Grandpa’s Nutz !

Spicey Boozy Christmas nuts

grandpas nutz

    Christmas is a time for remembering. One of my favorite holiday memories is the fun of singing our family version of Deck the Halls Drink the rum and lets’ be jolly” and my little sister and I shouting out the last line “Grandpa’s nuts! Grandpa’s nuts!”  According to our parents, Grandpa was magically, wonderfully, lovingly, totally nuts and we cherished him all the more for it. So in the back of my head I thought it was odd that we would make fun of him.
As the holidays approached every year we anxiously awaited the mail anticipating our yearly package from him. It always contained amazing handmade gifts lovingly crafted for my sisters and me and special treats for our parents. I can still see them dancing around the room with the package singing   “Drink the rum and let’s be jolly. Grandpa’s nuts! Grandpa’s nuts!”
  Time passes and so do loved ones. I am now the adult they were back then. Another calendar page had turned. So many memories filled my heart as I retrieved a seemingly ancient box of decorations for this years’ holiday season. Slipping from under the box, a small piece of aged paper floated slowly to the floor and rested at my feet. Across the top was written “Grandpa’s Nuts”. As I picked it up the realization of what I was reading made me laugh out loud and reach for the phone to call my sister. It was a handwritten recipe!
   Suddenly I knew Mom and Dad were not commenting on Grandpa’s sanity…they were celebrating his treat! Every year he would create these amazingly delicious savory-sweet little pieces of heaven called Granpa’s Nutz. They are sweet and savory roasted nuts with a wonderful rum flavor that works really well with the salty tastes. He made them to share with those he loved. I was lucky enough to be one of those. In his honor I carry on his tradition to this day. Now my loved ones anxiously await the delivery and dance around the room singing                                                                                              
                            “Drink the rum and let’s be jolly. Grandpa’s nuts! Grandpa’s nuts!”
   These treats are highly addictive, always the first thing gone at parties,  and make very cool and mich welcomed gifts ( see story above for evidence ). Grandpa sometimes found cool little containers to use like Chinese take out boxes,  or sometimes simply wrapped them in colored cellophane tied it with a ribbon. Be creative with the wrapping but keep an extra batch handy for yourself.


3 cups toasted mixed nuts

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons dark rum **

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ancho chile powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

**  I have tried this recipe with both Cruzan Black Strap and Bacardi Black and they tasted great. Unless you are hooked on a particular brand, I’d steer clear of the spiced rums. Often their spices and tastes don’t play well with others.


Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.

Add the rum

Add the toasted nuts and cook over medium heat until the liquid is gone and the nuts are glossy.

Mix the curry powder, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, sugar and salt in a large bowl.

Dump the nuts into the spice bowl, and toss until evenly coated. Spread onto a cookie sheet to cool. 

Serve, share, enjoy! 

While you’re basking in the well deserved glory showered on you for creating these treats

leave me a message about your experience…

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