carmelized peanuts & macadamia nuts
If you’ve ever been to New York, you’ve surely walked by the nuts4nuts street vendors and been lured by their delicious smelling peanuts or almonds. If you actually have the guts to buy them from the creepy guy behind the cart, you’re almost certainly going to be let down. Well my friends, have I got a recipe for you, one that most definitely will not let you down. These carmelized peanuts are possibly the most delicious snack ever.
Not only do they taste amazing, but it only requires a few ingredients that you probably have in your cupboard right now, peanuts (or a different type of nut if you’re daring), sugar, water, salt and cinnamon. The one thing that threw me a little bit was the amount of time they took. I expected them to be quick, around ten minutes, but mine took more like twenty to twenty five minutes. Plus the steps are a little bit scary because crazy things happen in the pan, but lucky for you I documented them.
First, you’re going to boil the peanuts in a mixture of water and sugar. You’ll be able to see liquid bubbling away.
Then, about 8-10 minutes after it’s been boiling, the sugar will seize and your mixture will look dry and sandy. That’s what it’s suppose to look like, don’t worry.
Just when you’re beginning to think you really did something wrong, you’ll start to see a dark, sticky syrup starting to pool. That’s the magic. Keep stirring around every now and then, coating the nuts in the slowly forming syrup. Just before they’re ready to take off the stove, sprinkle the salt over them and stir.
Finally the nuts will be bronzed and you’ll be eager to taste. If you taste one and don’t immediately want another, I don’t know if we can be friends. Seriously, I made these and about an hour later half the nuts had disappeared. They’re sweet and crunchy, buttery and sticky. In other words, seriously addictive. Please make these, they’ll make you happy.
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
From David Lebovitz:
You can easily cut the recipe in half, although I don’t think you’ll have any trouble finishing off a whole batch. I’ve made this many times using raw almonds and peanuts, but if you want to experiment with other nuts. I think round nuts work best so the sugar can tumble around and coat them, rather than get stuck in any pecan-like nooks and crannies.
2 cups raw peanuts (or almonds or macadamia nuts)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
In a wide, heavy-duty skillet, mix the nuts with the sugar and water. Cook the ingredients over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid seizes up. It will take a few minutes.
The nuts will become dry and sandy, which is perfectly normal. Don’t worry; you didn’t mess up. Lower the heat and keep going, scraping up any syrup collecting in the bottom of the pan and stir the nuts in it, coating them as much as possible.
As you go, tilt the pan, removing it from the heat from time-to-time to regulate the heat and the syrup, so you can coat the nuts with the liquid as it darkens without burning the nuts or the syrup. This is the only tricky part—I like to get the nuts as deeply-bronzed as possible. If the mixture starts to smoke, remove it from the heat and stir.
Right before they’re done, sprinkle the nuts with a mixture of the salt and cinnamon, stir them a couple of times, then tilt the nuts out onto a baking sheet or a marble countertop.
Let the nuts cool completely, then break up any clumps. Store in an airtight container, where they’ll keep up to a week, if you can manage to not eat them all up before that.