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Recipe: Sweet and Spicy Walnuts

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Nuts
Alina Spradley/Moment Open/Getty Images
I can never decide if I like these sweet and salty nuts best as a snack by themselves or as a topping for salads or desserts. If you like, you can substitute pecans for the walnuts. They can be stored for a week or so in an airtight container, or they freeze for months (we almost always have a bag in the freezer).

Yield: About 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound walnut halves and pieces
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Fine salt

Preparation:

1. Place the nuts in a large heat-proof bowl. Cover them with boiling water and let sit for a minute or so. (Alternately, you can bring a pot of water to a boil and add the nuts.)

2. Drain and pour back into the bowl.

3. Mix the sugar and cayenne and pour over the nuts. Add the oil and mix well. The sugar will dissolve and form a syrup.

4. Spread the nuts out onto a rimmed baking sheet (you can line with a silicone baking mat if you like), spreading them out into a single layer as much as possible.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. You want them to get deep golden brown, and I've found that the time can vary. Start checking them at 25 minutes, but they can sometimes take much longer.

6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle heavily with salt. Let cool and remove from pan. These can be stored for a week or so in an airtight container, or they freeze for months.

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