The sheer number of times I have mentioned Pop Corners on here should be enough of an indication of my addiction. I am actively trying to battle my addiction, through a twelve step program that is apparently prone to causing relapse. That being said, there were a handful of days in the past few weeks during which no Pop Corners were consumed, as I was embracing the step that urges, “Sought through baking and cooking to come up with a healthier snack to perpetually feast on.”
In creating my new snack, I aimed to include both the sweet and spicy flavors of the Pop Corners that I love so much. The nuts needed to be sickeningly sweet and super spicy. Don’t worry, the nuts themselves are healthy, so their superb nutritional assets cancel out any calories in the coating. Right?
As it turns out, I was mistaken. Not about the calories, but about what I wanted. The recipe I used was much milder than I envisioned, but, nonetheless, unfortunately, addictive. Sigh. These nuts are super crunchy and taste slightly buttery and crisp. They can also taste a bit fishy (I assume from the omega threes), but this flavor mellows out as time passes, and all that is left is the addictive sugary spice.
Sweet and Spicy Nuts
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark will do)
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (double this and the paprika for more of a kick)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound shelled walnuts
1 egg white at room temperature
1 tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put the sugars, salt, and spices in a bowl and mix them together. Make sure there are no lumps.
Put the egg white and water in another bowl and whisk until the egg is frothy.
Add the walnuts to the to the bowl with the egg and toss to coat. Pour the sugar and spice mixture on the nuts and toss to coat.
Put the nuts in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, making sure the nuts do not burn. Stir the nuts occasionally as they cook to make sure they do not lump together.
Remove the nuts from the oven and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight container, for up to one week. Or, bake them into cookies!