Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sweet Chipotle Walnuts (For Beth)

Normally I don't do recipes around here. I am not a cook - sometimes I get onto little enthusiasms for cooking, but it doesn't last long. My dinners are pretty utilitarian - I rely on Mark Bittman and Smitten Kitchen to figure things out for me and make me look good. I don't mind experimenting when I am comfortable with a recipe, but, eh, cooking? Not my favorite thing.

That being said, I do enjoy baking. If I have a free day I love making bread.  And with a little spare time I like to make goodies to add a little sparkle to my otherwise by-the-book meals.  The following is based on a number of recipes bumming around the internet, adapted to be a little spicier for those of us who love a little ZING!

Normally I use my Dad's honey, but sadly, his hives haven't been very productive in a few years, so, store-bought honey. Can't wait for the farmers' market to open this spring!

Sweet Chipotle Walnuts

3/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups whole walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with rack in the middle of the oven.

In a medium bowl, combine salt and sugar - stir well. Set aside bowl.

In a skillet, combine honey, chipotle, and cinnamon, and warm until the spices are incorporated and the honey becomes very runny.

Add the two cups of whole walnuts to the skillet and stir with a spatula until the nuts are coated and the pan has very little pooling honey.

Put wax paper onto a cookie sheet, and spread the nuts evenly as a single layer onto the sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes - you should start to smell the walnuts releasing their oil. While the nuts are baking, spread a second sheet of wax paper on the counter.

Take the walnuts out of the oven and allow them to "set" for about 1 minute on the stove top. Carefully pick up the wax paper with the cooling nuts on it, and pour it into the bowl with the sugar and salt mixture. Be very careful not to touch the walnuts as the honey will stick to your skin and burn you!

With a spatula, mix the nuts and the sugar/salt together until there are no loose grains at the bottom of the bowl.  Pour onto the second piece of wax paper and spread into a single layer.

Let them cool completely. This is super important! If the walnuts are still warm when you put them in an airtight container they will release moisture as they cool - then they get soggy. Not nice.

Store them in an airtight container. For gifts, I like to put about 1 cup's worth of walnuts into old jam jars. These would be amazing with either pecans or cashews for those unable to eat walnuts.

I serve the Sweet Chipotle Walnuts on top of salads with goat cheese and cranberries. But often they don't last very long - P eats them straight from the jar. I usually make two batches at a time (back-to-back, rather than just doubling the recipe) because honestly, these suckers disappear so fast!


1 comment:

  1. I think I'd eat these straight from the jar just like P!