Saturday, December 27, 2008

Handmade Holiday #11: hey, there are still parties...

a little late posting this one! These also went out in some of my final round of presents/care packages. Honestly, I can only give you the roughest estimate of a recipe, as this was mostly done off the cuff, with an open issue of Martha Stewart for suggestions/reference points.

In a single layer on a baking sheet, toast 1-2 cups nuts at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 7-10 min, or until fragrant. I used up all of the nuts we had in the cupboard: peanuts, walnuts, and cashews. Pecans would be particularly lovely in this mix.

While they're baking, mix about 1/2 c. sugar (I used demerara), 1-2 tsp salt, 2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp nutmeg together in a bowl. Set aside.

Cover another baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper and set aside.

Let the nuts cool while you get the sauce together: in a smallish saucepan (mine was only 1 quart), mix about 1- 1 1/2 c. maple syrup (I used grade B), a generous splash (approx 2 Tbl) brandy, about the same amount (or maybe a touch less) of good vanilla extract, and 1 Tbl of butter. Cook, whisking, over medium heat until reduced by half.

Pour your nuts, and some cranberries (maybe 1/2 to 3/4 c?) into the pan with the reduced syrup. Cook, stirring, until liquid is almost gone; the nuts will have a bit of a coating.

Once done, add the sugar mixture to the pan. Toss quickly to coat the nuts evenly, then pour nuts and cranberries in a single layer on prepared parchment-lined pan and allow to cool for several hours.

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