Tuesday, 20 December 2011

candied and vanilla-salted pecans and walnuts

candied pecans 2

I'm surprising myself here. Two blogposts within a fortnight. Good grief.

Anyway. It's THAT time of year again. Time for a bit of ho ho ho and goodwill to all men. Or something.

Over the past few Christmases, I've been ditching the shop-bought snackage and making more and more festive titbits at home. Frankly, they taste so much better, and usually cost a fraction of the price.

These here nuts are now part of our household's newer Christmas traditions. Every year, I try to find a spare few minutes to have some sticky, nutty fun.

candied pecans

Once they're made, I break them up into manageable bite-sized clusters, and bag them up, ready for tucking into stockings for Christmas morning.

candied pecans 3

Like most of the recipes on this blog, these candied nuts are quick and easy to make, and ridiculously tasty. And, happily, they give a yielding, crumbly, not tooth-shattering crunch, so even Granny can have some. It's also a highly adaptable recipe, so you can add whatever you fancy by way of spices and the like. But I have to say, I like them just as they are. The secret, I think, is good vanilla salt - I use Halen Mon's.

To make them, you'll need (adapted slightly from here):

125g pecans or walnuts, or a mixture
115g unrefined caster sugar
0.25 tsp vanilla salt

First, roast the nuts for 5 minutes or so at 180C/350F/Gas 4, until they're just starting to toast. Keep a close eye on them, because you don't want them to start catching. Once they're done, take them out of the oven and set them aside.

In a heavy-based saucepan, melt the sugar over a gentle heat. Once it's turned liquid, throw in the pecans, and stir quickly to ensure the nuts are covered thoroughly.

Tip the nutty-sugary combo out onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Working as quickly as you can, spread the nuts out - I use a couple of forks. While the sugary syrup is still warm, scatter the vanilla salt over.

Leave the nuts to cool. Once they're completely cold, break into bite-sized clusters and keep in an airtight container or bag them up for presents.

* Want savoury snackage for Christmas as well? Some equally simple-to-make and super-tasty cheese biscuits are over on my other blog, here.


Jacqueline said...

Oh my those look good. I had to stumble and pin them as soon as I saw them. I love the close up shot where you can see the sugary caramel stretching. Yum!

Have a great Christmas

The Ginger Gourmand said...

As if my ever increasing belly needed another festive snack idea...! They look gorgeous in the little bags - perfect for gifts. I'm not a huge fan of salty sweet things but Mr GG is. I see two different batches of candied nuts on our horizon.

Pia K said...

looks delish! in sweden we have the "burnt almonds" sold at fairs and streetcorners aorund xmas, which i suppose are just sugary candied kind of almonds. far from as pretty as these though.

i hope you had a lovely xmas and that your new year will be a fun, good and caring one!

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Choclette said...

I made some candied nuts for the first time this Christmas. They were pretty damn good, but yours sound even better. I'd love to find a bag tucked down one of my stockings or even several of my stockings ;-)

England Furniture Company said...

Thank you for sharing your recipe! Some could find this useful around the holidays.

Anonymous said...

What a neat idea. Even though the holidays are over, I think I want to make a
plate today! What a yummy treat. Thanks!

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