I like making little accoutrements like these candied nuts because they’re so versatile, and are perfect for all types of entertaining (especially this time of year!). You can set them out in a small bowl alongside a cheeseboard (they’d go great with a blue cheese or a Swiss cheese like Emmental or Gruyere); chop them up and throw them in salads; or even add them to things like homemade granola, oatmeal, or yogurt. Basically any place you want nuts, you can use these (twelve year old Victoria upon typing that sentence: HAHAHA).
There are several different ways to make candied nuts (the difference being in how you melt the sugar and how it adheres and dries to the nuts), but this is my quick and dirty way: toss a bunch of stuff together and bake until done. Easy! It doesn’t result in the smoothest, most perfectly glazed nut (pfff), but I don’t mind the little bits of leftover sugar crystals. Like many of my recipes, this one is ripe for adding your own twist. Want to use thyme instead of rosemary? Sounds tasty! Can’t handle spicy, but like the smokiness of paprika? Substitute away!
As you’re making this recipe, if you have leftover sugar at the end, you can cover it up and use it for another batch of nuts within a week or so. The only fresh ingredient is the chopped herbs, and my guess is the salt and sugar will effectively cure it, so no need to worry about bacteria (though if you’re really concerned, you can always sub out dried herbs!). Here’s how to make ’em:
Quick Sweet and Spicy Candied Nuts
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp chopped rosemary (about 1 sprig’s worth of leaves)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne (or omit completely if you are sensitive to spice)
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups nuts (I used half walnuts, half almonds, but you can use any variety you want. The total was around 16 ounces)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Preheat your oven to 350Â°. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil (it will make clean up easier!).
Combine the sugar, rosemary, cayenne pepper and salt, and mix together until well combined. Toss the nuts and olive oil together on the baking sheet, then sprinkle as much of the sugar mixture over the nuts as you want. If you want them more sweet, use more of the sugar; less sweet and just lightly spiced, use less.
Bake for 10 minutes, then allow the nuts to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.