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Sweet and Savory Spiced Nuts

Sweet and Savory Spiced Nuts

These delicious nuts, simply wrapped, make for a welcome gift during the holiday season. The hardest part? Keeping the kids from eating the fruits (and nuts!) of their labors before they reach their intended destination.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecan halves

SPICE MIX:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less to taste)

GLAZE:

  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola or corn oil

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven (or toaster oven) to 350°. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast them for 6 minutes or until they are fragrant and their color deepens slightly.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, stir together the spice mix.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the glaze ingredients and bring them to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Stir in the toasted nuts and continue to stir until all the nuts are shiny and the liquid is gone, about 1 to 2 minutes. Move the glazed nuts to a mixing bowl, sprinkle on the spice mix, and toss them well to coat. Spread the coated nuts on a cookie sheet and return them to the oven for another 4 minutes; check regularly to make sure they don't burn. Remove and let cool. Makes 2 cups.
  4. WRAPPING IT UP: We placed our pecans in a ceramic bowl that we then wrapped in clear cellophane (the sturdy material used to cover fruit baskets; we bought ours at a craft store). We used a 20-inch-wide sheet about a yard long. Place the bowl in the center, bring the corners up to the top, and tie the bundle with a wire-edge craft ribbon. To make tying the bow easier, first secure the corners with a twist tie. Trim the excess cellophane at the top with scissors. Other packaging options: decorative tins and lined cardboard boxes. Avoid placing the nuts in plastic bags, as the coating rubs off.

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