Home Cooking, Recipes

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice Nuts – NYC

January 21, 2009 | 2 Comments

candied walnuts & pine nuts

I’m not a huge dessert person. If given a choice, I rather have an extra serving of something savory (like bacon!) instead of dessert. It’s partially a Korean thing. There aren’t too many super sweet desserts in Korean cuisine, so growing up, dessert was fresh fruit in my house. To this day, I don’t feel satisfied until I have a piece of fruit after dinner. However, just recently, I started craving something sweet at night. Maybe it’s the cold weather, or maybe it’s because my boyfriend, who is a dessert freak, is always snacking on candy bars, chips, and popsicles. In any case, I saw this recipe for Sugar and Spice Candied Nuts on Smitten Kitchen, and I decided to give it a try since they reminded me of the yummy candied peanuts they sell on the streets in New York. I love those nuts, by the way. The warm smell of those nuts on a cold winter night is insanely bewitching.

These nuts, however, are even better than the street nuts. First of all, I used walnuts and a handful of pine nuts, which they don’t usually have on the street. Also, the recipe calls for cayenne pepper, so the nuts have a nice little kick. It’s sweet and spicy, just like me (although my boyfriend may disagree with the sweet part). It’s especially good with a nice fruity glass of white wine. I had to resist eating the entire batch in a single sitting. In fact, my boyfriend found them so addictive, while I was out on a five minute errand, he finished all the nuts. He even tried eating a portion I set aside for my friend Barbara. After a brief struggle, all the nuts were saved, except one.

candied walnuts & pine nuts

The recipe below is pretty much the same recipe on Smitten Kitchen except it’s halved (Walnuts are $6.99 a pound at Whole Foods!), I added some pine nuts since my boyfriend likes pine nuts, I used regular salt, and I added more cayenne pepper (I’m Korean, I need the spice!). I suspect my version also had more egg whites than Deb’s (I eyeballed halving the egg white.), since mine look more coated than her’s. In any case, I’m dying to make these nuts again. I placed an order with my Mom for a 30 pound bag of walnuts from Costco. I hope that’s enough. ;)

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice Nuts – For 1/2 a Pound of Walnuts
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s adapted version by Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country

1/6 cup dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 pound walnuts
1 handful pine nuts
1/2-3/4 egg white, room temperature (I used a little more than a half)
1/2 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix brown and white sugar, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps; set aside. Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add walnuts, and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Parchment paper is optional, mine were fine without it. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring about 3 times. Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool. When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.

Enjoy with a nice glass of wine. My current favorite cheap white wine is Jelú Torrontés 2008, an organic wine from Argentina with hints of lychees.

UPDATE – My mom got me six pounds of walnuts, so I finally tried the full recipe. (Thanks mommy!) I also tried doubling the recipe, but I notice the nuts don’t coat as well. So candy one pound at a time for best results. Also, adding one more tablespoon of water ensures the sugar mixture sticks to the walnuts better. To accommodate for the increased wetness, bake for 40 minutes. Below is my modified version of the recipe for one pound of walnuts. OK, going to sleep now. It’s 4:30am and my last batch just came out of the oven.

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice Nuts – For a Pound of Walnuts
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s adapted version by Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country

1/3 cup dark-brown sugar
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Adjust the amount depending on your heat tolerance. I like heat.)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound walnuts
1 egg white, room temperature
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix brown and white sugar, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps; set aside. Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add walnuts, and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Parchment paper is optional, mine were fine without it. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring about 3 times. Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool. When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.

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2 Comments

  • The Duo Dishes at 7:36 pm on May 19, 2009

    Now THAT looks good!

  • bionicgrrrl at 9:38 pm on May 19, 2009

    @The Duo Dishes – It is good, and super easy to make.

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