Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chili-Orange Spiced Walnuts

With Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all quickly approaching - and the gatherings that come with them - I'm always on the lookout for tasty snacks that can be prepared in advance and kept on hand in case of unexpected visitors.  Here's one that I whipped up this afternoon on a whim:  It's based on the classic recipe of an egg white and sugar coating walnuts or pecans, but with a spicy kick.  A touch of orange juice and extract combined with a fair amount of black pepper and chili powder make this recipe suitable for hungry cooks and cocktail parties alike.  This recipe also takes well to doubling - and if you've got a big crowd, these sweet-spicy nibbles will go quickly!

Chili-Orange Spiced Walnuts
Makes about 5 cups
Click here for printable recipe

4 cups walnut halves (pecans can also be substituted)
1 egg white
1 t. orange juice
1/2 t. orange extract (or 1 t. finely minced orange zest)
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. chili powder
1/2. t. chipotle powder (or substitute 1/2 t. chili powder with a dash of cayenne)
1  1/4 t. salt
3/4 t. black pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter a large cookie sheet, and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine sugar, chili powder, chipotle powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.  In a 2 quart bowl, whisk egg white with orange juice and orange extract (or orange zest, if using).  Add walnuts, and toss to coat; then add in sugar mixture and toss again until all nuts are coated evenly.  Spread walnuts onto buttered cookie sheet, and bake for 20-22 minutes, until coating has hardened.

Transfer walnuts to waxed paper or parchment paper to cool completely.  Walnuts keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

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