Sugar Spice Walnuts
One of my good friends is getting married in Cincinnati this weekend, and some of her family friends are hosting me so that I don’t have to stay in a hotel. This is a simple recipe, and many people are familiar with it. But it is also one of the easiest and most often appreciated thank you gifts in my culinary bunker.
The walnuts are crunchy both from the oven roasting and from the caramelized sugar. The spice level can range from sweetness-enhancing to sinus-clearing. Be sure to package these up as soon as they’re cool so that (I don’t break into your house and steal them or) you don’t eat them all yourself.
I know walnuts can get a little expensive. We’ve found reasonable prices at Mediterranean Imported Foods at the W. Side Market and Aldi on Euclid Ave.
1 1/2 cup raw walnut halves
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp chili powder (adjust to taste)
1/8 tsp kosher salt**
Preheat the oven to 350F. Fill a medium-sized pot with water, three inches from the rim. Bring the water to a boil on the stovetop. In the meantime, mix the sugar, cinnamon, and chili powder in a large mixing bowl. When the water is at a rolling boil, drop in the walnuts for 45 seconds to blanch them. Drain into a colander, and then transfer the walnuts to the sugar mix bowl and mix until the walnuts are evenly coated. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and spread the walnuts out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes; this can be variable, so keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t burn (turn them over to check). Remove from the oven and break up any clumping with a couple of spoons or forks. When cool enough to handle, break up the walnuts with your hands. Let cool completely and transfer to a container. Kept cool and dry, these walnuts should keep for 1-2 weeks
**What makes kosher salt “kosher”? Apparently kosher salt helps kosher-ize meat. Because it comes in bigger and more irregular granules than table salt, when applied to meat as a preservative it doesn’t dissolve as easily. This helps draw out fluids, such as blood, from the meat. Not bad for a goy, eh?
As for taste: from what I’ve been told, kosher salt is important when you want your food to be irregularly seasoned. Tiny sections that are saltier than others results in varied taste and enhanced deliciousness. And because of the punctuated saltiness, you can use less salt overall and stave off hypertension. Kosher salt isn’t as important when the salt is going to disburse evenly anyway, as in a soup.
This entry was posted in Snacks
. Bookmark the permalink