sugar and spice candied nuts Recipes

sugar-and-spice candied nuts

I am, without a better way to put it, swimming in nuts.* Appalled by the price of nuts everywhere around here but insisting that it wasn’t going to keep me from baking with them, I asked my mother out in the ‘burbs — a place where people are less confident they can get away with swindling $9.99 for 1.25 cups of pecans — to see if she could do better. She came back with fifteen pounds for about $30 from Costco, five of walnuts, five of pecan and five of almonds. It is, in a word, awesome.

almonds and pecans
hot smoky paprika

And yet, despite the fact that many of my favorite recipes involve them in one way or another, I had not made even the slightest dent in the almonds and only a paltry one in the pecans as of last week, and they’re taking up a lot of space in the pantry and freezer. (I believe this is called The Costco Effect.) Obviously it was time to break out the big guns, a recipe sure to be so addictive, pounds would disappear (from the pantry, not our guts, that is) at a breakneck pace and the only thing left to do (besides sit-ups) would be to ask my mother to go back to Costco again.

sugar and spices

frothing the egg whites

These worked, and then some. The recipe is courtesy of Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country a Texas-themed honky-tonk barbecue joint on 26th Street whose moist brisket is becoming something of a religion to us, and who shared it with New York Magazine in their roundup of favorite holiday food gifts from local chefs. I didn’t actually get to it in time for gifts, but it doesn’t mean a single person has complained (and then politely asked for more) when I’ve given them away since. Because I can’t have them around us anymore. They are dangerous.

tossing with egg white

ready to roast

I hope you all have wonderful New Years, merciful January 1sts and get everything you want, including that pony, in the 2009.

sweet and smoky-spicy nuts

* My goal is to see how many times I can get certain people to giggle before the end of this entry.

** I’ll try to get one of those nice little 2008 round-ups together tomorrow. A certain someone that I genuinely adore but still might throttle because he refuses to wear a hat (and often gloves and a scarf and omg I have turned into all of our mothers) brought home a stuffy head and cough to his wife who always wears a hat, gloves, a scarf and even a hood and it’s slowing me down a bit today not that I am rubbing it in or anything.

Sugar-and-Spice Candied Nuts
Adapted from Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country

Karmel says: “A mason jar full of nuts and a pretty ceramic bowl is my favorite gift. If you bring these to a party, tell the host or hostess to hide them, or they will disappear.”

Deb says: These are so insanely easy to make — and from ingredients you probably already have on hand — they’re perfect to bring to any party. Like that one tonight.

1/3 cup dark-brown sugar
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (I might up this by a 1/2 tsp. next time for more of a sweet/salty balance)
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper (I swapped this with 1/4 teaspoon of hot smoked paprika)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound walnut or pecan halves or whole peeled hazelnuts
1 egg white, room temperature
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix sugars, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps; set aside. Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add walnuts, and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool. When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.

See more: Candy, Photo

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225 comments on sugar-and-spice candied nuts

  1. Susan

    Happy New Years Eve! I want these nuts so I’m gonna make them (that’s what she said..omg..I really said this here, didn’t I?). Thanks, Deb! Have fun tonight!

  2. I bought my nuts this year at Costco…I was amazed how much I could get for so little! Thanks for the recipe and for your awesome blog!!! It is one of my favorite finds of 2008…Happy New Year!

  3. I made these this year too and gave them away as gifts. (Also made from Costco’s Nuts!) Everyone loved them, and I got way more compliments on them than on any of the other things that took considerably more time. Next year, I might just make these and forget the cookies. I love the paprika suggestion… might have to try that next time. Happy New Year!

  4. deb

    Funny/worrisome aside about the too-cheap-to-probably-be-a-good-idea nuts: I treated myself to a mani/pedi on Monday (heaven!) and couldn’t help but notice that the plastic wrap, lotion and spray-dryant brand they used at the place was the same as the nuts — “Kirkland Signature”. Alex tells me they’re like a Sysco, and they distribute everything, but still: Ew.

  5. Julia

    I gave out sugared pecans as gifts this year since I was short on time for making cookies or other baked goods. Costco rocks my world with their great prices on nuts! I found the pecans I got there much better than the ones at my local grocery store.

  6. I did cookies this year too, and I think next year, in pretty containers, this will make a great companion. And yes, I’m going to whip up a batch for the NYE party I’m going to tonight, because relatives in Alabama sent me a pound of pecans and I need to get rid of them too!

  7. I buy my pecans from a guy from Georgia, who sells them even CHEAPER than Costco or Trader Joe’s and his are fresher.
    I am putting these on my pear and gorgonzola salad for New Yrs Eve tonight.

    Happy New Year Debra. Looking forward to reading you in 2009.
    Stacey Snacks

  8. E.J.

    Deb, you’re a corker! Thanks for the ever entertaining blog and a delightful perspective on life…just skewed enough to give stuffy types a moment’s pause. BTW, Smitten Kitchen is tied for the lead over at Apartment Therapy’s best food blog of the year. Thought you’d like to know (as if you didn’t already). If it’s not too late to vote, put SK over the top.

  9. Larissa

    Deb, these look divine! And being from Texas, where our state tree is the pecan tree, I am constantly surrounded by gallon bags of shelled pecans from my boyfriend’s grandmother. Now I have a recipe where they will be used more quickly!!! Thanks a million for all the awesome recipes. Happy New Year!

  10. Deb,

    Kirkland Signature is Costco’s “generic” brand. They contract with other companies to provide items for them (from nuts to plastic wrap and beyond!) It’s not the same company that makes all the items. :)

  11. tsp

    these look awesome! i’ve already made my nuts for tonights “big” new years celebration (thanks david leite!), but i’ll have to try these soon!

    BTW, the feta salsa…also a HUGE hit when i made it the first time last week. That’s making another appearance tonight as well.

