First up in my kitchen this morning: make a hostess gift. Since it is a day of eats and treats, it might as well be edible. A jar of these nuts pairs great with a bottle of wine. They became an instant favorite and staple in my holiday repertoire after my first try with this recipe.
Sweet and Spicy Pecans
via my cousin Theresa, adapted from Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country
1/3 cup dark-brown sugar
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (up this by a 1/2 tsp. for more of a sweet/salty balance)
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper (swapped this with 1/4 teaspoon of hot hungarian paprika)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound pecan halves (or walnuts or whole peeled hazelnuts)
1 egg white, room temperature
1 tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix sugars, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps; set aside. 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. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper. 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.