This month’s theme for the love bloghop is nuts. With the holidays approaching, I am really excited to see all of the recipes and get some ideas for some new holiday treats.

I knew once I saw the theme that I finally had the excuse to post this recipe. This is, by no means, a new recipe for me. I have been making it for every party and family function for the last three years. I wish I could say it was my recipe, but instead it’s a recipe I got from Food and Wine magazine. It features a nut that used to love to hate and now I just plain love, the king of nuts: the walnut.

walnuts

A handful of walnuts has more antioxidants than any other nut. They are rich in omega-3s, Vitamin E, calcium, iron, and other minerals (source). So, even though these are cooked with sugar and sesame seeds, you can still feel a little good about eating them.

 

Sweet and Spicy Walnuts

recipe from Food and Wine magazine

1 pound or 4 cups walnut halves
1 cup sugar
[1/2] cup water
[2/3] cup sesame seeds
1 [1/2] tsp cayenne pepper
[1/2] tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 (dg)F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  You want to use parchment paper here because it will be messy.

2. In a large saucepan, combine walnuts, sugar, and water. It won’t seem like a lot of water, but it’s plenty. Don’t be tempted to add more.

walnuts, sugar, and water

3. Over medium heat, bring water to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.

4. Add sesame seeds, cayenne pepper, and salt. Stir constantly until water is nearly evaporated.

5. Lower heat, and continue to stir until walnuts are golden and sandy.

sandy sweet and spicy walnuts

6. Spread mixture out in an even layer in prepared baking sheet. Before you even put it into the oven, wash your saucepan and spoon. Trust me on this. You don’t want to wait.

7. Put pan in oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until nuts are deeply golden. Do NOT try to bake until crisp. They will be a little soggy and crisp as they dry. They will also be more spicy when they are hot from the oven. If you try one, trust that they will mellow out as they cool.

sweet and spicy walnuts

8. Let walnuts cool completely and then break apart any large clusters.

Recipe Review:

Warning: These walnuts are highly addictive.

sweet and spicy walnuts

When we make them, we have to tie them up in multiple bags and hide them so we don’t eat them all before the party or get together.

sweet and spicy walnuts

I am not even joking.

For big parties, aka more than 8 people, you will want to make a double batch.

sweet and spicy walnuts

 

And wherever you set them at the party, you will find a group of people camped out.

sweet and spicy walnuts

They are sweet, crunchy, with just the right amount of heat after you swallow. You can adjust that heat by decreasing or increasing (if you dare) the amount of cayenne pepper.

December is #nutlove month!

Please join in on the #nutlove fun by linking up any recipe that contains nuts from the month of December 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #nutlove event! The twitter hashtag is #nutlove :).

To see more nut recipes and see this month’s hosts, check out the blogs below.

Baking and Cooking, a Tale of Two Loves– Becky
Cheap Ethnic Eatz ~ Evelyne
No One Likes Crumbley Cookies ~ T.R.
Rico sin Azúcar ~ Helena
Teaspoon of Spice ~ Serena
The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen ~ Susan Palmer
The Spicy RD ~ EA Stewart
Vegan Yack Attack ~ Jackie S

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