And literally, it’s good for the heart!)