Sugared nuts are a wonderful treat if you want that perfect mix of sweet and salty. They're good to make as a finger food for parties or just to keep around at home for a quick snack when you want something but it's not quite meal time yet. Sugared nuts originated in Italy and were quite popular as favors for weddings. The Italians were known for enclosing five sugared almonds in beautiful boxes to give to wedding guests. Each almond had a meaning. Usually the meanings were Health, Wealth, Happiness, Long Life and Fertility. Making sugared nuts is very easy. Even novice cooks can follow these simple directions for making sugared nuts.
The first step in preparing sugared nuts is getting your ingredients together. For perfect sugared nuts, you will need 3 cups of nuts (any type), a cup of sugar, and about a half cup of water. For a little bit of a different taste you can use 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar. A sprinkle of cinnamon never hurts either! Some suggestions for types of nuts to use for your sugared nuts are almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, and even pecans. If you decide to use walnuts for your sugared nuts it's best to use whole walnuts to get the best flavor.
Once you have your ingredients for making sugared nuts you need to preheat your oven to about 350. Spread the nuts out on a baking sheet and let them cook for 10 minutes before putting anything on them. They should be a nice golden brown color when they are ready. Combine all other ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and cook them until the sugar is completely dissolved. It will probably take about 10 minutes on the stove top for the sugar to dissolve. When the mixture is ready add the nuts and mix until all the nuts are covered in the sugary mixture.
Put parchment paper over your baking sheet and spread the nuts across the parchment paper. Try to spread them out evenly, but keep in mind it's OK if some of the nuts touch each other on the pan. This may be unavoidable. Bake them for about 15 more minutes. Check every so often to be sure they don't get scorched. When they are done let them cool for about 20 minutes. After the sugared nuts have cooled you can add some spices if you wish. Sugared nuts are very tasty when they are sprinkled with cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, cloves, chocolate sprinkles, or practically anything that suits your tastes. Be creative! It will be really hard to go wrong with this step, and this is probably the most fun part of making sugared nuts.
After you've topped them with your desired ingredients, enjoy! Remember that they will keep for up to 4 months in an air tight container in your freezer.