You don’t have to risk life and limb messing with molten caramel to make delicious, candied nuts. There is a much quicker way to conduct this sweet business, and it doesn’t involve candy thermometers, silicon mats, or burn cream. These candied nuts are so simple, tasty, and pretty, that making them would be a great activity to do with kids. All you need is some sugar and a bit of egg white. Oh, and nuts.
Usually at-home sugar work involves melting the good stuff to nearly 350°F, ruining it with crystallization, and grumpily starting over again. However, once you get it right, the pay-off is a shiny, crystal clear, hard candy coating on anything that you dip into it. This method doesn’t melt sugar in the same way, and will give you a different look, but it still delivers on the toasted nuttiness, the crunch, and the sweetness. In fact, it gives them a look I might describe as “snowy,” which means they make for a an even more festive cheese board accent for winter holiday parties. So here’s what you need to do.
Toss the raw nuts you want to candy into a bowl along with a small amount of egg white. Use your hands to stir, thoroughly coating the nuts in the egg white. Drop some white granulated sugar in the bowl and toss to coat. Spread the sugar and egg white coated nuts on a parchment lined baking sheet and toast in a 350°F oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. The nuts might stick together a little bit; just break them apart once they’ve cooled.
Be careful not to overdo it on the egg white. For about ½ cup of nuts, I use only a scant teaspoon of egg white and one tablespoon of sugar. The egg white acts as a flavorless glue to bring the nuts and sugar together. The white dries in the oven, and you’re left with sparkling clusters of sugar-coated nuts. If you dump in too much egg white you’ll end up with globs of white on the sheet tray and the sugar won’t coat the nuts as evenly. Since egg white isn’t the easiest to scoop straight out of the egg, separate the white from the yolk in a small bowl and scramble it with a fork until it gets a little frothy. This will break up the albumen so it’s not so globular, at which point you can more easily scoop it with a teaspoon.
Make this as a festive snack simply served in a bowl for a party, or as a glittering cake or pie decoration. The following recipe can be made with any kind of nut, and multiplied for larger batches.
Easy Sugared Nuts
- ½ cup raw nuts
- 1 teaspoon egg white
- 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
Mix the nuts and egg white together in a small bowl until evenly coated. Add the sugar to the bowl and toss. Spread the nuts out on the sheet tray and bake in a 350°F oven for 10-12 minutes, or until browned and fragrant. Let cool completely, about 15-30 minutes, before serving.