Crispy Sambal Candied Nuts
Crunchy and flavorful candied nuts are, in many ways, the unassuming heroes of the pantry.They perk up a drab salad. They round out a charcuterie or cheese platter. They’re a crunchy, easily sharable snack to bring as a host gift or to serve with cocktails. And, best of all, they are incredibly easy and fast to make!
While sugar is the core ingredient of the super crunchy coating, candied nuts don’t have to beoverly sweet. Well-caramelized sugar has its own savory complexities, which are easily enhance d with a dash of salt or umami. In this recipe, the spicy umami of Homiah’s crispy sambal creates a mouth-watering snack to pair alongside other salty nibbles, such as olives, cheese, or cured meats. They also make an excellent addition to a hearty salad—think crisp greens, crumbled blue cheese, and shaved apple or pear.
If you’re looking for subtle umami and very little spicy heat, opt for the smaller amount of crispy sambal suggested below. If you’d like a more pronounced funky kick and a mild, blooming heat, use the larger amount. For more assertive heat, feel free to add more sambal to taste, or try adding a pinch or two of your favorite dried chili flakes.
- Recipe by Julia RackowNOTES
If at any point the sugars start to smell acrid or you see smoke, don’t panic. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool as you continue to stir. If your nuts need more time to caramelize, return to the burner, but lower the heat to slow the cooking speed.
Always use caution when working with hot sugar. If burned, immediately run the burned spot under cool water to drop the temperature and stop the burning.
Cleaning your pan is easy: Add a few cups of water and place the skillet back over low heat. Cover with a lid if you have one. The warm water and resulting steam will help loosen the cooked-on sugars without any fussy scrubbing.
Crispy Sambal Candied Nuts
- 1½ cups untoasted, unsalted nuts
- ½ cup white sugar
- 3 tbsps water, plus extra for deglazing
- ½ to 1 tsp Homiah Crispy Sambal
- Flaky salt (Optional)
- Before beginning, have a baking sheet and a few table spoons of extra water at the ready.
- In a large skillet combine the nuts, sugar, 3 tablespoons water, and sambal. Place over medium-high heat and stir, fairly constantly, until the sugar has melted and the resulting syrup has begun to boil, about 3 minutes.
- Continue stirring until the sugars have started to crystallize and clump around the nuts, another 5 minutes or so. You’ll see the sugars start to crystallize on the surface of the pan, and then the syrup will start clumping around the nuts about a minute later. Stir constantly, moving and mixing the nuts to make sure they are cooking evenly.
- About 1 minute after the sugars have clumped you will start to see the film of sugar on the pan begin to re-melt. If necessary, drizzle a very small amount of water on any stubborn spots to help dissolve the crystallized patches on the pan. Take care to avoid the resulting steam—it will scald you! Stir and scrape up the loosened sugar bits, mixing them in with the melting sugar.
- Continue stirring until the nuts have darkened to your liking, then sprinkle in a pinch of flaky salt (if using) and pour the nuts onto the baking sheet. Spread into an even layer and let cool.