Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dirty up your salad with candied nuts!

Another salad for lunch. Now I'm not knocking salad at all. I love salad. I like that there's basically no limit to what you can make. I love that I can put together something ripe and interesting and light without having to turn on the stove. But come on guys... by now you know that I LOVE to turn on the stove! So with tomorrow's lunch time salad, I'm going to have to give it a little bit of that extra oomph... and that's not going to be accomplished with a topping of canned tuna. I'm thinking that I've got some nuts left over from some other adventure a few weeks back. There's maybe twenty big walnuts, and about fifteen decadent-sized pecans. It's time to candy the nuts. 
If you've never made candied nuts before, it's so easy. There's really nothing to it. The main thing to remember is to pay attention. This isn't going to take long, but if you take your eye off of melting sugar, disaster will ensue. So turn on your oven to 350 degrees, and throw your nuts onto a cookie sheet lined with tin foil. Once temperature has been met, throw your nuts in for about four to five minutes. During this short period of time, you can set up a nice little candy station. Another cookie sheet, lined with parchment goes next to the stove. You'll need two forks to separate the nuts after pouring them on the parchment (you don't want one big clump, do you). Oh, and a thick bottom pan, with about a half cup of run of the mill white sugar (don't turn on heat quite yet... one step at a time people). Oh, and if you like salty nuts as much as I do (insert perverted joke here), have a little kosher salt ready to sprinkle over the finished product.
Nuts are done, take them out of the oven. Turn on your stove, at about medium high heat, and stir the sugar with a wooden spoon, constantly. When the sugar starts to melt, it's going to melt quickly, turning first partially liquid, and then a sticky, hot mess. Don't touch it... it burns... I've been there. When all the grains of sugar have melted into an amber liquid, pick up your tin foil, and slide your roasted nuts into the sugar. Work quickly, and stir everything around, until all the little beauties are covered. Turn off the stove, and immediately pour your sugar/nut concoction onto the parchment paper that had been set aside earlier. Spread them out, and separate each nut using the two forks. Now, sprinkle with your salt. 
You are so done, and these are so good. While one of the most delicious snacks on this planet, I promise that they'll add an interesting protein, salty, sweet crunch to punch up any salad. It's not just a salad, it's a salad with salty candy nuts!

A couple handfuls of big walnuts and pecans
1/2 cup of white sugar
Dash of Salt

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