Tonight my sister-in-law came to dinner and, in true Italian style, we served pasta for dinner. Alongside I had a tossed green salad with spiced pecans. I love spiced nuts and will eat the entire bowl if left unsupervised. For some reason, after making the salad and eating twice as many nuts as went in the bowl, I wasn’t very hungry for pasta. Go figure! Most of the time when I am served homemade spiced nuts they are soggy and not very appetizing. People seem to think that if they add enough cayenne powder no one will notice the texture. For years I thought there was no way to make the kind of nuts I get in restaurant salads. Sweet, a little hot, and really crunchy. And then I found a recipe in Emeril Lagasse’s cookbook, Emeril’s Creole Christmas.
The secret to crisp nuts is first boiling them in a simple syrup (water and sugar) and then frying them in hot oil. Finally, tossing them with a spice mixture gives them the sweet/spicy kick that I love. Don’t worry about them being greasy. If your oil is hot enough, the nuts cook quickly and absorb very little. Now I can make spiced nuts that are just as good if not better than those I get in restaurants. Hallelujah!
- Jane Evans Bonacci (modified from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse)
- Yield: about 2 cups
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Sugar Syrup
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne, or to taste
- 2 cups pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, or a mixture
- 4 cups canola oil
- In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp sugar, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with sides with parchment paper; set aside.
- Combine the water, sugar, coriander, and cayenne in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the nuts and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Drain nuts in a colander, shake well to get rid of any excess moisture, and set aside.
- In a deep pot or Dutch oven, bring oil to 360ºF. Very carefully add drained nuts and fry until deep golden brown, about 4 minutes, stirring often.
- Remove with a slotted spoon or strainer and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar/spice mixture, tossing to coat nuts evenly. Let cool, stirring occasionally so that they don’t stick together. Nuts can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.
- Yields 2 C
First of all, thank you so much for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I do appreciate it very much. I love having visitors 🙂
Secondly your spicy, crunchy nuts look very tempting and I’m glad you posted the recipe. These will make a great home-made gift and wonderful to have handy in the pantry…for so many reasons!
Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook
So happy to have you visit Paula! You will love these nuts – I always make extra to give as gifts. They are perfect hostess gifts! I haven’t tried it (because they never last long enough, LOL), but you probably could freeze them. If you try it, let me know how they turn out.
Welcome to The Heritage Chef. I hope you visit often!
bAMBI & jIM
We are so proud of you!
Love and hugs,
Your Hoosier cousins