sugar & spice walnuts

Sugar and spice really does make everything nice, especially when walnuts are involved. Put them on top of a salad and I’ll eat every green on the plate. I was reminded of this after devouring my entire salad at Anne’s incredible wedding last weekend.

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There is a down side to these delicious little, sugar-coated walnuts. When faced with a bowl like this, I find my hands tend to wander and before I know it, half the bowl is gone. This is totally forgivable since walnuts are chock full of healthy anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids, fiber and protein…  but speaking from experience, it’s not the best idea to eat a 1/2 cup of these just before a run.

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I won’t do that again but what I will do again is make these sugar and spice walnuts a pantry staple. I honestly don’t know what took me so long to get on the homemade candied nut train but it’s kind of like making your own homemade granola… once you start, you’ll never stop. They’re too easy and delicious not to. Plus, much like granola, store-bought candied nuts are ridiculously overpriced if you consider how easy they are to make.

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I read numerous recipes online and came up with my own by manipulating ingredients & techniques from 2-3 different ones. I love love love brown sugar, so that obviously had to be a big component.

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The Hill Country restaurant in New York uses an egg white as a binder which I thought was just ingenious. Instead of adding water to the egg white, I tossed in a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to give the nuts a salty, sweet, caramelized balsamic flavor.

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Pumpkin pie spice is my new spice of choice since making pumpkin pie bran muffins last week so, naturally, I added a teaspoon to the sugar mixture before sprinkling it over the walnuts.

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30 minutes in the oven and I had myself a gorgeous tray of sticky, sweet & salty walnuts.

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Now I just need to keep my hands out of the candied walnut jar before heading out on a run.

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The ideas for serving are numerous: add to salads, yogurt, vanilla ice cream, as a garnish for fall soups, on top of ice cream. Of course, they’re incredible all by themselves but I highly recommend portioning yourself a specific amount. Don’t end up with a stomach ache from eating too many like I did.

I’m also seriously contemplating incorporating these into an apple pie topping. Crazy, I know… but might have to happen.

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Actually, it will happen. I can promise you. Probably in time for Thanksgiving. Just kidding, definitely in time for Thanksgiving.

 I’ll link to this post on my recipe page if you’re wanting to find it in the future!

Question of the day: What’s your favorite way to eat candied nuts?

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