Be sure to check out this week’s French in a Flash column over on Serious Eats for one of my favorite recipes: Quatre Épices Candied Nuts. Some of you may remember the fresh almond trees from my Papiers Provence from last summer. Those almonds and the famed French walnuts get coated in a sweet amber of brittle sugar, salt, and quatre épices, a medieval-tasting blend of black pepper with sweet spices cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. There is some contention over the cinnamon, which is often swapped in favor of ginger, but I prefer the cinnamon with the nuts. Last time I made these I cracked all the brittle into shards, and put them in a big jar. The next time I knew, it was all gone. Poof! Like magic.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup roasted, salted almonds
- 1 1/2 cups walnut halves
In a nonstick pan, combine the sugar and the water. Bring to a boil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
When the water and sugar mixture begins to turn slightly golden, add the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper. Stir in the almonds and the walnuts so that everything is combined.
Lower the heat to medium, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep the caramel from burning, and keep turning the nuts continuously until the water and sugar have reduced to a thick syrup that coats the nuts. At this point, the mixture will be golden brown.
Using a silicone spatula, spoon the nuts onto the prepared lined and lightly greased baking sheet. Spread them in a single layer, and leave to cool complete. Do NOT touch the hot nuts, as boiling sugar will burn.
When the candied nuts have completely cooled, separate them with your hands, and sneak at least one handful for yourself before sealing them away in an airtight jar to be plundered by everyone else.
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