If you need a fun and festive snack with minimal fuss for the holidays, give these dirty chai spiced pecans a try. You can easily customize the nuts and spices based on your favorite seasonal flavors.
OK… these might be my new favorite holiday treat. There are plenty of ways to customize the flavor combinations, how can you go wrong with dirty chai? It’s now my personal goal to dirty chai everything.
What’s the Difference Between Chai and Dirty Chai?
Chai is most commonly known to be a blend of warm spices steeped with black tea. The spices that make up a chai blend typically include some or all of the following:
- Black pepper
These days, it’s so popular that you can find a chai tea latte in just about every coffee shop. To make, a base of steamed milk is mixed with simple syrup and spices. note: not to be confused with straight up chai tea, which is just a tea bag steeped in hot water.
I got the idea of experimenting with my own homemade chai spice blend and couldn’t stop until I got it just right. After researching a bunch of different recipes, I was able to came up with my own blend based on personal preference. Heavy on the ginger please!
The word “dirty” in reference to coffee shop drinks just means adding a shot of espresso. In a previous life (namely, college) I was known to add a shot of espresso to my iced coffee sometimes but gone are the days when I caffeinate to that level. Chai lattes seem to be the most popular drink to “dirty” so often times this flavor combo makes its way into recipes.
Using Instant Espresso Powder in Baking
Instant espresso powder is one of my favorite ingredients to bake with. The cool thing about this powder is that it’s perfect for incorporating into recipes for a strong, roast-y coffee flavor, no espresso machine required. I also want to add that this would make a fantastic stocking stuffer for the coffee-lover in your life.
With the holidays coming up I wanted to think of something interesting and “gift-able” to make that doesn’t require a grocery shop and a lot of hands-on time. Typically spiced nuts are flavored with a spicy kick like cayenne to compliment the sweetness so these are a fun twist.
How to Make the Perfect Spiced Nuts
After some trial and error I learned that the secret to great spiced nuts is to coat them in frothy egg whites before adding the spices. This helps everything stick together and get nice and crispy on the edges. From there you can add whichever spices and sweetener you like.
Simple four-step process for dirty chai spiced pecans:
Just 30 minutes in the oven and you have the perfect festive snack. In addition to being super tasty, these are also dairy-free and gluten-free (I know it can sometimes be hard to come by appetizers that don’t involve cheese/bread this time of year).
It’s a nice bonus to get some protein and healthy fat. These are a little bit more substantial than cookies or fudge, while still feeling special. Put these out to tide your guests over until dinner without spoiling appetites, or package them up in a mason jar with a bow and you have an easy homemade gift option.
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Dirty Chai Spiced Pecans
If you need a fun party snack with minimal fuss for the holidays, give these dirty chai spiced pecans a try. You can easily customize the nuts and spices based on your favorite seasonal flavors!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Appetizers, Snacks
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
- 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 egg white
- 2 cups pecans
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Add espresso powder through salt to a small bowl and mix well with a fork (try to get rid of any large lumps).
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg white until frothy (see photo for reference).
- Add the pecans to the egg white and toss to coat evenly; then add vanilla extract and spice mixture and mix until well combined.
- Spread coated pecans in one even layer on the sheet pan and roast for 30 minutes (stirring halfway through) until browned and fragrant. These will crisp up as they cool. Once you can handle them, break apart any clumps and store in an airtight container for up to one week.
- The equipment section above includes affiliate links to things I use often in my kitchen and recommend.
- Serving Size: 1/4 cup
- Calories: 160 calories
- Fat: 14 grams
- Carbohydrates: 8 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
Keywords: dirty chai, spiced pecans, spiced nuts, holiday appetizers, party food, dairy free, gluten free
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