  12. That’s what SHE said. I literally spit up my water ALL OVER THE COMPUTER SCREEN after reading the first sentence. Those nuts WERE dangerous. I ate all but 4 of them monday night and then of course, finished the last 4 last night and lamented their disappearance. These were AMAZING. I hope you and Alex feel better – Happy New Year to you both – and good luck with the pony. I can pony-sit for you when you’re out of town.

  13. Irene

    Don’t you love the dilemma of buying bulk nuts so that you’ll have them cheap, then trying to figure out ways to use them before they go bad and b/c they’re taking up so much space?
    These look delicious!
    I’m a fan of making the nyc streetcart nut b/c they don’t use eggwhites which I find messy. Jacques Torres gives a great online demo on the foodtv site. You basically cook sugar and nuts together on the stove until the sugar melts, caramelizes, then turns sandy.
    Happy new year!

  14. Rachel W

    Hi Stacey Snacks-
    As a transplanted North Carolinian who no longer has a back yard pecan tree, I ask, nay plead, with you to share contact info for your cheap nuts guy with the rest of us!
    Pecans rule!

  15. Nicole M

    Maybe these will get my husbandl stop asking why I have a grocery bag of assorted nuts in the freezer at all times? I don’t know why he even cares since they usually go in tasty baked goods which he loves!

  16. Jenny

    I just whipped some up for my friends to nosh on after bar this evening with leftover nuts from various recipes and some almonds I picked up at the grocery store today. My bf gave me smoked paprika in my stocking, so that worked out. Can’t wait to try them in 30 minutes!

  17. Beth

    In addition to the salt called for, I add a little more salt to my nuts while they’re still fairly warm from the oven. Quite wonderful!

  18. Dwilah

    They’ve done studies that show cold weather really doesn’t make you cold (unless you go hypothermic or are cold and wet for extended periods or something). Getting sick more often in winter is actually because people stay inside more!

    (Don’t hate me. I’m a non-hat-or-heavy-coat wearer in Chicago. I already get enough flak from the coworkers!)

  19. Ah-ha! Great minds think alike! As I am also overrun with nuts at present, so I just made two batches of my new favorite thing, called “Pecan Puffs” that my friend’s sweet elderly mom first made for me. They are so simple–basically, pecans in a brown sugar meringue–but SO addicting! They’re like pecan CRACK!

    But now I need to try this recipe, too. Thanks a lot, Deb! ;-)

    HAPPY NEW YEAR! –Gina

    P.S. The recipe for the Pecan Puffs is on my own little blog, if anyone is interested. Here’s the link (the recipe is about midway through the long post): http://lindseysluscious.blogspot.com/2008/12/christmas-wrap-up.html

  20. Girl, you must live on a treadmill. Just letting you know that your sacrifice is appreciated. ;-) I always wondered why the sugar never stuck to my candied nuts before, but for some reason I’d never thought to use egg whites. Maybe next time they’ll turn out better.

  21. Karen

    Checkout Sunnyland Farms online for the best, freshest nuts anywhere. They are located in Albany, Ga My sister gets hers at Costco and I sent her some from this site for Christmas. She could not believe how much better they were.

    Enjoying all the recipes.

  22. Suzanne from the RVA

    So how often does this happen? 2 hours before I have people coming over, I decide I need one more thing on the buffet table. Certainly Deb hasn’t posted anything new today…but wait! Something I want to make and I actually have everything on hand! Received rave reviews on your nuts! ;)

  23. These are delicious AND dangerous! I used Penzey’s Vietnamese cinnamon and smoked Spanish paprika. The cinnamon overpowered the paprika so next time I’ll probably up the paprika and cut back on the cinnamon. I suggest doubling the salt so it doesn’t get lost in the sugar.

  24. I’m experiencing the same CostCo effect with the same nuts in my own house. My solution originally was to make banana bread with pecans, but that will barely make a dent. Thank you for saving the space in my kitchen. Again, you’re my hero.

  25. Natasha A.

    I love spiced nuts. I always do pecans. The recipe I use is done in the microwave, and doesn’t have the egg whites (husband is allergic to eggs!). Whenever I take them anywhere they are the first to go. Aren’t they amazing? and SO simple!

  26. Karen

    Just a word to the wise…read the labels at Costco and other stores. I don’t know where their nuts are from, but I do remeber how excited I was about a bag of pine nuts from Costco… That is, until I read the back of the package, and it said they were from China. I am not usually squeamish (sic) but I am now afraid of food from China. The same goes for the bulk foods sections in grocery stores. I work at a grocery store and when I asked where the pine nuts were from, guess what? Yep, China. Waahh!

  27. These look great, my dad happens to farm 20 acres of walnuts and insures a lot of almond farmers(who give us bags and bags of them at Christmas) so I have tons of nuts I wasn’t sure what to do with, I think I’ll get busy and make some of these tasty nuts!!

  28. These look simply amazing. I love pecans and I love anything sweet and cinnamony with a touch of the exotic. And now I know what to do with that jar of smoked paprika I brought back with me from my last trip to the US.

  29. I just bought some bulk pecans at Whole Foods for a brunch dish I’m making tomorrow… highway freakin’ robbery.

    I wanted to shake the cashier, but it wasn’t her fault.

    Unfortunately, I have enough storage room to actually make a Costco membership useful… If I’ve ever flush though, this recipe is on my list ;)

    Happy New Years,
    Nick

  30. Just one more reason for my husband to eat his nuts. That didn’t come out right. Oh well.
    I think that I might be able to make a pound of these a week and they would disappear at my husband’s work.

  31. maria

    Just stuck these is the oven. It sure seemed like a lot of sugar. I wouldve liked the lb. measurement in cups,as I had a partially used 3lb. bag of Costco pecans. I estimated a pound to be about 4 cups (?). I will post back in about an hour to say how they turned out. Most of the posts that precede this one talk about how good they look, how they cantwait to make them, etc etc but very few that actually say they made them and how they came out, so I shall do that soon. I am making these in the hopes that they’ll be great on salad as the candied walnuts in WF are around $18.49 per pound!!!!!!

