Caramelized Macadamia Nuts with Smoked Paprika & Chili Pepper

Photo 22-12-15 13 51 34The thing I’ve been doing since the start of the year has made me very happy, namely to get rid of mental clutter and the idea of obligations.
The writer of this brilliant piece states that she now goes to the supermarket in her pyjamas.

Even though I am not there (yet), I’ve taken a stance on food. Does it spark joy?
If the answer is yes, I am eating it. Whether that means that I am eating Pan de Datile for breakfast or Peanut Butter with a spoon as a snack, if it makes me happy I will do so. I am assured that from time to time my body will request me to go back to a soup, or maybe even a better version of a salad.

For now I am enjoying to eat different kinds of snacks. It was around New Year’s Eve that I started to experiment with different types of sweet snacks. Stuff that I could leave on the table in a tin or jar and that our houseguests could easily eat off.

So far I’ve embarked on a couple of successes, in the form of Peanut Butter Cups with Seasalt, Dark Chocolate Almond Clusters and now these Caramelized Smoked Paprika Macademia Nuts. I’ve found that these are really addictive, and I suspect that is the combination of sweet, salt and smokiness against the creaminess of the macademia nuts. They’re pretty extraordinary, and you could easily tone them down by leaving out the smoked paprika and chili pepper (or reducing those).

Next to snacking, they make a wonderful addition to your bowl of tomato soup, paprika salad or crushed on top of a nice risotto (in which case I’d advice to reduce the sugar to 1 tablespoon).

The note I would like to make is that these taste best the same day they’re made. It is possible that they become a little sticky in a humid environment (for example a kitchen at full blast) or simply over time. Both staleness and stickiness can be solved by reheating the nuts in the oven on a sheet of baking paper at around 150-175 degrees for around 10 minutes, after they cool down you will notice that their structure has improved greatly again.

Caramelized Macadamia Nuts with Smoked Paprika & Chili Pepper

Caramelized Macadamia Nuts with Smoked Paprika & Chili Pepper


  • Adapted from this recipe of Two Red Bowls
  • 200 grams salted macadamia nuts (if you are using unsalted, I suggest you use around ¾ of a teaspoon salt - this seems a lot, but there will be a lot sticking to the pan as well)
  • 2.5 tablespoons of white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika powder (this can be left out if you are looking for a more straightforward end result)
  • ¼ teaspoon chili pepper flakes (adjust to your taste and likings)
  • 2 tablespoons of water


  1. Mix all ingredients in a pan (preferably one with a thick bottom, this will make it a little easier as the pan and ingredients will warm up gradually) and let it stand on a medium heat.
  2. Try not to stir the ingredients too much as it might cause the sugar to crystallize rather than to caramelize.
  3. As always, caramelizing is tricky, as it is easy to burn the mixture, therefore keep a close eye on it, and don’t be tempted to turn the heat up. The pan and mixture will also become very hot, be careful with handling the pan.
  4. Give all around 5 to ten minutes. Once the mixture is bubbling big bubbles and the sugar starts to change color, it is good to stir the mixture a couple of times.
  5. Once it is all a golden brown color and the nuts are all covered with the caramel, it is ready.
  6. Turn the heat off and spread the nuts out on a piece of baking paper or a part of oil-sprayed stone kitchen counter. Let the nuts cool down and serve immediately.

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