Sweet and spicy walnuts

1 pound walnuts

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cayenne

3 tablespoons vegetable or walnut oil

salt to taste

Sweet and spicy walnuts

While you can easily scale this recipe to make 8 or 12 ounces, I usually make a whole pound and freeze the extras. They can be kept in a sealed container or a plastic bag for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for 6 months. They make a good garnish for Asian style chicken salads, Waldorf salads or tossed green salads if you can keep from eating them all plain.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Mix sugar and cayenne together in a small bowl.

Meanwhile, bring a large kettle or pot of water to a boil. Place nuts in a large bowl, and pour boiling water over. Let steep for a minute or two, then drain.

Return to the bowl and add the sugar, cayenne and oil. Stir until sugar melts and nuts are coated evenly.

Pour into a single layer on a large baking sheet. If you have a silicone baking mat, this is the time to use it. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes. Depending on the size of the nut pieces and how wet they are, they’ll need different cooking times. Check them at about 15 minutes, and stir them, moving the nuts on the outside edges of the baking sheet into the center and vice versa. Return to the oven and bake another 10 minutes or more. They should be a very deep golden brown, but be careful that they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt to taste. Let cool.

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