  32. What kismet! I saw this post on the 31st and just happened to have a pound of pecans and a pound of walnuts at home. My uncle harvests them so they were fresh and free! I used both kinds of nuts and took them to the NYE party I attended that night. They were a hit! Folks tried one kind first and loved it, then tried the other and thought they might like that one better. It worked whichever nut they ate first. Plus, they couldn’t believe there wasn’t any butter. If/when I do these again, I will add more cayenne because that flavor barely came through and it would have added a nice kick, but overall a great recipe. Thanks!!

  33. maria

    Okay–Im back. They are good and I think they will serve my intended purposes for sprinkling on an arugula salad but—-I find that for eating out of hand, they are just a bit too sweet. I know there will probably be many that disagree with me, as I dont have a huge sweet tooth. Also, I can see where this does make a nice gift in a mason jar tied up with a pretty ribbon and a label. Its different than the usual thing that people give such as cookies. I will keep it in mind for next year. Id love a recipe for glazed nuts that have a shiny coating, similar to the ones that I saw in Whole Foods—-anyone have one?

  34. Elizabeth D

    In response to Maria — I think your sugar estimate was off; hence the “too sweet” decision. One cup is 8 ounces, so you needed just 2 cups of sugar to make your pound. These do sound good. . .

  35. A friend of mine led me to your blog, and I’m so glad she did! Wonderful, wonderful. I can’t wait to steal more recipes from this site and then pretend I made them up because I’m an untrained culinary genius.

  36. These nuts look great! I don’t have a Costco membership, but I always ask friends that do to buy me walnuts when they go. It is quite the deal compared to grocery stores. Happy New Year!

  37. amy

    please. please. post something. anything. to push the nuts below my screen.
    I love spiced/sweet nuts, and I need not be eating them right now.
    they are TOO tempting.

  38. Always the tinkerer, I was leery of using the whole batch of sugar mix and left out about a third. Some of the nuts are deliciously crunchy, but other have a bit of soft sugar-egg-white softness on the bottom. Do you think I can re-toast these?

  39. maria

    In response to elizabeth-I was estimating what a lb of NUTS(not sugar) would be–and I came up with about 4 cups–I wasnt estimating sugar. I used the exact amounts the recipe called for with regards to sugar. If I’d used a full 2 cups of sugar in this recipe, the nuts wouldve been inedible. As it was, with the 1/3 c dark sugar and the 2/3 c gran. sugar, I still found them a bit too sweet. However, like I said, I must be kinda weird in not having a real sweet tooth. I liike sweets, just dont like my sweets to be cloying. Having said that, my 15 year old son loved the nuts and had many helping of them.
    Thanks Elizabeth for your help anyhow and thanks Deb for the shiny nuts recipe.
    Id love to see posts of others who’ve actually made the sugar and spice candied nuts!!

  40. kim

    i use orange juice instead of egg white and water. brown sugar, salt and cayenne. they are perfectly sweet/salty balanced and not as sugary looking. they also bake off a bit more caramelized.

  41. Betty

    You really don’t have to use all your nuts right away. I have a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer, and I just freeze nuts in either heavy plastic bags or in glass. They last several months like that, and don’t go rancid. After all, I like to use nuts along through the year, not just when they’re in season!

  42. kellymo

    Oooh, this kind of recipe is the best. I Costco’d myself into something like 50 cups worth of spiced pecans as Christmas gifts for the office/neighbors this year, and they were awfully well received.
    David Lebovitz has another recipe that’s fantastic – uses melted butter & maple syrup rather than egg white. It calls for a mix of nuts & pretzels, but over time, in our house it’s morphed to all pecans with ground chipotle subbed for the cayenne and fleur de sel just to be extravagant.:) The smokiness of the chipotle smells great with the roasted pecans.

  43. don

    Thanks for the reminder. Years ago I found a recipe similar to this for Cajun Cashews (you can imagine). I never tried it then because I immediately lost the newspaper column it was in.Now that I have a base recipe I’ll try it. Thanks again for this and for your blog. I love your selection, your photography and your sense of humour.
    Don

  44. Denise

    Just thought you would enjoy hearing that you were wonderful on Martha Stewart. I was so excited to get turned on to your site. I made your candied nut recipe and it was a huge hit.I have told 30 or 40 people about your site. May this year bring you a tremendous amount of joy. Thanks for being such a wonderful blogger.

  45. I am new to blogging and recently discovered yours. Everything looks delicious. I look forward to following it regularly. I was at Costco just yesterday and made a batch of burnt almonds from Delicious Day’s entry of semifreddo with burnt almonds. I plan to give them out tomorrow – dressed as “La Befana” – to a group of my Italian friends who meet for coffee each week. But I will keep your recipe for a future gift idea.

  46. I do a similar combination of sweet and spice, with the addition of ground cumin. But, what my version is sorely lacking is your use of egg white – I have never done that before! I am so smitten (excuse the pun) with the look of your nubbly crust that I am eager to try out yours! These look wonderful, thank you for sharing.

  47. kari

    thanks for sharing, deb. these looks delicious! perfect to stave off the bitter cold of january. have you ever made spicy-rosemary cashews? the recipe i’m thinking of may be from ina garten and published in a newspaper that my mom clipped a few years ago, but i can’t be certain. anyway, fresh rosemary and some cayenne! maybe a good way to use up your remaining nuts…

  48. Mandah

    Everyone I give these to can’t stop eating them. I even gave some to my new maybe-man-friend, and he was enthralled (I’m pretty sure that I single-handedly ruined his diet). I also wanted to tell you that over the holidays, I also made the Cream Cheese Noodle Kugel (for Christmas dinner, *giggle*), the Creamy Mac and Cheese (also for Christmas dinner), and the Homemade Oreos for the cookie exchange at work. People ask me where I come up with these recipes, and I tell them about SmittenKitchen and your amazingness. So thanks for helping me look so good!

