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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Food: Sugar n' Spice Nuts

Tomorrow is my father's birthday; I can't believe he's going to be.....68. Shh! Don't tell him that I told you how old he is!

Am I old enough to have a father who is almost 70??  (The answer to this, quite obviously, is yes.)

I'm sure he thinks the same thing. Am I really old enough to have a daughter who is...39?  (insert cringe here). At least I'm not the oldest. That would be my brother. Who is 40. !

Anyway, I thought I'd make my dad some yummy treats for his birthday since it's impossible to actually buy him anything. He is at that age (and financial status) where he doesn't need anything and whatever he needs, he just buys for himself. But he loves food. And nuts.

This recipe is sooooo simple and soooo yummy. I like to make yummy roasted nuts at Christmastime, or anytime, for that matter. They always make a nice homemade gift for a friend, co-worker or neighbor, if you package them up pretty.

Sugar n' Spice Nuts:
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 egg white
1 c. salted cashews
1 c. pecan halves
1/2 c. dried cranberries.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar cinnamon and cayenne pepper. In a large bowl whisk the egg white until foamy. Add nuts and cranberries, then sprinkle with sugar mixture and toss to coat. Spread in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. I use a pan with shallow sides; it works real well.
Bake at 300 degrees for 18-20 minutes until golden brown; stirring once. (In my oven I actually needed about 30 minutes). Store in an air-tight contatiner.

Sugar mixture

Tossing the sugar and nuts and cranberries.

Ready for the oven.

I also made him a loaf of Blueberry Orange bread, that has a nice orange-honey glaze.  This was my grandmother's recipe and it's delicious! I'll post the recipe for this at a later date; I promise!
When it's cooled, I wrap it in parchment paper and cellophane and add a ribbon and tag.

I made a couple of these loaves at Christmas for co-workers. To see them wrapped, click here.

Have you ever gone to a fair and visited one of those kiosks that sell roasted nuts?? And the smell is so wonderful you can follow your nose right to it?? And you want to buy about three bags and scarf them down right then and there?
Well...you can make your own roasted nuts at home very easily! I always make these at the holidays to put out in pretty bowls for guests to nosh on or bring them to other parties.

Roasted Pecans:
1 lb. pecan halves                   1 egg white
1 Tablespoon water                1 tsp salt
1 c. sugar                               1 tsp cinnamon

Beat egg and water until frothy in a large bowl. Add pecans; toss to coat. Mix sugar, salt and cinnamon in another bowl. Add pecans to sugar mixture and toss to coat. Spray a baking pan with sides with Pam and arrange pecans in a single layer in the pan. Bake 45 minutes at 300 degrees. Stir every 10-15 minutes.

Not only do you have a delicious treat, but your house will smell heavenly!!!

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