Sweet and Spicy Candied Nuts
Just a heads up: the recipe you are about to read yields a truly addictive product.
If you already find yourself defenseless when faced with a bowl of cocktail nuts, particularly of the roasted/honey-roasted variety, you might want to click the ‘back’ button and steer clear of the following recipe. Otherwise, you might end up hoarding 1 lb-bags of nuts at home, just in case you need to make an impromptu batch for a cocktail party, the airing of a new episode of 30Rock, or to celebrate the completion of the after-dinner dishes. That is to say, once you have this little recipe up your sleeve, you will rarely find a occasion that not complimented by a handful of these little morsels. You’ll want to have them on hand all the time-‐it’s a rather slippery, albeit delicious, slope.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get down to business: in essence, these are nuts coated lightly with beaten egg white, tossed in a mixture of salt, sugar and spices, then roasted in a 300 degree oven until the coating dries to an irresistibly crunchy, sweet-salty shell. It is quite remarkable, really, how 1 measly beaten egg white can adhere such a hefty amount of sugar-y goodness to each nut, but this is one feat of culinary magic I choose to accept without question-‐I suggest you do the same.
Sweet and Spicy Candied Nuts
adapted from From Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country, via SmittenKitchen
The sweet/salty/spicy combo in this recipe can be easily tweaked. If you’re not into spicy, let up on/omit the cayenne. The black pepper is also optional, though delicious. Note that it’s possible to sample a nut after they bake (carefully! they’re hot!) to refine the seasoning-‐I typically give the finished batch a few extra grinds of fresh-ground pepper.
1/3 cup dark-brown sugar
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I like them with a ‘kick’, but start with a just a pinch if you like)
scant 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (plus more if you like)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg white
1 pound of the nuts of your choice, mixed or otherwise
Line a large, rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
In a bowl, mix together the sugar, salt and spices-‐aim for an even dispersion of all ingredients and no lumps in the sugar. In another bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy but not stiff (see image 1 of 3 in the series above). Pour the nuts into the beaten egg white and stir to combine. Add the sugar/spice mixture to the nuts and toss briefly until each nut is well coated. Pour the sugar-crusted nuts onto the prepared sheet pan and spread into an even layer. Bake in the preheated oven for about a 1/2 hour, stirring the mixture and rotating the tray every 10 minutes or so. Remove the nuts from the oven. Taste, add a few extra grinds of black pepper, if desired, then allow to cool completely before breaking up any major clusters that have formed. Transfer to an air-tight container to store.