Candied nuts are one of the easiest snack foods to make and eat. I like them all year round, but they are especially great around the holidays because they’re an easy snack to put out when family and friends come out to visit, and they’re a fantastic homemade gift to take when you go for visit them. This year, I’m big on walnuts and while I’ve used pecans, almonds and cashews in the past, walnuts are my nut of choice at the moment. Walnuts are full of protein, fiber and Omega-3′s, and while I’ll never turn down a holiday cookie, even I have to admit that this is a slightly healthier holiday snack!
I tossed untoasted walnuts in a lightly beaten egg white, then added in vanilla sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and salt to create a sweet and spicy coating for the nuts. The nuts are spread on a baking sheet and toasted until the sweet coating is nice and crispy. Make sure to get them in one even layer on the baking sheet and try to coat as evenly as possible. Areas with very thick coatings of the glaze may come out to be a bit chewy and not quite as crisp as more evenly covered nuts.
Vanilla sugar is easy to make with a leftover vanilla bean (although I used Rodelle Vanilla Sugar in this batch) and is a great ingredient to keep on hand for recipes like this one, that benefit from a hint of vanilla flavor. You can use regular sugar and add in about 1/4 tsp vanilla extract if you don’t have vanilla sugar, or simply omit the vanilla altogether.
The finished nuts are delicious and very addictive! There is just the right amount of salt in the mix to keep these from being overly sweet, and the buttery walnuts go very nicely with the sugar and spices. Store these in an airtight container to keep them as fresh as possible until they’re all eaten!
Cinnamon Spiced Candied Walnuts
3 cups raw walnuts (pref. halves or large pieces)
1 large egg white
1/4 cup sugar (pref. vanilla sugar)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg white until slightly foamy. Add in walnuts and stir with a spatula to coat.
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Pour over the nuts and stir with a spatula until very evenly coated.
Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
Slide parchment paper (with nuts still on it) off of the baking sheet and onto a wire rack (or the counter) to cool.
When nuts have cooled, break nut clusters up into a bowl to serve or store at room temperature in an airtight container.
Makes about 3 cups.