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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Aw, nuts










I'm nuts about both of these recipes.
I like to keep some kind of flavored nut on hand because they're great as snacks, party treats or salad toppers. Recently I gave some as hostess gifts, and they were happily received. They seem especially appreciated by those who try to avoid desserts or who watch their carbohydrate intake. Also see the earlier posting on Rosemary Almonds.


Sherry-Spiced Nuts


1 egg white
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. dry sherry or water (I've always used sherry)
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice*
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper (optional)
2 cups whole cashews (or almonds, macadamia nuts and/or hazelnuts)

Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk egg white till just a little frothy and whisk in sugar, sherry (or water), pumpkin pie spice, allspice and red pepper if using. Stir in nuts till coated.
Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread nuts on foil.

Bake for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally (Don't skip this or you'll end up with a too-dark mass of sticky nuts). Cool; break apart large clusters. Store, covered, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. Makes 2 cups.

From Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Appetizers magazine, 2001

*If like me you don't keep pumpkin pie spice on hand, you can make your own. For two teaspoons (I always double the cashew recipe), combine 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ginger and 1/4 tsp. each nutmeg and cloves.


Vanilla Pecans (or Walnuts)
1 pound pecan halves
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tbsp. corn oil
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. dried orange peel
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
2 heaping tbsp. sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Blanch the nuts for 1 minute in boiling water (not longer!). Drain well. While still hot, put in a bowl and toss with sugar and combined oil-vanilla. Let stand 10 minutes. Arrange nuts on rimmed baking tray. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, turning every 10 minutes until nuts are light brown an crispy. Don't let them burn!

Meanwhile, combine vanilla, salt, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, dried orange peel and sugar. Toss with still-hot nuts in bowl. Allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Store in airtight container.

From The Frog Commissary Cookbook by Steven Poses, Anne Clark and Becky Roller

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