Sunday, December 11, 2011

grandma gen's•spiced glazed nuts

The sanity level in my household is already questionable-- I don't need the craziness of Christmas pushing anyone over the edge.  This is one reason why I try to keep the holidays simple for my family (without taking away too much of the fun).  But there are some things you just can't skip-- the things it just wouldn't feel like Christmas without.  For example, Grandma Gen's Spiced Glazed Nuts.

Every year, my Grandma Gen would show up for our Christmas celebration with a big holiday-themed cookie tin full of these nuts.  We would dig into them while we opened gifts, and they'd be gone a lot sooner than something containing so much salt, sugar and fats (albeit good fats) should be.  
My mom says the recipe actually came from a next-door neighbor of ours when I was young, but at some point Grandma got a hold of the recipe and made it hers.  
She just turned 90 and I wouldn't be surprised if she's still making these nuts this year (they're that good, and she's still rockin' it well enough to whip out a few pounds of Christmas nuts).
Since I haven't been back to Minnesota for Christmas in years, I've started making them myself.  And now I can't help but to double the recipe, pack some into holiday-themed bags with ribbons and hand some out with our Christmas cards.  It's a nice little gesture that people really seem to appreciate.
And these people don't have to know how ridiculously easy they are to make...

the veggies (or nuts, etc):*
  • 1 lb roasted, salted mixed nuts, plus a little extra**
  • 1 egg white***
  • 1 TBS cold water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

the love:
  1. Preheat your oven to 225° and line a large sided cookie sheet with parchment.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat together the egg whites and water until bubbly.
  3. Add one pound of the nuts and mix until evenly moist.  If there's egg mixture pooling at the bottom of the bowl after mixing, add some extra nuts then stir some more.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  5. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the nuts and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  6. Spread the nuts out evenly onto the cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for an hour to 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the nuts are no longer gooey (they will still be a little sticky until they're completely cool).
  8. Cool completely and store in airtight containers, such as Christmas tins or bags, and  don't forget to share.


*I often double this recipe, which seems to work fine-- just make sure you use two pans to give the nuts enough room.
**I usually get a big thing of mixed nuts and a smaller can of cashews.
***If you or someone you're gifting to can't have eggs or are vegan, you might try this recipe for Eggnog Spiced Nuts recently posted on Peas and Thank You.  These nuts looks equally (if not slightly more) tasty, but a little less simple.  

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