Nuts!  A Great Holiday Exchange Item

Looking for a festive holiday exchange item for entertaining and gift-giving? This year we’re nuts about nuts! They disappear quickly at holiday gatherings, and make a delightful gift (package in decorative tins or embellished cello bags). Savory nuts we’ve squirreled away in the freezer will be turning some ho-hum salads into something special in the weeks ahead. Check out three of our favorite recipes—two savory and one sweet.

On a practical note, now is the time to purchase promotional holiday-priced nuts and freeze them for future baking. Transfer nuts to freezer bags and place in the freezer. They will stay fresh for at least several months and perhaps up to one year.


Savory Mixed Nuts
Recipe yields 3-4 cups

1 pound pecan halves or mixed nuts of choice
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 300°. Add butter to a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and set pan in oven to melt butter. In a separate container, combine nuts and spices. Remove pan with melted butter from oven and add nut and spice mixture. Gently stir until well mixed. Bake until nuts are toasted, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Remove nuts from oven and cool. Package as desired.


Orange Candied Walnuts
Recipe yields 5-6 cups

1 pound walnut halves or pecan halves
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
finely grated zest from 2 oranges
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. Spread nuts on baking tray. Toast 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir brown sugar, evaporated milk, and salt until sugar dissolves. Continue to boil rapidly, without stirring, to soft-ball stage (238° F on candy thermometer). Stir in butter. Place saucepan in a bowl of ice. When the bottom of the saucepan is cool, add orange zest and vanilla. Stir vigorously until smooth and creamy. Pour over nuts. Toss gently to coat nuts. Spread into a single layer. Cool completely. When firm, break nuts apart. (Alternatively, drop nuts into miniature praline-like portions to cool.) Package as desired.


Spicy Pecans
Recipe yields 3-4 cups

1 pound pecan halves
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 300°. Add butter to a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and set pan in oven to melt butter. In a separate container, combine nuts, Worcestershire sauce and spices. Remove pan with melted butter from oven and add nut and spice mixture. Gently stir until well mixed. Bake until nuts are toasted, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Remove nuts from oven and cool. Package as desired.

I also have a much requested nut recipe, that I would like to share with everyone!

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds

3 C. toasted whole almonds
3/4 C. water
1 1/2 C. Sugar
1 t. orange zest
1 t. cinnamon

Over med/high heat combine water, sugar, orange zest and cinnamon. stir in whole toasted almonds. Cook. As liquid starts to evaporate keep stiring the almonds. As soon as the almonds and sugar crystalize remove them from the pan immediately! They will quickly go from crystalized to ruined. Put on a piece of parchment paper to cool. When cool to the touch break any clumps of almoonds apart.

Put in airtight container to store for several months.

Just as good as the almonds they sell in the malls during the holidays at a fraction of the cost!

These are a good alternative for an exchange.  I can’t decide which to make, but how nice they will look in a jar!

The Cinnamon Roasted Almonds posted by JenniferB sound absolutely fabulous.  I plan on making some of these for Christmas Eve and some more for my freezer!

Yum! I am making some similar spiced nuts for gifts this season. I made some VERY cute containers out of formula cans (I have twins so I have a LOT of cans, coffee cans would also work). I used self-stick craft foam to cover the can, then had my older son help decorate with holiday foam stickers. I spray painted the lids with that Krylon paint for plastic which worked great. They came out VERY cute!

Thanks for sharing! I have always wanted to find the recipe for the Cinnamon Roasted Almonds. What a fabulous teachers gift for next year.

I was wondering…..on the Roasted Nuts in the ingredients…is that a Teaspoon or a Tablespoon?

Thanks

t= teaspoon
T= tablespoon
Hope this helps.

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Capture a plan for make-ahead entrées that is doable and fun! Without devouring the grocery budget, or ravaging your schedule, you and your lucky friends can plan, prepare, and swap fabulous food items. Prepare? At your utmost convenience. Plan and swap? Now you’re talking fun. Get together to chill, connect, swap, and plan for next time. We'll help you get started!



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