Good For the Holidays: Candied Nuts

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

These candied nuts are very easy to make* and make a perfect holiday gift, whether it be a hostess gift or something little to add to package ready to ship off to relatives. Of course you can also make these nuts for yourself as well. They are perfect to set out in a dish to snack on, as well as make a wonderful addition to a holiday salad. I posted this recipe on Mon Petit Plat, but I feel that it's worth reposting since it really is great to make around the holidays. (Although I make these quick and easy nuts all year round.)

The recipe for these nuts comes from A Passion For Desserts, written by San Francisco pastry chef Emily Luchetti. I have used her method for candying nuts at least a dozen times with all different types of nuts and seed and all have come out perfectly. I have also been wanting to add a different spice or herb (such as rosemary to pecans or a pinch of cayenne to whole almonds) but I haven't gotten the nerve up yet.

*I know I say things are "easy to make" quite regularly and perhaps too often. In all honesty it seems that making something new no matter what the recipe can be a bit daunting. For me, recipes become "easy to make" once I have made them one or two times myself, since I may find a different method or ingredient better for me. So, when I say "easy to make" I mean it. (Or at least I try to.) I am really trying not to post anything on this blog that is "hard to make," since I too want to cut out the "hard to make" recipes from my own repertoire. I mean, those goat cheese and mushroom phyllo purse were good the other night, but good golly that was a lot of work for 20 bite size appetizers. Needless to say mushroom phyllo purses won't be making the cut for the blog. But candied nuts though - these are not only easy to make but really quick too.

Candied Nuts

Makes 2 cups

Candied nuts take very little time or effort to make, and are perfect to put out for your guests to snack on. They are quite versatile and add an elegant touch to a typical cheese plate. Depending on the time of the year, I pair different types of cheeses with different types of candied nuts, alongside something sweet, like honey, jam or fruit. I especially love the combination of sharp blue cheese with candied pecans and fresh summer blackberries. In the fall I set out a dish of candied pumpkin seeds to go along with my favorite Pumpkin Bread. You can also add different seasonings (like cinnamon or chili) to create all kinds of combinations. These candied nuts are also wonderful tossed in salads and atop both savory dishes and desserts.

Also know that these nuts are light, crisp and much healthier, with little added fat and calories compared to those that are sautéed in butter and brown sugar and have a heavy candy coating. After making these easy-to-make nuts just once, you will be certain to want a jar on hand at all times.

2 cups raw nuts (pecan halves, sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, ect…)
1 egg white
pinch of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, gently toss together all of the ingredients and spread out on an unlined baking sheet. Bake the nuts for 20 to 25 minutes or until the nuts are golden brown. Use a metal spatula to toss the nuts half way through baking. Allow the nuts cool completely on a clean plate and then transfer to an airtight glass jar. These nuts will keep for up to 2 weeks.

Try Candied: sliced, slivered or whole almonds; peanuts; cashews; hazelnuts; macadamia nuts; walnuts and pumpkin seeds


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