I fell in love with candied nuts on a freezing winter day in Chicago. Each year Chicago hosts the Christkindlmarket, a traditional German outdoor Christmas market. I go there each year, usually to drink apple cider and buy handmade knitted hats. However, last year I discovered one of the booths that has these unbelievable nuts coated in cinnamon, sugar, and manifold other spices. (There are, like, thirteen different varieties there.) My favorite is their sugared cinnamon almonds, which are special to me because every time they bring back nostalgia of winter coats and red checks and way too many Christmas cookies. Oh, the holidays. Always a unique & beautiful time of year, especially in Chicago.
A few weeks ago, I walked the sunny streets of the Pearl in San Antonio, TX. It was a Saturday, which meant the weekly Farmer’s Market was taking place. There were booths with handmade soaps, crepes, and, of course, fresh produce. I was mindful of each booth as I walked by; it was my first time there! Upon walking around, I spotted a booth filled with a variety of pecan, peanut, and almond mixtures. Each was roasted, candied, and spiced. Obviously, I had to stop.
After sampling a few, I bought a bag or so. Later that day, during an afternoon study session (this is college, after all), my sister and I pulled out the candied cinnamon pecans. Oh. My. God. They were legitimately heavenly. I am 100% serious when I say I made my sister drive me back the next day to get the same ones. (The booth was located in a different place on Sunday. I was SO worried when I did not see them at first. What would I have done?!)
Now, candied cinnamon pecans will forever remind me of the time I spend with my sister in San Antonio. For me, candied nuts aren’t just a luscious treat—they are a [delightful] symbol of good times with good people, whether that is struggling to stay warm on a gray December day or sweating in the sun while in Texas in September. Sugared cinnamon pecans, for me, are just as associated with cowgirl boots and glitter as milk is with cookies.
Approximately the third thing I did when I got home from San Antonio was make my own version of the candied nuts. Literally: I showered, talked with my family, and then put together this recipe. They were then [an essential] part of my breakfast the next morning.
I did not have solely pecans, so I decided to use a variety of nuts, which was cashews, almonds, pecans, and some pistachios. For this recipe, raw is definitely best because you will add your own salt and roast them in the instructions. Adding the ginger & cinnamon give the nuts a perfect spice & flavor, and the vanilla gives an essential finishing touch. Lastly, use whatever type of nuts you like best! It does not have to be the variety I used.
Nuts are perfect as a snack, and they are also great as a topping. Spiced nuts also make a delightful & homemade gift, especially during the holidays. Let me know if you vary this recipe by adding different spices or using different varieties instead of pecans, almonds, and cashews.
Vanilla Candied Mixed Nuts with Cinnamon & Ginger
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 egg white
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups raw nuts
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg white and vanilla. Add in the mixed nuts, and fold together.
Add the sugar mixture to the coated nuts. Stir to combine and coat evenly.
Spread on a [lined] baking tray. Bake for 24 minutes. Let cool before eating.
“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”