Sazerac Holiday Nuts are excellent to top off salad greens, but they are also excellent just eaten as a snack. I know that you and your family will love these delicious spiced nuts! These nuts are also a perfect small gift for a holiday party host or your friends! This holiday season, instead of buying spiced or candied nuts at the store, try making this wonderful and tasty spiced nuts. Store bought nuts can be loaded with sodium and sugar and often are expensive.
My friend and neighbor, Lori Grace of Newberg, Oregon, makes this wonderful nuts every Christmas as gifts for her friends. I always look forward to receiving them.
- 1/4 cup ginger oil (see recipe below)
- 1/4 cup sugar, granulated
- 1 tablespoon nutmeg, ground
- 1 tablespoon ginger, ground
- 4 cups pecan halves
- 3 3/4 cups walnut halves
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 1/4 cup Armanac brandy (or Grand Marnier)
- 1 cup cranberries, dried
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
In a small non-stick frying pan, heat the ginger oil over low heat. Add the sugar, nutmeg, and ginger; stir well. Continue to cook over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes to let the flavors mellow.
Place the pecan halves and walnut halves in a heat-resistant mixing bowl. Pour in the warm spiced oil and toss. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes, shaking the pan once (you don't want the nuts to get too brown).
Combine the sherry vinegar and maple syrup. Remove the nuts from the oven and place in the mixing bowl. Toss the nuts with the maple syrup mixture. Return the nuts to the baking sheet and roast in the oven 5 to 8 minutes or until the syrup begins to caramelize; remove from oven. Using a spatula, scrape the nuts and caramel back into the mixing bowl. Toss the nuts until they have cooled to room temperature so that the nuts do not stick together. Add kosher salt to taste.
In a small heavy saucepan, warm the Armanac brandy; remove from heat. With a long kitchen match, light the brandy (always ignite the fumes and not the liquid itself. Never lean over the dish or pan as you light the fumes). Let cook until flame disappears (at this point all alcohol has burned off). Stir in the cranberries. Allow the cranberries to plump in the brandy for 10 minutes. Stir the cranberries into the nut mixture and and let cool.
Makes approximately 10 cups.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil until warm: remove from heat. Stir in ginger slices.
Cover and let sit at room temperature for 3 days. Discard the sliced ginger and store ginger oil in a covered container.
Source: Recipe by Chef Jan Birnbaun and posted in the Oregonian FOODay newspaper section on November 30, 1997.