I decided that my holiday season could start this weekend. I like to wait a little longer than most people to get into the spirit because I don't want to get sick of Christmas music and cookies and the smell of pine (ok, I could never get sick of that last one) before the 25th. My company holiday party was this weekend, so I figured I could start the season at home. Saturday we finally finished cleaning up from Thanksgiving (!), so Sunday we bought a Christmas tree and did a little decorating (I'll post pictures later). On a side note: Several people gave me a hard time about buying a real Christmas tree, but I think I appreciate the smell of the pine more than the ease of pulling a pre-lit tree out of a box. Also, when the tree is as little as ours, it really only takes 5 minutes to put lights on it anyway.
We also did our shopping for the families our apartment building "adopted" for the holidays. We had to buy clothes for an infant and a 3-year-old. We hit up the Baby Gap for some stylish duds-- I think they have better clothes than the adult store!
Sunday night I started my Christmas "baking" so I could send packages to the friends and family we wouldn't be seeing over the holiday season. These candied nuts were a good place to start, the hardest part was cleaning the pans after they were done. Use parchment paper! I ran out and was too lazy to go get some, even though I ended up going out to buy it a few hours later. Bad idea.
I will blog about the rest of the treats going into the packages over the next week. Happy Holidays!
Adapted from New York Magazine
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
generous pinch of cayenne pepper
generous pinch of ground ginger
1 egg white
1 tbs. water
1 pound nuts (I did one batch of almonds and one of pecans)
-Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper
-Combine the sugars and spices in a bowl.
-Wisk together the egg white and water in another bowl.
-Put the nuts in a large mixing bowl. Pour the egg white mixture over the nuts and mix gently until they are all coated with a thing layer of egg white.
-Pour half the sugar mixture over the nuts, stir gently until combine, then pour the rest of the sugar mixture into the bowl, and stir gently until the nuts evenly coated.
-Pour the nuts onto the cookie sheets and using a spatula to spread them. They can be touching, but they should be in one thin layer, not piled on top of each other.
-Put the nuts into the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then take them out and stir them around, using the spatula to spread them into a thin layer again before putting them back in the oven for another 15 minutes, or until the sugar coating starts to look dry.
-Let the nuts cool, then break apart any that are stuck together and store them in an airtight container.