Christmas is less than a week away – can you believe it? One of my favorite parts of the holidays are all the delicious snacks that just sit around on the counter during this time. We tested out some really delicious Gingerbread a few weeks ago, and we’re getting ready to make my very favorite Christmas cookies, but I wanted to mix up the sugar rush with something a little different. I found this recipe for Sugar and Spice Candied Nuts on Smitten Kitchen, and I thought it would be a nice little change from all the cookies we’ve been eating. They’re super simple to make, incredibly addicting, and perfect for nibbling on when you need a little snack.
This was my first time making any kind of candied nut and I was amazed at how easy they were. I’ve been buying nuts at Costco, so I if you’re like me and have a freezer full of nuts, this is a good way to use up some of them. I used a combination of walnuts, pecans, and almonds as those are my favorites. You could probably use any sort of nut – hazelnuts or even peanuts would work well. The original recipe calls for smoked paprika, but I’m not a huge fan of smoky flavors, so I stuck to good old cayenne pepper to give the nuts a little kick. You can use whatever you have on hand or whatever you prefer.
- ⅓ cup lightly-packed dark brown sugar
- ⅔ cup granulated (white) sugar
- 1¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pound walnuts, pecans, and/or almonds
- 1 egg white, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Prep a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
- Mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon in a small dish, making sure there are no lumps; set aside. (If you have really lumpy brown sugar like I did, you can pulse the mixture in a food processor for a few seconds to help blend.)
- Mix the egg white with 1 Tablespoon of water and beat until frothy but not stiff.
- Add the walnuts to the egg white mix and stir to coat evenly.
- Sprinkle the nuts with the sugar mixture and stir until evenly coated.
- Spread the nuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes, stirring ever ten minutes.
- Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool by stirring them around.
- When they've completely cooled, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that are still sticking together.
These will last for at least two weeks out on the counter…if they don’t get eaten first.