The Ultimate Wintery Nuts
First, an announcement.
I’m starting a business! And not just any business, I’m starting my DREAM business! I’m teaming up with Brandon Pettit, owner of Delancey (were I am the pastry chef) and the super talented Olaiya Land, who runs Olaiya Land Catering and teaches classes in Delancey on closed nights to open up a community kitchen called “The Pantry at Delancey.” We’re blowing out the wall behind Delancey and building an awesome kitchen. Think rustic. Yet urban. Think 16′-long farm table. Jars of pickles and jams lining the walls. The idea is to get people around the table, cooking, learning, and talking. We’ll host family-style dinners, teach hands-on cooking classes with an emphasis on craft, provide locally sourced catering, host community events and begin making the cheese and curing the meats for Delancey. It’s just too much good stuff. I would send you to a website, except it isn’t finished yet. Until it is, you can find us on facebook. So know that while I have slowed down a bit on my blogging, it is only because things are HAPPENING!
Now, about these nuts. They are my new favorite wintertime crack. I developed the recipe for Delancey over the summer, when we were opening a patio and tinkering with the idea of bar snacks. They were quite a hit until the weather turned warm, when their dark spiciness started to look silly next to a fresh tomato salad. So we pulled them for the duration of the warm weather and just this week brought them back. I. love. them. So much that I want to share.
You start with a good mix of nuts. I like almonds, cashews, pistachios and pecans, but you can try any mix you like. Except the pecans are a must. They have a density that fits this kind of candying like peanut butter to jelly. I usually throw in some extra of those, to make up for the ones I end up snacking on.
I made a syrup out of water and sugar and brought that to a boil. I then added the nuts, along with the spice bomb and let them simmer away for a bit.
Then I strained the nuts out of the syrup and roasted them.
Until they were nice and deeply caramelized.
Then began the fun, candying some bacon to throw in the mix. Because what’s the point of spiced nuts without some pork?
I coated bacon with brown sugar and roasted it until the sugar was dark and caramelized.
I tore the bacon into chunks and tossed it with the nuts. And I’ve been munching away since…
SPICED NUTS WITH CANDIED BACON RECIPE:
2 TBSP vegetable oil
3½ cups sugar
3 cups water
4 cups raw nuts
1 TBSP + 1 tsp salt
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
⅛ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp allspice
1½ tsp cayenne
12oz sliced bacon
1½ cups brown sugar
– Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
– Coat a baking sheet with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
– Combine the sugar and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium high and add the nuts, salt and spices. Bring up to simmer and cook for 8 minutes.
– With a slotted spoon, remove nuts from pot, shaking off excess liquid. Spread onto the oiled baking sheet. Reserve the liquid for future batches of nuts.
– Roast in the oven until browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
– Lower oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar onto the silicone mat. Place the bacon onto brown sugar and sprinkle on the remaining brown sugar.
– Roast for about 25 minutes, flipping bacon 3-4 times, every 7-8 minutes. The bacon should look caramelized. Remove from oven and use tongs to lift the bacon onto a clean tray. Cool completely.
– Chop bacon and toss with nuts.
– Taste for salt adjustment.