I had a library student potluck last night. The blackout cake went over well; the outer frosting got way too hard in the fridge, but the inside was very moist. I'd happily eat a bowl of the pudding filling by itself.
I also made this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Nuts from The Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook. I have no photo because everyone ate them! The cayenne pepper gives these spiced nuts a pleasant kick. They'd make a good holiday gift or holiday party contribution. Feel free to substitute other nuts; I used 2c walnuts, 1c almonds/pecans, and 1c hazelnuts.
Sweet and Spicy Nuts
1 cup whole almonds
1 cup whole peanuts
1 cup whole pecans
1 cup walnut halves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup light corn syrup
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then brush the top of the paper with canola oil.
Combine almonds, peanuts, pecans, and walnuts in a medium bowl.
Combine cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, ginger, pepper, cayenne and salt in a small bowl. Mix well, then pour the spice mixture over the nuts and toss together thoroughly.
Combine honey and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and place over low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is just warm. Pour the mixture over the nuts and toss together until the nuts are evenly coated.
Pour the nuts onto the prepared baking sheet and spread them in a single layer. Bake on a center rack of oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the nuts take on a rich mahogany color. Let the nuts cool completely. At this point they will have formed a single, crispy layer in the baking sheet. Break the nuts apart with your hands and store in an airtight container. Store in a cool place, as heat will melt the syrup on the nuts and make them sticky.