I love some crunch on my lunch time salads --- not just simple crunch with healthy nuts, but luxurious crunch with nuts candied in a tad of butter, brown sugar and sometimes a pinch of cayenne pepper. But it is the holidays, and time to change things up: time for vanilla and cinnamon. Delicious (and not just as a salad topping)!
Cinnamon spiced candied nuts
- 3/4 cup slivered almonds
- 3/4 cup walnut halves, chopped into medium sized pieces (or chopped pecans)
- 1/2 TB butter
- 1 ts vanilla extract
- 2 TB brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 ts ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground cloves (cautious, this is a strong flavor, add very little).
In a large skillet melt the butter on medium heat and add the vanilla extract. Turn down the heat to low, and add the nuts, the brown sugar and the spices and salt (it might be good to premix the spices and the sugar before adding them to the pan). Stir the mixture until all nuts are well coated. Slowly turn the heat higher to medium heat and constantly gently stir the mix. It will take about 2-3 min until you see the sugar melting and becoming candy-like, stir for 1 more minute, turn of the heat and take the pan off the stove. Gently stir the mixture for about 1 min until it is slightly cooled off, and then distributed in a single layer on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Wait about 15 min until the candied nuts are cooled and can be stored in an airtight container.