I love eating nuts and usually enjoy them plain, but spicing or sugaring them makes any occasion all the more special. In this case, I’ve combined both processes to create walnuts with a subtly sweet maple glaze complemented by the warmth of cinnamon and the kick of cayenne pepper. The heat of the pepper is mild in this recipe, but you can kick it up simply by adding more if you’re so inclined. These nuts are super easy to make, and a few go a long way.
They make great gifts for the holidays (think a small mason jar with a festive ribbon and tag), and are the ideal nibble to serve when company drops by. Just pour some bubbly and set out a dish of glazed nuts, and while away a pleasant hour of conversation.
Don’t wait for guests to savour these nutty treats, though. Curl up in your comfy armchair with a good book and settle in for a satisfying nibble and read session.
Maple Glazed Kicky Walnuts
Pre-heat the oven to 325℉ and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 4 tbsp maple syrup (divided, 3 + 1)
- 3 cups raw shelled walnuts (mostly halves)
- kosher or sea salt for sprinkling
Put the walnuts in a large bowl. Gently warm the olive oil, cinnamon and cayenne pepper in a small sauce pan over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring. Pour over the walnuts, using a spatula to scrape out every bit. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the maple syrup over the nuts, then gently stir well to ensure the oil/spice mixture and maple syrup are well distributed.
Spread the nuts on the prepared baking tray, and heat in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Stir and turn the nuts over a couple of times during the baking time. Sprinkle lightly with a few pinches of salt and set the tray on a rack to cool. If desired, drizzle another tablespoon of maple syrup over the cooled nuts and stir well to add an extra bit of sweet glaze. Allow to dry.
Once the nuts have completely cooled and dried, store in an airtight container and bring forth for any occasion that merits a special treat.