Growing up, my mom always had a bowl of whole nuts on the coffee table. She would patiently go through the bowl, cracking one at a time, and I always thought she was crazy. Sure, I ate every one she handed me and thoroughly enjoyed it, but watching her crack them was painful. It's so much work when you can just stick your hand in a bag of already-cracked nuts and shove them in your face.
Now I get it. There's something therapeutic and comforting knowing that a) you have the luxury of time to crack nuts b) smashing anything is free therapy and c) the taste doesn't even compare to shelled nuts that have been sitting on a shelf.
But if you're thinking I cracked ALL the nuts I candied, you're crazy. My mom wouldn't even do that. I can tell you that Costco has the best prices on nuts because they're insanely expensive elsewhere. With those cost-saving nuts you can make batches and batches of these candied nuts and give them away as gifts because when you do, you're guaranteed to make best friends.
Candied nuts are perfect for parties and pre-Thanksgiving snacks, too. And these are the perfect balance of sweet and savory to prevent you from getting sugar mouth. Just don't put too many out at one time because they will disappear and spoil everyone's appetites.
CANDIED HOLIDAY NUTS
loosely adapted from Deb's recipe
1 1/4 lb mixed nuts and seeds (I used almonds, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds and pepitas)
3 Tbs light brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 egg white
1/2 tsp soy sauce
2-3 tsp roughly chopped rosemary
Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
In a small bowl, combine the sugars, salt and spice. Mix well and set aside.
In a large bowl, whip the egg white just until it is foamy. Throw the nuts in and thoroughly cover the nuts with the egg white.
Sprinkle the sugar and spice mixture and mix well.
Add the soy sauce and rosemary and toss well to combine.
Spread on a half sheet pan and bake for 23-25 minutes until the sugar is dry and the nuts are golden brown.
Sprinkle some Maldon salt on top to season and cool thoroughly before consuming.