Monday, November 21, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Rosemary Walnuts

We have a big ol' rosemary bush in our herb garden that grows and grows and grows, despite the weather, despite how much I water it, or despite how long it's neglected.  I love that rosemary bush and it always makes me happy that I spent the $3.99 at Lowes a few years ago.  While basil takes time, patience, and a lot of sun, rosemary thrives no matter the condition.

When I saw this recipe pop up a few weeks ago it looked surprisingly interesting to me.  I'm not usually a huge fan of candied nuts but this sounded...different.  More herby.  Less sticky sweet.  More natural.  I took a lot of creative liberty with this concoction and ended up using one of my favorite spices in the world - cayenne pepper - to give the nuts a little kick.  (I wonder if I'll get any weird google results for just typing "give the nuts a little kick?")  Egg whites serve as the binding agent as opposed to butter which is traditionally used in these types of recipes.  The result?  A light but filling, crispy, flavorful walnut with just the right amount of earthiness, thanks to the rosemary.  

I volunteered to bring these to Thanksgiving at my in-laws this year - John's in charge of the mashed potatoes which are my mom's secret recipe!  Then Friday, we're going to my parents house for Thanksgiving part deux.  I'm making apple pie.  I'm kind of scared.  I'll talk to you about that next week.  In the meantime, try these nuts for a light appetizer or snack.

What are you assigned to bring to Thanksgiving this year?  Have you made it before?  

Sweet and Spicy Rosemary Walnuts
Makes 4 cups

3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 egg whites
1 lb walnuts

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix together the brown sugar, salt, rosemary, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.  In a larger bowl, mix the egg whites together.  Mix the walnuts in egg whites until they are all coated.  Add the sugar mixture and mix well, until the mixture is evenly dispersed amongst all of the walnuts.

Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake about 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a plastic or glass container.  These will keep in an airtight container for about a week.

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