Tuesday, 20 December 2011
candied and vanilla-salted pecans and walnuts
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.
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.
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.