Nuts for Gift Giving

At the present time, present time is on the horizon. Wrapping paper is shining in closets, itching to be used, and your brain is surely swimming around, trying to find small gift ideas that will make a splash.

Well, this post is here to give your brain swimmies. For a secretly simple, yet fancy-looking gift or a super stocking stuffer, try the handmade, heartfelt approach by cooking up and giving out some spiced or sweetened nuts. They’re bafflingly easy to make, and people will go nuts over them, so, don’t be afraid to ‘cash’-ew in on trying out the recipes below!

Rosemary Roasted Cashews
Here to ‘sav-ory’ the day! Recipe from Food Network

1 1/4 pounds cashew nuts
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
½ teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon melted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Place the nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until they are warmed through. Meanwhile, combine the rosemary, pepper, sugar, salt and butter in a large bowl. Toss the warm nuts with the rosemary mixture until the nuts are completely coated.

Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Pecans
For those who like it hot. Recipe from About.com

2 cups pecan pieces or halves
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (I used 1 teaspoon)
1 ½ tablespoons real maple syrup
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Spread the pecans on the baking sheet and toast them in the oven until dark and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir every 3 or 4 minutes.
3. While the pecans are toasting, prepare the coating mixture. Microwave the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl until melted. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne.
4. Once the pecans are fragrant, remove them from the oven and pour the hot nuts into the coating mixture. (Be careful as it might splutter and hiss.) Stir until the nuts are evenly coated, and pour them back onto the foil-lined baking sheet and spread them in an even layer.
5. Bake for another 10 minutes, stirring after every 3-4 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the nuts from the oven and allow them to cool and crisp up on the baking sheet.

Wasabi Almonds
For those who like to ‘horse’-radish around. Recipe from Food.com

1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1 pound natural almonds (brown skin on)
2 tablespoons wasabi powder
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 275°F.
2. Line a baking sheet with lightly greased foil or lightly greased parchment paper.
3. Whisk the egg white and water together until foamy.
4. Add almonds and toss to coat.
5. Place almonds in a sieve to allow excess egg white to drain off; toss lightly as you are draining them.
6. Stir together the wasabi, cornstarch, & salt in a large bowl or zip lock plastic bag.
7. Add almonds and toss to coat.
8. Spread the almonds on the baking sheet single layer and bake for 30 minutes.
9. Stir gently. Lower heat to 200°F and continue baking for a further 20 minutes.
10. Let cool completely.

Candied Walnuts
Like cinnamon buns without the bun. Recipe from Mother Nature Network

2 cups shelled walnuts
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Toast nuts for about five minutes until browned but not burned.
2. Butter sides of a two-quart saucepan.
3. Combine sugar, water, salt and cinnamon in saucepan.
4. Boil the mixture over medium heat, stirring continuously until a drop of the mixture holds together in a ball (instead of dissolving) when put in a cup of cold water. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
5. Add the roasted nuts to the mixture and stir in until all nuts are coated well. Spoon the nuts onto waxed paper and separate each nut to dry.
6. Once you’ve made your delicious nuts, just wrap and ribbon them into decorative cellophane bags, and your gifts are ready to give!

Do you have any other delicious gift ideas?

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7 Responses to Nuts for Gift Giving

  1. George 12/17/2010 at 3:58 pm #

    Yummo! Yes please!

    George
    Raised By Wolves

  2. Erin (ModCloth) 12/17/2010 at 5:22 pm #

    Let me just say that I was fortunate enough to be in the office when Hannah brought them in. I have been dreaming about the Sweet ‘N’ Spicy Pecans. Yes, they were *that* good.

  3. Laura 12/20/2010 at 4:23 am #

    ohhh man. my mom makes killer spiced pecans, and just the other night, too! they were my mid-work snack today. delish! can’t wait to try these other recipes!

  4. Lindsey 12/21/2010 at 9:20 pm #

    I completely agree with Erin on this one. I just finished my first batch of the Sweet N’ Spicy Pecans and they are delectable!! My co-workers are going to love them!

  5. Shae 12/22/2010 at 5:03 pm #

    Inspired by this post, I made a batch of cinnamon-sugar almonds, wrapped them in fancy little bags, and gave them to co-workers and friends as gifts.

    They were SUPER successful. Festive, fun, salty/sweet. People raved over them, and yet they were inexpensive enough to make great little gifts for large numbers of people.

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