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Paprika Candied Nuts Recipe by Bridget Harney

These paprika candied nuts are dangerously good. Ridiculously delicious and moreish. They are really quick to make, and still impress everyone who eats them! This batch disappeared very quickly with very few people involved in their consumption. These are perfect to nibble before a dinner party, while you’re watching a movie or to bring on a picnic. Pop them in a nice jar or bag and they also make a super cute edible gift.

I see this recipe as a variation on the crisps and chocolate phenomenon. The sweet, savoury and spicy really do work together and make every bite interesting. The paprika isn’t really hot, so it’s a recipe that most people can enjoy even if they don’t like spicy foods.

There is a rule about not stirring sugar while it’s melting, as this causes it to crystallise. In this recipe, I deliberately did this occasionally so that the nuts would have knobbly, crunchy sugary bits to catch the salt and spice. If you want shiny smooth nuts, then swirl the pan instead of stirring it. Personally I like the more rustic style, but do whatever makes you happy!

These are really quick to make and can be varied depending on your tastes. I used almonds here but any nut would work. In general though, this is a good recipe for whole nuts with the skins still on. You could used smoked paprika or even go with something spicier like cayenne if you wanted to heat it up. I have also used this method to make sweet candied cinnamon nuts recently. I like a mix of nuts for the sweet nut recipe. The method was just the same, but leaving out the salt and replacing the paprika with cinnamon. They’re really nice sprinkled on yogurt for a mid week dessert or a Saturday morning treat breakfast.

Ingredients
200 grams of almonds or other nuts
100 grams of white granulated or caster sugar
1 ½ teaspoons of coarse salt (I use pink Himalayan salt)
1 teaspoon of paprika

Method
1. Line a flat baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2. Place the nuts in a large non stick pan. You want to be able to more or less fit the nuts in a single layer. If you’re pan is too small, do it in two halves.
3. Toast the nuts over a low to medium heat for five to ten minutes. Keep moving the nuts until you can start to smell them and they start to look a little bit oily.
4. Scatter the sugar over the top of the nuts and leave to sit for about five minutes until you can see the sugar start to melt. Sugar is very hot when it’s melted so be careful and use a heat resistant utensil to turn them.
5. Start nudging the nuts around the pan so that they’re picking up the melted sugar. (This is what creates all those knobbly edges!)
6. Once most of the sugar looks melted, sprinkle half the salt and paprika over the top. Turn the nuts over and sprinkle the rest of the salt and paprika on the other side.
7. Scrape all the nuts out onto the greaseproof paper and spread out a bit so that it‘s a pretty even layer. Leave to cool. This will probably take about twenty minutes.
8. While the nuts are cooling, fill the frying pan with water and bring it to a boil. This will lift off most of the sugar. (See, I even care about your washing up!)
9. Once the nuts are cool, they’ll have set hard. Break them apart into single or small clusters of nuts.

They will keep for about two weeks in a sealed container at room temperature.

Enjoy and (try to) share!

RECIPE BY BRIDGET HARNEY

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I have baked for as long as I can remember. I grew up on an organic farm in County Wicklow and Maura Laverty’s ‘Full and Plenty’ was my guide in developing the basic skills and knowledge around food. It was this manual and my surroundings that nurtured an interest in local foods and a desire to use familiar ingredients in a creative way.

I work as an Occupational Therapist in the Mental Health services and have always valued the relaxation and pleasure that baking can bring. Since competing in the Great Irish Bake Off 2013, I have had new opportunities to bake for a café and write my blog, The Search for Delicious. Baking is still an important part of my personal life, but since doing the show I have a great opportunity to share my recipes and food with people outside my circle of friends and family. I hope to develop recipes that are familiar but different, comfortable but still exciting, and am always delighted when someone tries one of my recipes!

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