Wednesday, March 30, 2011
This past weekend I couldn't stop thinking about the Harvest Salad that I enjoyed during our anniversary trip to Seneca Lake earlier this month. The salad had tart dried cranberries, finely grated sharp cheddar, crisp apples, warm grilled chicken, and candied walnuts. It was incredibly delicious and I can't get it off my mind.
My mission is to create this salad, or a close approximation, at home. I knew I needed to get my hands on some candied nuts. Yes, I can buy them in the grocery store, but they are unnecessarily expensive and I have tons of nuts in my freezer. I did a little research and I struck gold with this recipe from Epicurious.com.
These nuts are shiny, crispy, and not too sweet. The glaze enhances the nuts, but it doesn't overpower them. The best part is that you don't need a candy thermometer or any special equipment. I mixed these up in less than ten minutes and placed them in the oven while I took an afternoon shower. By the time I stepped out of the shower E told me that the whole house smelled like Christmas. That's a nice way to describe these nuts. Roasted, sweet, spicy nuts. I may not be able to save them for my salad!
You can (and should) try this recipe with other nuts. I can't wait to do almonds and walnuts.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups pecans or other nuts
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly butter parchment or spray it with non-stick spray.
Stir together butter, sugar, corn syrup, spices, and salt in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add nuts and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Spread nuts in 1 layer on lined baking sheet, separating any clumps. Bake, stirring nuts once with a heatproof rubber (silicone) spatula halfway through baking (keep nuts in 1 layer), until golden and bubbling, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack 45 minutes, then break into small clusters with your hands.