  49. Dwilah

    I was looking at the pictures and couldn’t figure out why there wasn’t butter listed in the recipe’s ingredients–but then I realized it was the egg white! No butter–that means these are healthy, right?!

  50. Jenniffer

    I sell a similar treat at our local mountain market in snack-sized bags for $1/oz and make a killing :) I have samples out for tasting and no one can resist :)

  51. Great recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    Just had to back up your husband and agree with Dwilah from above: going outside without a coat/gloves/hat in no way increases ones risk for getting the common cold.

  52. Sonja

    Whoa, I made these today and they’re delicious, but I forgot to line the pan with parchment paper– don’t skip this step! I’ve been scrubbing and scrubbing to no avail– the sugar is cemented onto the pan and I CAN’T get it off!

  53. Stacey

    A very late post to say these look awesome! I do a mix with a honey/soy sauce/sesame oil/cumin/cayenne mix which always goes down a treat, but I love a straight-forward spicy/sweet mix, especially one that looks so nice and sandy/crunchy, so I’ll give these a whirl.

  54. It looks perfect and appetizing, i add with a sweet sauce like a Russian or honey sauce. Think will try it over the holiday weekend. I am eager to try out yours! These look wonderful, thank you for info.

  55. USinDE

    I’d like to make these but in Germany dark brown sugar is impossible to find. Think I can use molasses? Can you recommend a substitution ratio? Love the site, thanks!

  56. USinDE

    Thanks! Made them this afternoon as a xmas-gift-tryout and my husband can’t stop eating them – sooo addicting!! :) Total success!

  57. Colleen

    I used some white pepper and the baking spice (cinnamon and other things) from Penzey’s rather than straight cinnamon– delicious. Good thing I made two pounds.

  58. Julie

    OMG these are fabulous… and dangerous. Best to make these when you have a plan to give them away as they are trouble. Thanks for the awesome recipe.

  59. Hillary

    I made these on Sunday and ate so many of them in the process! I made about 5 lbs of them – mostly with almonds and then I had a 1lb bag of pecans. I ended up having to throw out the pecans because they burned. It seemed like the almonds took longer to cook than the pecans, even though they were all in the same oven for the same amount of time. I gave little jars of the almonds away as gifts and everyone seemed to like them!

  60. Beth

    Made 2 batches yesterday with pecans, walnuts, and almonds to give as gifts/bring to work for the holidays. They a scrumptious. Put them in the basement to keep my hands out of them!

  61. I made these yesterday to give as Christmas presents and my family ATE THEM ALL! Now I’m making them again tonight. Thinking about upping the brown sugar and cayenne this time.

  62. I made 50 jars of these for my wedding and people ate all of them before the first toast. I really think these nuts were best part of the wedding for a lot of people!

  63. Laurie

    I must learn never to doubt you again. I don’t know how many batches of spiced nuts I made before finally trying this one – and this one was it. So good. My grown nephews couldn’t stop eating them. And neither could I for that matter.

    Thank you, Deb, for all of the tried-and-true recipes that never seem to fail.

  64. Lisa

    I made two batches of these already for Christmas gifts and am making more today. They are amazingly easy and too delicious for words. I used smoked paprika *and* a (very) generous pinch of cayenne, which my family pronounced “perfect” (we taste-tested, of course… and then we opened one of the gift jars for ourselves). Thank you!

  65. I made a batch of these last night to go with mince pies and Christmas drinks – stunning! I upped the salt as suggested and used cayenne – would probably use more next time.

  66. Stiffler

    I made these for a New Year’s Eve get together. I used some cayenne and smoked paprika (not hot). i think it could have used a little more cayenne, but overall, i really liked the nuts. I’m sure to make them again.

  67. Morgan

    Hi Deb:
    There must be something in your nuts to bring out the delurker in me!

    How long do you think these would keep and how would you store them? (I’m thinking of making them for my wedding as a bar snack).

    Which Costco do you use???? I’m in NYC too-the Harlem location is really inconvenient!

    Also:
    How does one get invited to dinner at your house??? I’ll buy the groceries and babysit!! HA!

    1. deb

      Morgan — My mother went to one in NJ. I didn’t even know there was a Harlem location! I kept mine in jars. They should last a week (possibly longer but I’m no expert on food safety so will advise you on the cautious side).

  68. Annelise

    I grew up in Texas and these nuts are all the rage. In fact, when I got married I gave them away to mostly (Midwest) guests and people ask me about them all the time. Growing up we always used pecans, and when I made this recently I thought pecans worked better than the walnuts. I think they held up to the sugar better.

  69. Yorgos

    I threw a party for 150 people about a month ago and apart from the buffet I had, I decided not to serve plain ordinary boring nuts and made a few bowls of these amazing treats… The first guests arrived around 9:30. At 11 I was in the kitchen
    making more. Next year I’m selling them for sure.lol

  70. shivani

    Deb, quick question on these – is the egg white necessary? Could one sub in water, or even some milk, a la the top of pies? I’m a vegan and just re-discovered the miracles of the NYC candied nut vendors today and am trying to replicate (or in this case, improve upon) them with yours.

    1. deb

      The egg white is what makes the spices stick without the nuts sticking together. Many candied nuts recipes don’t use an egg white, just butter or oil and sugar. They come out stickier but seem no less beloved — looks around, you might find a recipe that you can more easily tweak.

  71. I just made these nuts last night and have been snacking on them pretty much nonstop since (except for a few hours of sleep but I may have walked on over in my sleep to grab a handful). So delicious and they were in the oven in no time! I don’t quite get the cayenne flavor but the cinnamon sugar is perfect on its own. Perhaps I’ll up it next time.

  72. Ellie

    Does anyone know what happens to them AFTER a week, even in a sealed jar?

    I found a jar that was a month old, opened it and it was just fine. Would anyone suspect parasites? Why do they keep saying “will keep for a week.”? I love these nuts.

