These nuts are so addictive I never wait for them to cool off before I get my fix, resulting in a burnt tongue. They are sweet from the sugar and spicy from the cayenne pepper. I usually use these nuts in salads but they are great on their own, or even on an ice cream sundae ..yum. They also make great gifts.
This recipe makes a large batch but you can easily cut it in half. Sometimes I like to replace the white sugar with maple syrup. You can experiment with whatever combination you like, the measurements do not have to be exact.
Sweet and Spice Nuts: Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1/3 cup dark-brown sugar
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp pinch of cayenne pepper (depending on much heat you prefer)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound walnut, pecan halves, or almonds (or combination)
1 egg white, room temperature
1 tablespoon water
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix brown sugar and granulated sugar, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps and set aside.
3. Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add nuts, and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture, and toss until evenly coated.
4. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.
5.Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool. When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.