Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spiced Pecans

You know those things that remind you immediately of the holidays?  Spicy nuts are one of those things for me.  They are a perfect snack to keep on hand for guests.  Wrap them up in cellophane or put them in a lovely tin and, voila!, a lovely hostess gift.  Or just grab a handful to munch on during the football game.  I'm telling you, these things are so handy for the holidays!

The recipe below can be doctored up to your preference.  The husband and I are both a bit wimpy when it comes to spice, so feel free to add more cayenne if you like things hot, hot, hot. 

Spiced Pecans
Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
Serves: 8-10

1 egg white
1 tablespoon water 
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound pecans (or your favorite nut)
2/3 cup superfine sugar*
1 3/4 teaspoons cumin
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.  Whisk the egg white, water, and salt together in a large bowl.  Add the nuts to the egg white mixture and stir to coat.  Drain the nuts in a colander for for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, cumin, cayenne, and paprika.  Toss the spices with the drained nuts.  Spread the nuts on the parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake until the nuts are dry and crisp, about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally and rotating the pans halfway through so the nuts bake evenly.  Remove nuts from the oven and allow them to cool completely on the baking sheets, about 30 minutes.  Break up the nuts and serve.  Nuts can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.

*If you don't have superfine sugar, just process regular granulated sugar in a food processor or blender for about 1 minute.  

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