For years I've been hunting for a good recipe to make candied nuts - I had a spinach salad about 10 years ago that had spinach, candied almonds and strawberries in it and the taste combination with the sweet crunch of the nuts was to die for. I had never found, or perhaps I had never actively searched for, a recipe to mimick those nuts. Until now...
We had our good friends Audrey and Wolfgang over for brunch/early supper on Sunday and I had a box of fresh picked strawberries from Indian Garden Farms that begged to be used in a spinach salad with a balsamic vinaigrette (am I the only one who loves sweet strawberries with balsamic vinegar?). I knew I wanted crunch in there, too - and have been on a real kick making homemade croutons from either canned chickpeas (roasted in the oven until crispy) or tortillas (roll them up, cut crosswise into long strips, spray with cooking spray and spice any way you want, bake them off in 400 degree oven until crispy). Candied nuts came to mind.
Do you know how many recipes are online for candied nuts? I decided on one that didn't use butter - thanks, my hips don't need any more padding - so that narrowed down the choices. I also didn't want a lot of work. I found one on Everyday Southwest - and crossed my fingers they would turn out. As I got into the recipe, I realized the blog/website didn't give me an oven temp, so I kept looking until I found some information on recipetips.com.
They turned out perfectly - I used walnut halves - and a lot of the nuts didn't make it into the salad because The Husband and I kept snacking on them! They are that good. I will definitely make these again - using different nuts and possibly getting creative with some other spices (I'd love to try a bit of dried chili and lime jest for a more mexican flavored variety. Here's the recipe in case you're interested:
2 1/2 cups walnut halves (or other nuts)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt (I would add more salt next time to up the sweet/salty ratio)
Coat nuts in eggwhite - add sugar and salt and stir thoroughly. Spread on lightly oiled (I use foil and baking spray for easy clean up) cookie sheet, separate them as best you can. Bake at 350 degrees about 15 - 20 minutes or until nuts are browned nicely (be careful, they will go from browned to burned in a blink of an eye).
Cool on baking sheet then store (if there are any left) in airtight container.
What goes into your salads, People of Blogland? Have you ever make candied nuts? And for those interested, I've revamped my blogroll on the righthand side of the blog - I've got categories now since I have such varied interests. Notice I have a cooking/foodie section - there are some great food blogs out there :)