Friday, December 30, 2011

Spiced Nuts

These delicious nuts are always a big hit! I used to make the original recipe of just one pound, but it was never enough. Now I've gotten to the point that I always double the recipe so that I can give some away and still have plenty left over for me. The nuts are a wonderful combination of sweet/salty/spicy that most people cannot resist. They're quick and easy, which makes them a nice treat year round. I especially love to hand these out in my Christmas Goodie bags!

Spiced Nuts
2/3 cups brown sugar
1 1/3 cups white sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on tastes (I've sometimes done 1/4 tsp paprika & 1/4 tsp cayenne)
2 pounds nuts (I like using almonds and pecan halves)
2 egg whites (at room temp)
2 tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the sugars and spices. Mix well and set aside. In a large bowl add your nuts. Like I mentioned above, I typically use a pound of almonds (about 3 cups) and a pound of pecans (about 4 cups), but you can use any kind of nuts you like. In a third bowl (I know - so many bowls!) combine the egg whites and water. Whisk the mixture until nice and foamy. I like to use my immersion blender with the whisk attachment to do this. (This multi-purpose tool is a MUST-HAVE for any home cook!!!) Once foamy, pour the egg whites over the nuts and stir around to make sure all the nuts are covered. Then pour the sugar and spice mixture over the nuts and stir it all together to make sure each of the nuts has a nice sugar and spice coating.

Spread the nuts evenly, and in a single layer, on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, stirring and rotating half way through. Once they're done cooking, let them cool down a bit, then stir them around to make sure there aren't any big clumps.

You can eat them out of a Tupperware bowl like I do, or get fancy and put them in little mason jars with cute ribbons and give them away to friends. Your friends will love you for these, I promise!

Recipie Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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