First, this is a very easy way to make lightly candied and crispy nuts:
- Toss nuts (chopped or otherwise) with a pinch or two of salt and some simple syrup
- Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes at 325 degrees, F, until nuts are golden and fragrant.
- Take them out of the oven and let them cool in the pan.
- When cool, check to see if they are crisp all the way through. Sometimes, in the middle of the pan, the nuts will still be a bit gummy with syrup.
- If they are still a little gummy, stir them up and put them back in the oven for another couple of minutes. Watch them carefully. Nuts go from golden to burnt quickly.
- Cool and eat/use/store
For a more advanced method that turns out like those cinnamon-spiced nuts you can get at the mall:
- Put 2 cups or so of the nut of your choice, about 3/4 cup sugar, a pinch or two of salt and any seasonings (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc) all together in a large pan.
- Add a little water for insurance. Turn your stove on to medium high heat, and stir constantly.
- Be careful–the sugar will melt and then start to boil, so use a long-handled heat resistant stirring device, such as a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula.
- Stir constantly until the nuts are very well coated and the sugar is just starting to caramelize.
- Throw in about another 2-3 Tablespoons of sugar into the pan to encourage re-crystallization and continue stirring until the nuts go from shiny to dull and look very sandy with sugar crystals.
- Turn them out onto a silpat-lined baking sheet and let cool. I dare you to eat only one.