Monday, December 17, 2012

Sweet holiday nuts



These sweet crunchy meringue-coated nuts are something I've been wanting to try my hand at for a while now, and I am very pleased with the first couple of batches.

Start with preheating the oven to 325 and put the stick of butter in a 9x13 pan in the oven.  Keep an eye on it so it does not burn, but it needs to melt. Waiting until the last step to do it seems to take a long time, watched pots and all that. 

WASH the eggs.  Even though they will be cooked, precaution is best.  Separate the eggs - put the whites into a large bowl, with high sides if you have one, and the yolks in a covered container in the fridge for another recipe.  Eggnog is an excellent companion recipe to use the yolks (I'll have that one ready for you soon!).

This is the mixture forming stiff peaks.  Do not eat them.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks begin to form. I used my great little hand mixer on high speed.  Watching the clear watery egg whites turn frothy is neat!  They expand quite a bit too.  This was my first time making anything meringue-related that did not involve a microwave (which I don't recommend by the way).  Add sugar, salt and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form and turn glossy. Fold in nuts and coat well with the egg white mixture.  Stir in cinnamon.

Fold in nuts with a spoon.  I just wanted to show off my hand mixer.  :)

Evenly spread coated nuts over melted butter in pan and put the pan back in the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes, stirring and turning nuts about every 8 minutes, or until butter no longer remains in pan. Place hot nuts on foil and allow to cool.  Get them out of that pan as soon as they come out of the oven, once the sugar starts to set they do not want to come out.  Wait until they cool completely before eating or packaging them.

Baked nuts just out of the oven!

Sweet holiday nuts, ready for gifting

Sweet Holiday Nuts
Source: Allrecipes.com
Makes 1 pound of nuts

INGREDIENTS
2 egg whites
1 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound walnut halves
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2. Beat egg whites until soft peaks begin to form. Add sugar, salt and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form and turn glossy. Fold in nuts and coat well with the egg white mixture.
3. Melt butter in a 9x13 inch baking pan by placing pan in the oven. Evenly spread coated nuts over melted butter in pan.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring and turning nuts about every 8 minutes, or until butter no longer remains in pan. Move hot nuts to foil and allow to cool. May be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.


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