Also known as Crazy Nuts, Crack Nuts, Nuts on Crack, Incredibly Sugary and Buttery Nuts or "OhmayGod How Come I Can't Stop Eating These" Nuts.
I am very particular when it comes to nuts. I don't mind them whole and salted as a snack or in a bowl that you pick over at a party. I only like salted peanuts on a plane because that's when they taste the best but will avoid them in say, trail mix and go for the cashews instead.
I definitely do not like them in most cookies, unless they are ground so finely like in these Almond Crescents or macarons that I don't know they are there. And certainly not in cakes, brownies or doughnuts. And never, ever in ice cream. Rocky Road and I were not friends as a child. Nor pistachio with chunky bits.
Maybe it's a texture thing but I have never been one to enjoy the feeling that nuts leave in your teeth, especially in your back molars.
So of course, it took me many years to like these nuts.
Granted, these nuts are reduced to something that completely hides the fact that they are nuts at all, or were once nuts. The coating of buttery, crispy meringue disguises all nut shape, texture and color to produce something that is so highly addicting even the most avid nut hater will come back for seconds.
This is a recipe from Popo and she has been making them for years and has always received much high praise in return. Last year was the first year that I made them by myself when I was looking for easy treats for the holidays. I gave the first part to a friend who pretty much demolished the whole jar as I was conversing with him about holiday plans. And the second part went to my coworkers in half-pint mason jars. However, there were some complaints that there weren't enough because some of them ate all of that in one sitting. So after quadrupling the below recipe, I hope that this year I made enough and can assure you that this recipe is easy to multiply as long as you know how to add correctly. Sometimes that is fuzzy for me. Whoops.
These nuts are about the easiest holiday treat ever and with so little ingredients. That's what makes them so great.
But, about the nuts. Only certain types of nuts are allowed to be Swedish-ified. No peanuts. No cashews. No macs. No Brazil nuts. All of these either won't have the right taste or have a surface that is too smooth for the meringue/buttery goodness to adhere to. We definitely want to make sure that is evenly distributed.
The nuts that are allowed are almonds or ah-munds if you're from that part of California ;), walnuts or pecans. Preferably as whole as you can find them. Costco is good at that.
All you do is toast your nuts, melt your butter or brown it if you want to get fancy, whip up a meringue, add a buttload of sugar and fold in the nuts. Then, pour the melted/brown butter on a sheet pan*, spread out the meringue and bake, stirring every few minutes until all the melted butter is gone.
*Note, it's best to use a sheet pan with sides.
You will probably think, that's so much butter! It will never get all soaked up! I think that too every time but it eventually does and it is glorious. Just don't think about how much it is. It's the holidays.
Also, I recently got this spatula from Sur La Table from my mom for Christmas (Thanks, Mom!), and it's the best for flipping the Swedish Nuts over. Also, for removing cookies from a sheet pan. Or for frying eggies or flipping anything.
Once cooled completely, these are ready to be packaged and distributed as you see fit. Or keep them for yourself. Or just make an extra because you deserve it.
Season's Eatings to all!
Yields: 4 cups
- 1 cup whole almonds
- 1 cup whole pecans
- 1½ cups walnuts halves
- ½ cup butter
- 2 egg whites
- Dash of salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Toast nuts on a clean sheet pan until light brown and fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.
In the meantime, melt butter. Feel free to brown it or this step can be omitted. Beat egg whites until white and foamy. Gradually add in salt and sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold nuts into the meringue.
Pour butter into a sheet pan (Make sure it has sides!). Spread nut mixture over butter. Bake in a 325ºF oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring and flipping the nuts every 10 minutes. The nuts will have soaked up the butter and the meringue will have turned brown when finished. Let cool in pan. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.