For this weekend’s party, I want things to be spectacularly different. For apps, we are including nuts, but it’s not a matter now of just opening up a can or bag. We want to do more.

What can you do with nuts? Why, candy them. Now, we’re making an appetizer, not dessert, but it will start on the sweet side. The recipes for candied nuts vary enormously. “Candy” is always operative, meaning you mix nuts with sugar and bake. Beyond the sugar, you are free to add other flavors or herbs to your content. You can go hot with lots of chile powder. Or for a more conventional spicy treat, this recipe uses sugar in combination of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper and vanilla.

These are lovely nuts to being a party with. They pair superbly with a sparkling wine. Your mouth can savor the cold bubbles, the warm spices, and the crunchiness of the nuts.

This recipe is from Alice Waters, the culinary queen of California.

Candied Nuts

Yield: 3 ½ cups


  • 1 egg white
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups (about 1 pound) pecans halves, walnuts halves, or whole almonds


Preheat the oven to 425°F.

In a medium blow whisk the egg white until frothy.

Add the sugar, spices, salt and vanilla. Stir until combine, then add the nuts. Mix together until all the nuts are coated. Pour onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the nuts from time to time with a large offset spatula until all the nuts are coated and dry.

Let cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.

Source: The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters