My dream is to have Christmas somewhere cold, in a warm house with an open fire and the scent of cinnamon and pine in the air. Alas my Christmasses are always spent with the pumping noise of an overworked air-conditioner in the background, while we try to stay cool with glasses of sparkling wine (not whinging about that last bit 🙂 ). The only thing about my dream Christmas I can control is the cinnamon, so I tend to go into overdrive this time of year making as many spicy cinnamon dishes as I can.
I have always loved spicy candied nuts. There is something about the combination of spicy, sweet, savoury and nuttiness that makes them so dangerously morish (There is actually an Aussie nut company called Morish). This nut recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen. I originally published it on my lifestyle blog for The Sweet Swap but immediately thought how perfect it would be for Christmas gifts or even just nibbles on Christmas day.
Home made christmas gifts are the best. When I had more time I used to make up pots of jam or attempt to make fudge, even though candy-thermometers and I do not get on. There is something so much more rewarding about giving a gift you have put your time and love into. These spiced almonds are fairly fool-proof and take all of forty minutes to knock up including the baking time ( and no candy thermometers!).
The candied nut recipe has been adapted from the amazing Smitten Kitchen. Deb used cayenne pepper in her version but I love the milder heat and smokiness of smoked paprika.
You can use any nut you like. The secret is to make sure that you dry out your candied nuts perfectly so that they store well. From there it is up to you: pop the nuts into little jars tied up with ribbons as they are, dip each nut into your favourite chocolate or make up great big slabs of spicy, nutty, crunchable goodness. For me, the combination of smoky, sweet, spicy, salty nuts and good bittersweet dark chocolate is unbeatable.
But wait, there’s more! To celebrate the release of this new blog I have a Christmas giveaway running across both my blogs. The prize is a giftpack of some of my favourite things from local artists. First price includes:
A signed copy of $120 Food Challenge
Lollipop jar necklace from Saturday Lollipop
‘Backstroke Maiden’ print from One Two Carabou
Champagne & Strawberries candle from Shadow Moon Creations
Set of 4 crocheted watermelon coasters from Wild About Melbourne
There is a complete write up on the artists over at Seeking Victory.
To enter all you have to do is follow me on any two social media accounts including:
And tell me in the comments – what is your favourite Christmas treat? Be creative, my favourite answer will win the prize 🙂 You are welcome to enter on either blog.
This giveaway is now closed
- 200g/ 6-7 oz nuts
- 3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup caster sugar (I use raw caster sugar)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (crushed or flakes)
- 1/8 tsp (pinch) smoked paprika
- 1 egg white
- 1 Tbsp water
- 400g/ 13 oz good quality chocolate (milk, dark or white)
- Preheat oven to 150C/300F
- Mix sugars and spices together in a large flat bowl
- Whisk egg white and water together until frothy
- Add nuts to egg white mixture and coat well.
- Using a slotted spoon (or your fingers) carefully transfer half the nuts to the sugar mixture and coat well. Repeat with the remaining nuts.
- Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the nuts from the centre to the edges halfway through.
- Line a second tray with baking paper and transfer the nuts to the clean paper. Turn off oven and leave tray in oven another 10 minutes to dry the sugar coating.
- Allow to cool completely, separating the nuts as they cool.
- Gently melt chocolate using a double boiler or microwave.
- Lay out cooled nuts on a lined tray and drizzle with chocolate.
- Allow chocolate to set before breaking up into large crunchable chunks.
- Be careful to drain the egg white mixture off the nuts before sugar coating otherwise the mixture ends up very wet and sticky. If this happens, fret not, just make sure you transfer the nuts to the clean lined tray at the end of cooking and allow the sugar coating to dry in the warmth of the oven.