No, I'm not talking about your immediate family. The nuts I'm thinking about are covered in sugar and spices, heated up with hot butter and thrown out on waxed paper to cool. Please tell me you're not still thinking of the relatives. I know the holidays are stressful but it would really take a lot of butter to saute Aunt Ethel so let's just move on shall we?
For this recipe you're going to need;
3 cups unsalted nuts (such as pecans, almonds, walnuts, or a combination)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 TBS butter
1 TBS water
Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper and set aside.
In a small bowl combine the cayenne, cinnamon, salt and brown sugar. Set aside. Yes, I realize that you already set aside the wax paper, but this needs to be set aside for later use also. Oh by the way, if you've got another phrase I can use in place of "set aside," please let me know. I really get tired of using it over and over but it is accepted cookbook/recipe/blogger lingo. Maybe we can start our own phrase. If I tell you to "scale the giraffe," you'll know I want you to "set aside." It could work!
Moving on, in a large
skillet, toast your three cups of nuts over medium heat until they begin to feel hot to
the touch and take on a darker color. This should take three to five
minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat but leave the nuts in the
pan. If you feel the nuts have gotten too dark, dump them into a bowl. They will continue to take on heat from the pan, so if they're close to being overdone, move them to a bowl.
In a small saucepan heat the butter and water together until the butter is melted and the mixture is warm. Mix in the combined dry ingredients and stir continually until the sugar is melted and the mixture is slightly thickened.
The sugar butter mixture should look like this when you're done.
Now, a little at a time pour the spicy syrup over the nuts in the skillet and toss till the nuts are evenly coated. You may not need all the syrup so go slowly, if you wind up with too much syrup on the nuts they won't ever get dry. They'll still be great too eat, they'll just be goopy.
Pour the coated nuts onto the prepared baking sheet, separating them with a fork if needed. Let the nuts cool on the baking sheet until the coating has hardened, about 15-20 minutes.
I really like these. You get the sweetness of the sugar and the cinnamon along with the richness of the butter and toasted nuts. As you're getting ready to swallow you have this wonderful taste of sweet and the heat from the cayenne really adds another tasty sensation.
You can store these in an airtight container for five days but my guess is they won't last that long.