I don’t know about you, but every Christmas I’m confronted with the dilemma of what to give to people I don’t know terribly well. You know the category: extended family, business acquaintances, neighbors. I care about them and want to give them something nice and heartfelt—but what? Solution: homemade sweets!
Luckily, I work at Lark and didn’t have to go far to find a recipe. Poring through Sweet Confections by Nina Wanat, my mouth watering at every page, I came across a recipe for Sour Cream Candied Nuts. This old-fashioned recipe makes nuts enrobed in a thick, sugary coating and infused with alluring spiciness. Mm, what a crunchy, crusty treat! Make some up, wrap them in pretty packaging, embellish with ribbon, and presto! a gift from the heart.
SOUR CREAM CANDIED NUTS (makes about 2 cups)
- 2/3 cup of packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1/4 cup of sour cream
- 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cups of roasted walnuts, almonds, or pecans
- Baking sheet, parchment paper, wooden spoon, candy thermometer, food-safe gloves
- Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the sugar, salt and sour cream in a 2-quart saucepan and stir occasionally over medium heat until the mixture reaches 240 degrees.
- Remove from heat. Add the vanilla, cinnamon and nuts to the syrup and stir vigorously until the syrup becomes dry and matted, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Pour the coated nuts onto the parchment paper, put on your gloves, and immediately separate the nuts. Let cool, then store in an airtight container. So easy, so fast, so tasty!
Directions for use
- Grasp a few nuts between the thumb and index.
- Bend the elbow and raise the hand to the face.
- Open the mouth and pop in the nuts. Chew, savor, repeat. Yum!
Besides being snack-worthy all by themselves, you can also toss them on salads (a mixture of baby arugula, shredded manchego and candied pecans is oh-so-delicious); garnish ice cream, brownies and other baked goods, or bake them right in (sinful!); or put them in cereal to start the day off right (!).