This month we have three recipes for preparing nuts for the holidays: a very simple procedure for simple Glazed Pecans; a somewhat more complex recipe for spicy-savory peanuts (or almonds, if you prefer); and finally, Cinnamon Pecans, which requires a bit of candy-making technique. (If you need help see this video: How to Cook Sugar to Soft-Ball Stage)
All three make excellent holiday snacks. And once you try them, you'll be able to come up with endless variations on your own.
1 cup shelled raw pecans
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
All all the ingredients to a skillet over medium heat. Stir intermittently until the sugar begins to melt, then stir constantly until the pecan-sugar mixture turns a deep amber color. Remove to a wax-paper coated platter. Separate the pecans (carefully, as the sugar coating will be very hot) using two spoons, then let cool completely.
Spicy Peanuts (or Almonds)
2 cups shelled raw peanuts, with red skins
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 limes, juiced
½ teaspoon (or more to taste) of Tabasco or another fairly hot hot sauce.
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
granulated sugar for sprinkling
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the peanuts. At first, stir occasionally. As the nuts begin to darken, stir more constantly for even cooking. Mix the lime juice, hot sauce, and ½ teaspoon salt until dissolved. After about 6 minutes (7 if you're using almonds instead of peanuts), the nuts should have darkened considerably from their raw state. Rapidly our the lime juice mixture over them and give a quick stir. The juice will rapidly boil and reduce to form a glaze. Remove from heat, transfer the peanuts to a platter and spread in a single layer for cooling. Sprinkle with kosher salt and a little granulated sure. They're ready to eat when they've cooled to room temperature.
2 cups raw pecan halves
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup water
Combine all the ingredients except for the nuts. Mix well. Heat the syrup to the soft ball stage, 235-240F (see head note at the top of the page), then remove from heat. Stir in the nuts. When they are evenly coated, transfer to a wax-paper coated platter and carefully separate before cooling.