Candied Walnuts shown, but Pecans work great too, gf

Candied NutsThese nuts are fantastically versatile, I use warm winter spices at Christmas and for the boat in the summer I spice them with some heat and salt, which makes the beer even tastier.  You’re in the mood for some Asian food?  Substitute the spices with some Chinese Five Spice with the sugar base.  Yummy.  Oh, and if you are making the Bananas Foster recipe, use the base recipe.  🙂

And yes, these nuts are going into the Athletic Training category, too. Why? You ask…well let me tell you. Nuts are a great snack to carry around during the day and candied nuts are even better. For that purpose you might (or might not) want to alter the recipe by cutting back on the sugar, but I don’t really see a reason to.

Ingredients

1 lb. unsalted nuts
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 c. dark brown sugar (can substitute light brown)
1/4 c. Maple Syrup (the real thing is best)
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cayanne pepper
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

ALTERNATE 1:

1 lb. unsalted nuts
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/4 c. Agave Syrup (the real thing is best)
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. Chineese 5 Spice

ALTERNATE 2:

1 lb. unsalted nuts
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 c. Agave Syrup (the real thing is best)
1/4 c. Mexican Chili Powder
1 Tbsp. Cayanne
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 lime (Spritz over the warm nuts when they are removed from the oven the last time, do not mix into the butter)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees
Line a flat 1/2 sheet pan with parchment paper
Spread your nuts out on the parchment, try to leave a space between the nuts for even toasting. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until you begin to smell the nuts. You do not want to over-roast, so watch them carefully and check your over frequently after about 5 minutes. The type and size of nut you use will make a difference, so this step is more of a how-to guide. Trust your nose, when you smell the nut, take them out of the oven and set aside. Keep the parchment on the baking sheet, you will use it again, and keep the oven on!

If you have a dutch oven, use it. If not, any heavy bottom pot works.
Heat the butter over medium low heat. Once melted, add the sugar and all spices. Mix and incorporate. Add the nuts and stir to coat. Keep on the heat, stirring once a minute, for about 4-5 minutes. You are trying to get the spiced butter into all the nooks and crannies while cooking down the butter but keep an eye on it, the slightest burn to the butter and the entire batch will have an awful burned smell….which is not wanted here. Okay, so once the nuts start to dry out and are fully warmed, pour the maple over the nuts and stir. Remove from heat, allow to rest for just a minute. Spread the nuts back out on the parchment lined baking sheet and pop back into the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes, remove from over and let rest on the baking sheet until fully cooled. Enjoy!