Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sugared Nuts - Pecans, Almonds, Cashews or Walnuts

Sugared nuts are a holiday tradition. Made with pecans, cashews, walnuts or almonds, tossed first in an egg white wash, then dredged in a sugar and spice mix and slow roasted. Add a tiny pinch of cayenne for a little kick.

Sugared Nuts

Sugared and spiced pecans, almonds, cashews and even walnuts, have been a holiday favorite in many a Southerner household for many years. It's a very simple way to dress up plain nuts to serve at a party, to give away as favors, and even to add to a holiday goodie tray or special occasion gift basket. They are even good chopped and crumbled on top of savory dishes and salads.

Usually made by dipping nuts in beaten egg whites and then rolling them in granulated sugar before slow roasting, I have also used the turbinado sugar that I had hanging around in my pantry. Turbinado is easy to find - I use Sugar in the Raw brand, and find it right at my local WalMart. It is simply a less processed form of cane sugar, often referred to as raw sugar. Because it is taken up earlier in the process, it retains more of the molasses flavor, is lightly browned in color, and has much larger crystals. All of that to me, does everything to enhance the flavor of a roasted nut, but of course, regular granulated sugar, brown sugar or even a combination of the two works just fine.

I usually find a teaspoon of kosher salt and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to work well for me, but suggest that you make a batch and adjust those spices to your own taste. Try a little pumpkin pie spice, a blend of allspice, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg for a nice change. I also like the added punch of some cayenne pepper making these spicy sweet! You can certainly omit the cayenne if you prefer, of course.

Here's how to make them.

Recipe: Sugared Nuts

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 40 min | Yield: 2 cups

  • 2 cups of salted almonds, or whole cashews, walnut or pecan halves
  • 1 cup of granulated or coarse sugar (like turbinado)
  • 2 teaspoons of light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of cinnamon
  • Dash of allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, or to taste, optional
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon of cold water

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Butter or spray an aluminum foil covered baking sheet.

Whisk together the sugars, salt, cinnamon, allspice and cayenne, until well combined. Beat the egg white with the cold water until very frothy. Toss the nuts into the egg white and stir until all the nuts have been coated. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the nuts to the sugar mixture, stir well and sprinkle into the baking pan in a single layer.

Roast at 275 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes or until fragrant, stirring several times. Let rest on tray until fully cooled, stirring several times to separate.

Cook's Notes: Add in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. May also substitute half coarse and half granulated sugars, all brown sugar, or half granulated and half brown sugar or use flavored sugars. Substitute pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon and allspice.


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©Deep South Dish
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