Don't you just love a good bar snack? Bar snacks are there to put a little something in your stomach and tickle your thirst for another drink. The best ones are crunchy and walk the line perfectly between sweet and salty. Whiskey Spiced Walnuts are just such a snack that you can put out when entertaining at home, or package up for a gift when visiting friends. They pair well with all sorts of drinks.
You can use bourbon, rye or Tennessee whiskey or whatever else you have on hand. Bourbon tends to be a little sweeter and rye a little spicier, but any whiskey will bring its own unique flavor to the mix.
2 cups walnut halves
1 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp whiskey
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1. In a large saucepan, combine walnuts, sugar and whiskey. Cook over medium high heat, stirring regularly, until the sugar begins to bubble. When it begins to bubble, stir the mixture more quickly, using a spatula, until the sugar crystallizes completely. The nuts and sugar should look very, very sandy and dry.
2. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring constantly with a spatula to keep the nuts from burning on the bottom of the pan, and the sugar will re-melt and turn golden brown color. Within 4-5 minutes, the nuts should be coated in caramel (it may still look slightly sandy, thanks to the irregular shape of the nuts).
3. Add in salt and spices and quickly stir to distribute evenly.
4. Turn nuts out onto a parchment-lined baking tray (or silicon mat if you have one) and spread them into a single layer with your spatula. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Makes about 2 cups of nuts, enough for a single bowl of bar snacks. Once they’re made, the nuts should be allowed to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container. They’ll be good for at least a week – if they last that long – if they’re kept in that container.