    1. deb

      I hate weighing in about food safety because there are real experts out there and I’m not one of them. But honestly, I cannot imagine in a moisture-free, not-too-warm environment what could go wrong with these nuts after a week. You know, if you can get them to last that long.

  73. Nicole

    Holy delicious. I made these for a party and was afraid I would eat the whole pound before I walked out the door….
    For spice, instead of the cayenne I used some smoked coban peppers I got on a trip to Guatemala and used my mortar and pestle to grind them in with the salt. It added a nice spice and slightly smokey depth.
    Also, the use of egg white is brilliant. My grandmas recipe that I always used to use includes about a pound of butter, I have been freeeeeeed!!!

  74. adlyn

    You are my sunshine […] you make me happy when skies are gray! Jejeje.

    By the way, regarding the Kirkland issue: Deb, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but that brand even sells… panties! Yes, they do! Not to mention yogurt, cereal, (I think) imitation cheese, office supplies, yada yada yada. It’s mouth-dropping!

  75. These are awesome! Last Christmas my mother’s store got in Killer Texas Pecans, she had a sample bag and we all loved them, but even at whole sale they were 15$ for a small (6 oz) bag. As my boyfriend loved them I immediately looked up copycat recipes and asked my step-grandmother and my pastry chef uncle but all of the ll recipes I found used oil. These are soo much better, and so similar, though I probably use more cayenne than most people.

    I am planing to make these for a Thanksgiving hostess gift (pairing it with rosemary flatbread, some cheese, a bottle of wine and San Pelegrino, brownies, and pumpkin gingerbread in basket with some Honeycrisps for filler.) Thank you for this recipe!

  76. I used a combination of walnuts, pecans and almonds (yipee-skipee for Costco!) and made two batches. For the first batch I used 1.5 tsp. kosher salt, 1.5 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. cayenne and the egg white/1 Tbs. water combo and baked ’em for about 40 minutes. They were good — and relatively addictive. For the second batch I used the same amounts of salt & cinnamon but forgot about the 1 Tbs. of water and upped the cayenne to about 1/4 tsp. These were the better batch by far. They were less sticky/gooey/glommy and had a nicer hit of heat. I may try equal amounts of brown and white sugar next time (1/3 C. each) and do a slightly heaping 1/4 tsp. of cayenne for a more savory-with-a-sweet-ending versus sweet-with-a-savory-ending. Either way, these are frightfully easy and really delicious.

  77. Also I used this recipe to create another to knock off yet another obscenely expensive product my family has loved during the holidays: I use your basic recipe, but I cut down the salt, whip the eggs until they are very very foamy (just barely soft peaks that hold) and I replace the cayenne/paprika with a little bit of vanilla. I did these with almonds, but next time I am trying them with pecans. They make a light brittle coating, and while they are a little too sweet for me to eat straight my family loves them and I like them on ice cream or it small doses.

  78. Dang, Meredith, I was just scrolling through all the comments, hoping someone had answered a question like this! Blanched almonds kind of gross me out, I’m afraid that roasted nuts might get too… roasted, and I don’t know if I’ve ever noticed raw almonds at Trader Joe’s or any other grocery store near me. I just want to prepare myself for whatever nut variation I might find when I go shopping for this recipe.

  79. Jeno

    AMAZING! I used walnuts, toasted almonds and raw almonds. The contrast of the colors between the almonds made it very pretty. Although I usually prefer almonds over walnuts, I found the walnuts to be tastier because more sugar gets between all the grooves.

    I put them in a jar and attached the recipe as well for a secret santa gift.

    Thank you, Deb!

  80. Jeno

    @ Nancy & Meredith,

    The toasted ones tasted just fine and so did the raw ones. I wondered as well so used both to experiment and they came out equally delicious. Use both then you’ll get a contrast of colors.

  81. Grace

    These are gorgeous – they’re in my oven now. I doubled the recipe but they seem to be taking a touch longer to get crispy. I know they’ll harden up a bit on cooling but should they be crisping up really well in the oven?

  82. I. Love. These. Nuts.

    The quote from Karmel is so cute. I did just that and sent them with the Boyfriend Fantastic to his parents’ house for the holidays.

    A few notes: next time I’ll definitely up the cayenne for a bit more heat/savoriness, I did what you recommended 1.5 tsp of salt and it was the perfect saltiness, I was bad and didn’t do a single layer (some of the nuts came out gooey albeit still delicious) and I cooked them on foil but the gooey ones stuck.

  83. I’m making these and your jacked up banana bread (and your molasses spice cookies) for little gifts for people (I too used little pans that are decorated saying Seasons Greetings etc. you can see them on my website). I used pecans and almonds and they are so delicious (and look so pretty). Thank you so much, Deb…you are saving me for the holidays (and my budget!!!) I know I’ve been posting a lot lately but that’s just because I only discovered your site relatively recently! Happy Holidays :)

  84. Debbie

    My husband was given these as a gift for Christmas from our new daughter in law TO BE, and they were absolutely delicious! So I had to ask for the recipe and now I have “found” you – SK! Thanks so much, I will be making these for myself and gifts!

  85. Nicole

    Making these for a gift (again!) and just ran out of parchment paper. Any thoughts on doing these nuts with aluminum foil?

  86. Jllc

    I love Hill Country, we have one in DC, and I can’t wait to try these nuts! They will definitely be part of this year’s holiday gift baskets :)

  87. Julie

    I just made this recipe; it is so good, both hubby and I had a hard time keeping our fingers out of the bowl sampling it. I only had 1/2 a pound of Pecans, so I halved all the dry ingrdients. I still used the egg white and water the same. My Oven wasn’t quite at 300 when I put them in. So I baked them for 35 min. I was worried because each 10 min. I would stir them and they were still a bit wet looking. Until the last tem minutes they looked alot more set. Once they were out and drying out they Do harden up, so don’t be scared that they won’t be ready. Can’t wait to make more for Christmas!

  88. Sally from Cornwall

    Just found this – I like! Going to make a selection AND a mix! Anyone know if there is anything like CostCo in the UK?! I think I could live on these!

