Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Candied Nuts - Great Last Minute Gifts

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Here's a gourmet gift idea for you that could not be easier to make and is so delicious! Every holiday I sneak a bag of these things into my shopping basket as a treat for myself and every year I promise myself I'm going to figure out how to make them. This is the year and I'm passing my knowledge on to you. You can thank me later.
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You'll need one pound of raw nuts, I like pecans and almonds, any kind you like is fine. That's about three cups if you don't have a scale. If you don't have a kitchen scale please go get one. You can find really inexpensive ones at places like Home Goods or Ross for less than $15 and they are so useful for all kinds of things. That's where I got mine and I use it for baking and crafty things often.
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Whip your room temperature egg whites, vanilla and water until nice and foamy. I used my immersion blender but a wire whisk works just as well. Again, an immersion blender is a wonderful Christmas gift that is so useful. Indispensable for making creamed soups and gravy, no lumps and no messy transfers of hot liquids to the blender.
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Now, dump those nuts into the egg white mixture and coat them really well. I just use my hands, a cook's best tool!
Mix up your sugars, salt and cinnamon in a Zip Loc bag.
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Once the nuts are coated with egg whites pour then into the bag with the sugars and squish them all around. It looks like a complete mess at this point but do not despair!
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Pour the whole thing out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Don't skip the parchment paper or you will be crying over the clean up later, don't say I didn't warn you. Spread the nuts out as best as you can but don't worry too much, you'll get a chance to break them apart after they bake. Pop them into a 250* oven and bake for 1 hour, stir them every 20 minutes or so.
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Take them out of the oven stir one more time and let them cool.The smell in your kitchen is divine! Once they're cool you can package them up any way you like. I weigh them out in 1/4 pounds and put them in little cellophane gift bags as stocking stuffers and hostess gifts. See, that scale comes in handy again.
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Candied Nuts
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Ingredients:
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon water
1 pound raw, unsalted  nuts (I used raw almonds and pecans but walnuts and cashews would work, whatever combination you like)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix sugar, salt and cinnamon in 1 gallon Ziploc bag. Set aside.
Place egg whites, water and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk until frothy, my immersion blender worked great for this step.
Pour the nuts into the egg white mixture and stir until well coated. In truth I use my hands for this step.
Now dump the nuts into the Ziploc bag with the sugar mixture and zip up. Mix it all around until the nuts are all coated in sugar. It will look wet but do not fear. Spread nuts evenly onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 250* for 1 hour stirring every 20 minutes to prevent sticking and break up clumps.
After 1 hour take out of oven, stir one more time and let cool. Store in air tight containers if they last that long.
NOTES: Don't forget the salt. It cuts the sweetness and brings out the flavor. I get my nuts at Costco, the best bulk buy around for price and freshness. 

I'm off to finish up the decorating and dreaded house cleaning. A week from today my house will be filled with grown children and grand children, chaos will reign and I can hardly wait for the excitement to start! 
  
Until next time,

14 comments:

  1. Oh my! That looks delicious and so easy to make. Thanks so much. Have a super day!

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    1. Watch out these are addictive! Merry Christmas to you!

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  2. Oh gosh, thanks for reminding me about this lovely treat! I have made them before, and they are always a huge hit! I will have to whip up a batch this year again!
    Hope you are well, and enjoying the holiday season!
    xo Kris

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    1. Thanks Kris for the good wishes. I have a new laptop with crazy internet protection which won't let me comment on most blogs and so I have been unable to leaves comments on your recent posts. Your home looks lovely for the holidays, so inviting and your recent sewing room switch up was a great idea. It puts your right in the thick of things. I hope your Mom is doing well and send you Seasons Greeting from Dogwood Lane!

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  3. Thanks for the recipe! Yes, Costco has the best prices for all their nuts. Wow, Walnuts are so expensive now…Makes one wish they had planted Walnut trees years ago.

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    1. I'm allergic to walnuts so I'm not tempted but all nuts are expensive. I just remember that they're good for me (maybe not sugar coated) so try not to mind the price. Walnut trees kill everything around them so I'll stick with dogwoods.

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  4. Thank you for this (relatively) healthy recipe for a Christmas treat! I'm going to pin this so I don't forget!

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    1. I think the operative word here is relatively! 😊😊

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  5. I just saw these on another blog as well..they are truly a holiday favorite. Thank you for sharing your recipe Patrica.

    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Watch out! You better pack these up quick after you make them because they are so addictive - once you crunch one you'll just keep eating them. Hope your holiday baking is well under way.

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  6. Yum! What a great Holiday treat!

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    1. Hope you had a chance to try these for the holidays Sharon.Happy New Year!

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Thanks for your comments. I love hearing what you have to say.