Today we’re making candied nuts.
Because I have a close girl friend who’s recently embarked on a low-carb diet, and she’s craving sweet snacks.
The irony! The Carboholic is making low-carb snacks.
I have an AMAZING low-carb cookie recipe I’ll be posting in the next few days, but today it’s deez nuts.
*And I seriously apologize for the crappy photos*
I hadn’t made any sort of sugary legume in a long time until this last Christmas. Amidst the chaotic cookie baking, it occurred to me suddenly that people are OVERLOADED with perishable sweets around that time, and even though cookies aren’t really “perishable,” who the hell wants to eat dried up cookies? I started wondering just how many cookies all of my recipients would be getting from others, and if they’d even get to my cookies after feasting on pies, cakes, and other decadent treats at Christmas (or Hanukah) dinner.
It was a troubling realization.
So I started browsing through my recipe binder (yes, I have a recipe BINDER, just for the winners) and came across this recipe I’d jotted down some years ago for Candied Pecans. I decided to make a batch; I remember they were really quite tasty, tasting something like pecan pie, but without all the work.
And oh my goodness, were they great! Crunchy, sweet, salty, and full of protein. A very satisfying snack.
The recipients of said nuts were overjoyed, and popped a few in their mouths as soon as they received them.
With nuts on my mind, today I made another batch for my poor low-carb friend. I did adjust the sugar slightly so that (to my calculations), a 1/4 cup serving would be 7 grams of carbs.
When she came by tonight to pick them up, she popped a few into her mouth immediately and closed her eyes and groaned: “YESSSSSSS!!!”
I’m not making that up.
So let’s make some nuts!!!!
First, whip up an egg white and some vanilla in a bowl until foamy, then add in your nuts. Today I used half pecans and half peanuts. Mix them up really well, to evenly coat the nuts with the egg:
Now add in your sugars, salt, and cinnamon and stir, stir, stir, until it’s all distributed:
Spread the nuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet (because it makes cleanup easy!):
And pop them in the oven. Stir every 15 minutes for one hour. They will start to caramelize and crisp up and your house will smell like angels. Cinnamon-y angels:
Keep ’em all spread out to cool for a bit. The sugar-egg white coating will dry out a bit and you will be rewarded with the tastiest protein-rich snack food around.
The best thing about this recipe is that it’s EASY. Takes 5 minutes to put together. And you’ll have a snack you can enjoy for weeks to come!
Use whatever nuts you have on hand. These nuts keep well, and are delicious mixed in with homemade granola, on top of salad greens, or baked into cookies. Feel free to tweak them to your liking: more or less sugar, more or less spice, a pinch of cayenne/cardamom/nutmeg, etc. Today I omitted 1/4 cup sugar from the recipe below to make these more carb-friendly and they were still just sweet enough to satisfy.
Makes about 4 cups
1 large egg white
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 lb. nuts (pecans, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, cashews, etc.)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat egg white and vanilla with a whisk until foamy. Add nuts, and toss well to coat them evenly.
Add sugars, salt, and cinnamon, and stir very well to distribute.
Spread nuts in a single layer on sheet and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Transfer nuts to cooling rack and cool completely before storing.
Store in airtight containers for several weeks or more.
For gifting, use zip-top resealable bags or mason jars with a handwritten label.