• 2 cups roasted, unsalted nuts (I prefer mixture of cashews, peanuts, and almonds)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 oz bacon
  • Zest of 1 large orange (or 2 small ones)
  • Course ground or flake salt

These nuts are so good.

I mean cry-for-more good.

They’re perfect for adding to a cheese board at your next cocktail party… sprinkling on some vanilla bean ice cream after one of those days… or eating straight out of a jar,  just because you can.

The base for my favorite new concoction is a classic candied nuts recipe, which you can find in abundance online. My inspirations were David Lebovitz and Martha Stewart. (Quick sidebar: if you aren’t following David Lebovitz on Facebook and/or Twitter, you’re missing out!)

But I’ve had bacon on the brain a lot lately (haven’t we all?), and wanted to incorporate it into the recipe. Once I committed mentally to doing so, those flavor-obsessed voices in my head kept whispering ‘orange zest.’ So I decided to do some experimenting, and you’re-bacon-me-crazy nut mix was born.

You can use any roasted, unsalted nuts for this recipe. My favorite is a mix of peanuts, cashews, and almonds. Cashews are soft nuts and can burn before you know what happened, so just watch the pan closely and stir frequently to prevent this from happening.

This recipe is a breeze. You should make it. Here’s how:

 Instructions

*See ingredient list at top of post. (Step-by-step photos at the end of the recipe.)

1. Chop bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and fry in medium skillet. Drain on paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

2.  Combine nuts, water, and sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over low-medium heat.

3.  Stir frequently. Water and sugar will start to thicken, and eventually start to crystalize. It will begin to look like there’s sand in your skillet (see photos below). At this point, begin stirring continuously to avoid burning the nuts and/or sugar.

4.  The sugar will begin to melt again and caramelize, turning a dark brown color. Continue stirring constantly, and turn the heat down if the nuts start to get too brown, or the contents in the pan start to smoke.

5.  Once most of the nuts are coated with the brown caramelized sugar, with some of the grainy, crystalized sugar remaining on some, remove from heat.

6.  Add 1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground salt (or flake salt), bacon, and orange zest to pan. Stir to combine.

7.  Pour nut mixture on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow to cool completely.

8.  Once cool, break up the nut mix with your hands. Store in air-tight container for 1 to 2 weeks.

 

 The Process in Pictures

Nuts, water, and sugar in pan over low-medium heat, at beginning of process.

 

After approximately 4-5 minutes, the water and sugar start to thicken and bubble.

 

Soon, the sugar will start to crystalize and take on the look of sand. It's important to keep stirring at this point.

 

Next, the sugar will start to melt and caramelize, taking on a dark brown color. Keep stirring. You're almost there.

 

Once most of the nuts are covered in the caramelized sugar, with some crystalized nuts still remaining, remove the pan from heat. Stir in the salt, bacon, and orange zest.

 

Pour nut mixture on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

 

Gimme!