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Family Cookbook
Spiced Candied Walnuts
source Michael Chiarello
Michael made these for a dinner at our cabin at Fallen Leaf and they have been a favorite ever since. Serve then as nibbles, on salads, or my favorite on a slice of walnut bread spread with a mixture of blue cheese and whipped cream cheese and topped with a chunk of red-skinned pear and a piece of the spiced candied walnut

Required Ingredients

Canola oil for deep-frying
TeaspoonFinely ground sea salt, preferable gray salt
½TeaspoonFreshly ground black pepper
½TeaspoonGround cinnamon
½TeaspoonCayenne pepper
CupWalnut halves
CupConfectioners' sugar, sifted

Preparation Instructions

  1. Pour the oil to a depth of at least 3 inches into a deep fryer or a heavy, 8-inch deep stockpot and heat to 350°. While oil is heating, bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil over high heat.
  2. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, cinnamon and cayenne and mix well.
  3. When the water is boiling, place the nuts in a sieve and dip them into the boiling water, about 1 minute for the large halves, less time for smaller halves.
  4. Transfer the nuts to a large bowl with a little water clinging to them. While the nuts are still hot, add the sugar and toss well to coat evenly. The sugar will melt on contact with the hot nuts. Keeep stirring and tossing until all the sugar has melted. (Note: If bits of unmelted sugar remain on the nuts, the nuts will not fry properly.
  5. Stir the nuts again before frying. Using a large slatted spoon, transfer a few nuts to the hot oil, allowing the foam to subside before adding another spoonful. (Otherwise the oil could foam over and burn you.)
  6. Fry the nuts until medium brown, about 1 minutes for large halves, less time for smaller halves. Be careful not to overcook. Lift them out with the spoon and scatter them on a rimmed baking sheet to cool slightly. Fry the remaining nuts in the same way, always working in small batches.
  7. While the nuts are still warm, transfer them to a bowl and sprinkle evenly with about half of the spice mix. Toss well to distribute the spices and then taste a nut. Add more spice mix to taste and toss well after each addition.
  8. Let cool completely, then store in a tightly capped jar. They keep at room temperature for about 2 weeks and I have kept them in zip-loc bags in the freezer for months. A great thing to have on hand.