  89. Louisa

    I just made these with Trader Joe’s unsalted cashews and they are wonderful! Cook’s Illustrated has a very similar recipe, also 1 egg white and 1 tbs. water, a few teaspoons of spices… but they only call for 1/2 cup white sugar. That’s a pretty big difference, so I went with the middle ground of 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup white. They came out perfectly.

    After half an hour in the oven they still seemed a little sticky, so I took one cashew out to try and left the rest in the oven. 30 seconds later, I realized my sample cashew was actually fully baked, it just needed to cool a tiny bit to harden the coating. I pulled the rest out and in just a few minutes I had a tray of crisp and crunchy nuts! So delicious!

  90. Kate from NYC

    Deb–these nuts are divine! I jarred them as Christmas gifts last year. This Christmas, I’m getting married and decided to make 20 pounds of these to give out as wedding favors! I was wondering if you think they would stay fresh if I made them one month in advance, if put in jelly jars immediately after they fully cool? Advice would be appreciated! Thanks!

    1. deb

      Hi Kate — I haven’t tried to keep them that long, so I can’t say for sure. However, ours were pretty perfect after two weeks, so it seems possible that another two weeks wouldn’t have done them much harm.

  91. Morgan

    Just made these with almonds (from Costco, like everyone else suggested!)- deeeeeelish! I love the smoked paprika! I added more cinnamon, and they’re the perfect sweet/spicy ratio. Thanks!

  92. Leslie

    I just made these – yum! I did not have “hot” smoked paprika so I used 1/4 t. of smoked paprika & 1/4 t. of cayene pepper. No paper – just lightly buttered pan. Baked @ 250 degrees for 30 min. then stirred and put them in for 30 min. longer. I would not add extra salt next time. These are really good and all the goodies stay on the nuts. :)

  93. Shanna

    I made these for Thanksgiving and they were a huge hit! Thank you for the receipe. I used walnuts & pecans this time. I also subbed aluminum foil for the parchment paper because that is what I had on hand. The whole house smelled AMAZING while these were in the oven! I will definitely be making these again.

  94. Jess

    Wow, I wanted to say “thank you so much!” for your experience and recipe! I made these this evening, substituting about 1/2 tsp of nutmeg for the paprika (didn’t want the spiciness). I also doubled the batch and did 1/2 almonds and 1/2 pecans. I can’t stop eating them! They are supposed to be Christmas gifts for the adults in the family! I think I may have to make another batch just before I leave the house to see them because the ones I made tonight will be long-gone by this weekend. Great blog, great recipe, I’m definitely a fan! Keep up the good work!

  95. Jenn

    Just made these for holiday gifts. They are great! I used a mix of almonds, walnuts, and pecans (at the Costco price of $15 each for 3 lbs each of almonds and walnuts and 2 lbs of pecans), and I added a touch of cumin. These are great! I tried a different sweet and spicy roasted nut recipe last Christmas, and the results were too gooey. These get crunchy and perfect! I might take a cue from last year’s recipe and add a bit of ground coriander. Also, I used a baking sheet with a silpat, which made it easy to get the nuts off the pan. I haven’t cleaned the pan yet to know how difficult it’s going to be to clean the edges though.

  96. Mindy

    I made these yesterday as a test. Well, they were wonderful.
    Everyone loved them. I am going to make another batch and bag them up as Xmas gifts.

  97. Oh, I just made these, and the entire house smells like the holidays! It was REALLY hard to wait for them to cool enough to handle and eat. I upped the salt and cayenne a tiny bit, and added a pinch of cumin and a pinch of coriander. Delicious! Wonderful recipe. Thanks, Deb!

  98. Thanks so much for this recipe, I’ve made it twice so far for two different holiday parties and was impressed with how easy it was and what a huge huge hit they were! I used almonds (which I too had a huge quantity of from Costco and didn’t know what to do with, haha) and the second time I upped the salt to 1 1/2 tsp (which I definitely recommend). For my spices instead of the smoked paprika or cayenne I used 1/4 tsp of regular paprika and 1/4 tsp of ancho chili powder because I had those on hand – turned out great! :)

  99. I tried these and loved them! I’ve never made candied nuts before, I think next time I’ll add even more heat.

    I took them to my husband’s family Christmas, and they were a huge hit!

  100. Ashley

    Hey y’all instead of water I used butter mixed in the egg whites…..it’s giving them more of a fancy toffee crunch if you prefer. Smells divine up in hurrrr!!!!

  101. Alice

    Hi from over the pond. UK to be precise. Made these last night and wow they are amazing. I did add a lot more cayenne but I can’t stop nibbling at them. They came out perfectly. A firm favourite in our house now. Thank you so much.

  102. Tovah

    I just made these for a quick app at my dinner party and guests won’t be here for an hour and I’M AFRAID THERE WON’T BE ANY LEFT FOR THEM. Help!

  103. Cathg1g2

    Oh I just made these.
    They are delicious.
    they are coming to drinks and nibbles at book club tonight.
    I think I will work through a lot of your recipes. I have only just discovered your site! Doh! An American friend is missing a lot of food she enjoyed back home, so once a month we are cooking together, your corn muffins are next. Thou in Australia it is a very foreign concept, cornbread etc,it’s not sweet or savoury but both…I like the idea of the muffins with some bacon on the side as brunch though.

  104. Claire

    I just made these and we are loving them! I had just discovered your site two weeks ago when a friend suggested going to your book signing at Powell’s Books in Portland. I really enjoyed your discussion and enjoy your site. Thank you!

  105. Susan

    I love these streusel-ey, candied nuts but am looking for a glazed nut. One with a thin, smooth, shiney slick of a coating. I’ve had a terrible time finding one that works. Any ideas? Not really fair to ask being as you’re on tour at the moment…

  106. Cathy

    Made these to take to Austin tomorrow for Thanksgiving treats. So delicious! I have your granola in the oven now, smelling amazing! Love your book Deb. Beautiful photographs and stories.

