Let’s be clear about this. If you’re looking to make these for a crowd, to serve with cocktails, or to give away as party favors, please do the right thing and double this recipe. Don’t be an idiot, like yours truly, who foolishly thought a pound of nuts sounded like “more than enough” to make everyone happy. And who wound up with a sad little ziploc bag of insanely good spiced pecans (all that was leftover after I was done portioning out the rest into cutesy tins for our guests, and please, let’s not even pretend that I didn’t sneak a few out of each tin to pad our own paltry supply) that we polished off in…oh, I don’t know…eight minutes???
Anyway, like I was saying, your story doesn’t have to have a sad ending. Just do as I tell you and go to Costco and buy a mega bag of your favorite nuts – it doesn’t have to be pecans. Prep your mix of sugar and spices and coat your nuts of choice in the whole glorious mess. Roast. Eat. Pretend to walk away. Eat some more. Innocently wander past the tray cooling on the counter and blister the roof of your mouth as you nonchalantly pop a few more. Rinse and repeat. Forget your dreams of tossing these with a bright, crunchy spinach salad. Instead, keep your expectations realistic and just try to save a few for the big tupperware box you were planning to store them in.
Obsessively Good Spiced Candied Nuts
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper (+ 1/4 teaspoon of hot smoked paprika if you’re like me)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound walnut or pecan halves or whole almonds
1 egg white at room temperature
1 tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix sugars, salt, cayenne, paprika and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps; set aside. Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add nuts, and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Spread nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool. When completely cool, break up any that stick together. Attempt to exercise self control as you transfer them to an airtight container.