Going Nuts

This past holiday season, I decided to make something special for the kitchen as a gift for my clients, family and friends. I had no idea what a delicious hit these candied nuts would be. My five-year-old gobbled them up and more than one friend said it made for tasty travels on their holiday vacation. My daughter's teacher even asked if she could buy some from me.

There do good, there's no reason to shelve the recipe until December. In fact, they're perfect for gift giving anytime of year. I made a batch to give out to the teachers and school crossing guards for today's last day of school.

Jennie's Cocoa Candied Nuts

Makes 3 cups
One taste and you'll be glad to know this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. You can even swap cumin or curry for the paprika for a Middle Eastern spiced treat.

½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon cold water
One pound assorted nuts

1. Preheat oven to 300ºF. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
2. Add the sugars, salt, cinnamon, paprika and cocoa to bowl of the food processor attachment of your Cuisinart Stand Mixer. Pulse until there are no chunks remaining.
3 .In a large bowl, whisk egg whites and water until frothy but not stiff. Add nuts and stir to coat well. Sprinkle sugar mixture over nuts and toss, or stir with a rubber spatula, until evenly coated.
4. Divide nut mixture onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let cool for a few minutes; break up any large pieces. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, for up to two weeks.