  107. Janet

    I too made these today to bring for Thanksgiving. I’m bringing the salad, so I’ll bring some for the salad, and I put some in a jar for the host, along with a gift bottle of my dressing. The nuts are delicious! I’ll definitely be making more of these for the Chrismas holidays. I used just pecans today, but next batch I think will be pecans and almonds.

  108. Emily

    This is a seriously amazing recipe! I just made a batch as written (using the huge bag of costco pecans I bought for thanksgiving) with a couple changes: I added a tablespoon of maple syrup and a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to the egg yolk, and replaced the paprika with cayenne, and added a pinch of ground cumin to the sugar mixture. I’ve been eating a bunch hot out of the oven — thank you for the recipe! I’ll be giving these as gifts and using them to entertain all season!

  109. It’s, like, 4 years since you posted these but this makes good daddy presents! Together with Shutterbean’s candied citrus peels. My dad would love everything about this, even though he would not admit it. haha… he’s the kind that would say he’s meh with it but secretly nibble on these when no one is looking.

  110. Jeannie

    I have a huge harvest of pecans from my backyard tree this year. I made three batches of this recipe, using varying amounts of Tiger Tiger brand Indian chilli powder, for my son to take to a party tonight. Planning on making much more for the holidays. What a nice gift for my very limited budget!

  111. Kassie

    SOOO delish — I made them with Almonds and Walnuts … have made 6 batches this weekend and am making two more batches this week. Put in a Garnish paper bag w/ a cute label on the front … the PERFECT gift!! :)

  112. Laura

    Just made these, and they’re fantastic! I altered it a bit — for sweetening, used half maple sugar and half coconut sugar which I first ground in a coffee mill to make more fine-textured. I used a liberal amount of Berber Spice (a North African spice blend) along with the cinnamon, and some extra salt. Just the right blend of sweet and spice! Really wonderful. Sending out jars and jars of it as holiday gifts. I’ll have just enough if I can keep my fingers out of the bowl! Many thanks.

  113. Elise R.

    I’ve made these multiple years in a row with pecans and they’ve always been delicious!
    I have a friend who loves spiced almonds and has almonds to contribute, except they are already roasted and salted. Has anybody made this recipe with roasted and salted almonds? Was it delicious? Did you need to make any modifications (like not adding salt)?

  114. Victoria

    This nice jewish girl just made these ahead of time to bring to my boyfriend’s (very southern) parents for christmas. Boy was that a mistake….I don’t think they will last until Monday!

    As a side note, I had a ton of light brown sugar but no dark, so I used 1/2 cup each of white and light brown. Is there a different ratio I should have used? I wasn’t sure how much would be the correct equivalent.

  115. I live all the way north in Norway and buy my (hopefully) organic pecans and almonds at iherb.com. It is cheaper to buy from the States than going to our local organic supplier! Tried this, they came out deliscious. I finally got to use my smoked Maldon salt…

  116. Made them with rosemary and rather a lot of smoked paprika along with the cinnamon and cayenne, and rather less sugar, using almonds, pecans, walnuts, and pepitas. Delicious.

  117. Tipple+Snack

    I just made a double batch of almonds, and the house smells amazing. I’m packaging them in vintage candy jars for unique holiday gifts. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  118. Tony

    This is a perfect blend for what I was looking for. I made two substitutions: Splenda for the sugar and Burbon for water. For me it does need the extra salt as recommended. Had to reduce the cooking time with the pecans from costco.

  119. Hillary

    Made 3 pounds tonight with my 4 year old, and they are amazing. Everyone will surely appreciate their “let’s extend the holiday as long as we possibly can and pretend we’re still on vacation” present, right?! I just don’t understand why after making what seemed like an impossible amount of nuts, I still have way too many raw nuts to fit in my freezer! Guess I’ll just have to make more tomorrow…

  120. Sarah anne

    Hi deb just wondering how many cups of nuts this recipe coats? Didn’t see the measurement for those in the recipe. And I was just going to buy enough since I don’t have space for them.

  121. I was looking for a candied nut recipe to take to my city’s monthly food swap, and smittenkitchen had this great-looking recipe (the pictures always sway me to use the recipe!). I made the recipe with walnut halves and cashews, and it came out wonderfully. A few things to note:

    -I didn’t have parchment paper, so I oiled the pans and put the nuts right on the pan. While the pans were a bit messy to clean, it was not too bad.
    -I used all brown sugar (no white sugar in the house), and the results were still good.
    -The cashews took longer to caramelize than did the walnuts, FYI.

    Thanks for the awesome recipe. I am looking forward to taking these sweeties to the food swap!

  122. Nadine

    I just made this and I’m hooked!! I’ve never made candied nuts but I had a bunch of pecans leftover from another recipe and wanted to use them up. This recipe was so easy, made enough to keep for myself and to share with some friends and neighbors!

  123. Jena

    Do you have to use the egg white? I don’t typically have whole eggs on hand as I use egg beaters. Just wondered if they would turn out with out the egg??

  124. Kimberly Clark

    Hi, I know this is an older recipe you have here but I was wondering, because of the egg whites, do these need to be refrigerated? And how long are they good? (They probably won’t last long enough anyway!!!)

  125. Courtney

    Hi Deb!
    I am a big fan and absolutely looooved your blondies recipe (https://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2006/11/blondies-for-a-blondie/) and decided to give this one a try for a Christmas gift! I read tons of rave reviews, but for some reason, but didn’t turn out at all! There was literally smoke! After opening all the windows, I doubled checked that the oven was set correctly and re-read your instructions, but I can’t figure out what went wrong…I tasted a few of the non-burnt ones, and the nuts didn’t even taste toasted! I guess this is probably just a discrepancy with my oven, but I would love if you have any other tips? Thanks, and thanks for all your great recipes and photos!

  126. Courtney

    Ok, I take it all back!!!! After these cooled, I decided to try one anyways, and it was delicious!!! Toasty, sweet, spicy, awesome! I was amazed!! It turns out a little bit of the syrup had dripped onto the bottom of the oven, causing the smoke. I never should have doubted you Deb!!! Your recipes rock!!!!

  127. Beth

    I make these every year and they are always a huge hit. In the last few batches, I added a tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (in a double batch), and it’s delish. Deb, thanks for all the good you do to our souls with your delightful stories and recipes!

  128. Deb

    Love these nuts. I am going to mention your site and recipe on my own blog. Tweaked your recipe a little. Hope the mention is ok with you. Happy to take down if not.

  129. Lauren

    WOW! these are delicious! I used coconut sugar instead of brown sugar (just because that is all I had) and they seem perfect. Made them for passover dinner tuesday night, not sure they will last that long. Thank you for another great recipe.

  130. Katy Newton

    I tidied my kitchen cupboards today after eight weeks of being confined to sofa/bed with a broken leg and found that I have about six pounds of nuts. I’ve got a batch of these cooling (almond/walnut mix) on the side now. Have had a couple of still-hot nuts and they taste amazing so I can’t wait to see how they are when they’re cooled. Also, the house smells amazing. And this is the first sweet thing I’ve cooked since I broke my leg!

  131. Katy Newton

    PS the walnuts worked better than the almonds – I like almonds better usually but the walnuts stand up more against the sweetness.

  132. Susan

    I have a similar recipe that includes 1 Tbsp of ground cumin and ups the cayenne significantly (1 tsp). It only uses 1/2 cup gran. sugar so it glazes the nuts as it bakes. I probably add more nuts to insure the glazing rather than the clumping. Sweet, slightly salty, spicy, crispy and addictivel; wouldn’t be the holidays without them!

    1. deb

      Susan — Send it over! I’d love to see. My #1 quibble with 99% of candied nut recipes is that they’re sticky. The delight of these is that they’re not; they won’t stick together. I’m always curious to try other methods, too.

  133. Laura

    Hi Deb, happy holidays! Thank you for this and all of your recipes. Made this one for the first time recently, and it was as great as it sounded. I’ve made your dishes for many fun and memorable gatherings over the years, and can always count on Smitten Kitchen for recipes that will turn out well. Thank you!

  134. Maripat

    I made this recipe for staff and family gifts. Awesome recipe; loved by all, whether they prefeer sweet or spicy. I added a little more cayenne for those who prefer more bite. Stirring during the baking process is good advice, but also recommend separating the nuts from the parchment soon following baking.

  135. Tekla

    OMG, Deb, what have you unleashed?! These things are like crack! I made a pound yesterday and my roommate and I are already eyeing the bottom of the bowl in trepidation. I have to buy another pound of nuts at least so that I can have them for my Christmas party!

  136. Lisa

    So excited these are currently in my oven- just wanted to note that I followed the recipe (1 pound walnut or pecan halves or whole peeled hazelnuts) and then noticed when I scrolled up to look at the photos I saw you used almonds. Wish I thought to add some in before rushing through the recipe! Maybe Ill make another batch :)

  137. Patryce

    Love these, have made many batches over the last several years, but I needed a vegan version for a party soon. I subbed orange juice and a little olive oil for the eggwhite and water and I think I may like them even better! I added the zest of the orange to the sugar mixture and after using about the same volume of OJ and oil and mixing everything together the sugar stuff seemed dry, so I squeezed in the other orange half and drizzled in a little more oil.

    The texture of the coating after baking is more smooth and brittle, less grainy than the eggwhite version, and the orange flavor is great. Might not have needed the oil at all, I was just thinking it would be stickier…So it was about a whole orange’s worth of juice and a tablespon or a bit more of oil total, plus the zest. Great flavor! And I use all light brown sugar, the cinnamon, the 1½ t of coarse salt and hot paprika.

    1. deb

      Laura — I’d say a week or two officially, but we’ve definitely kept them longer and they were just fine, easily a month.

      J — Great idea; I will!

  138. Susan V.

    Merry Christmas Deb and family, Happy Hanukkah to you all! I have made these every year since the recipe appeared on your wonderful site, people rave and crave and beg for more. I do use a lot more spice but otherwise, fantastic recipe. They keep very well in a tight container like a mason jar. Giving a bunch tomorrow to my secret Santa recipient at work!

  139. Hillary

    I have made a version of these yearly during the holidays and they are ALWAYS a big hit. This year I think I will do half with this spice mixture.

    P.S. try substituting ginger ale for the water.

  140. Beth

    These just came out of the oven and I’m eating them before they even cool down. So good! I used smoked bittersweet chile powder (it’s what I had) and added a tablespoon of cocoa with the cinnamon. Thanks Deb for another easy and delicious recipe. I want to serve these with some blue cheese and pears.

  141. Jessica

    I made these and they are spectacular. They will be a lovely addition to the holiday table and for gifts. I followed the recipe as posted but will add more cayenne the next time. Or buy new cayenne (rather old now in my cupboard). Very little heat but just the right amount of sweet and saltiness. I used pecans but may try a mixture next time.

  142. If you have vegans in the family like i do – i left out the egg whites and used 2/3 cup of confectioners sugar and a tablespoon or so of water in place of the 2/3 cup white sugar and that made a nice base for all the deliciousness to stick too. It worked perfectly! Love this recipe!

  143. Katharine Brennecke

    Just took these out and they are fabulous. Only thing I would adjust is the cayenne. I think I would use more for a little more spice!

  144. Sue

    This is the candied nuts recipe I’ve been searching for! Found it before the holidays, and will be using these beside the cheese tray at my daughter’s wedding soon! Not sticky, which is wonderful and set these apart from my previous go-to recipes, and just sweet and spicy enough! Loved by all and disappear quickly. Thank you!

  145. Leah

    Piano recital in my home tomorrow night. These will be beside the cheeses! And we live in the middle of a grove of native Texas
    Pecans so I have a freezer full — picked out and ready to go! Joy!