Let’s go ahead and think the 12-year-old boy jokes in our heads right now. Now let’s all giggle together. Did I hear a snicker in there somewhere? Oh, that was me. Ok. Good. We’ve got that out of the way.
These are seriously tasty. Sweet, a tiny bit salty, with just a wee bite from a shake of cayenne pepper, and with a very satisfying texture. You can almost claim they’re not even that bad for you, since it’s just nuts. Well, and some sugar. But on the spectrum of snacky foods I crave, this one is not-terrible. Hooray for not-terrible.
These are also incredibly easy. You can go from ingredients in your pantry to cooled and in a pretty bowl in maybe an hour, but actual work time is approximately 72 seconds. Go make them now, actually. You won’t regret it.
1/3 cup dark-brown sugar
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound nuts (I use a combination of pecans and almonds, but you can use whatever is your favorite – cashews, macadamias, walnuts, etc.)
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix sugars, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon, and break up any lumps; put that aside. Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff (took me 10 seconds with a fork) in a bowl with a wide mouth. Add your nuts, and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture, and toss with a fork until evenly coated. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, and maybe halfway through, stick a spatula up in there and move them around a little. Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool – they’ll be touchable within 10-15 minutes. When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.
These’ll probably keep in an airtight container for a week or so, but there’s no way you won’t eat them before they stale. They make a good hostess gift; you could stick them in a mason jar with a pretty ribbon tied on for visual appeal or just throw the tupperware at the recipient and hope they don’t inhale your hand with the nuts. Enjoy!