I first tasted these spicy, slightly sweet glazed walnuts, sprinkled across a fresh, savory, perfectly-dressed green salad at Agate Pass Café. This beautiful farm-to-table bistro is moving to Bainbridge Island soon, where it will be a perfect fit. In the meantime, I’m adding Spiced Matcha Candied Walnuts to chicken salad, fruit or green salads, and eating them out of hand! I found a recipe just a few months later in a local ‘foodie’ magazine Edible Seattle, where I discovered a secret trick to creating the addictively light, crispy texture of the nuts. Unlike other glazed nuts, which usually include butter or another oil, these nuts are briefly soaked in water, then drained and mixed with powdered sugar before baking. These tasty snacks are naturally gluten and dairy-free, and of course, vegan. The original recipe called for cinnamon, smoked salt, and chili pepper. I switched out the cinnamon for a more complex and gently Asian flavor of Chinese Five Spice and added in Matcha for a boost of umami deliciousness and extra nutrition. Perfect! These nuts are a favorite of my kids, and I love to encourage them to choose a protein-rich and wholesome snack. Mine call them ‘Spicy Walnuts’ and eat them just about as fast as I can make them! Look in the bulk food section of local food coops or natural markets for reasonably-priced walnuts. A mason jar full of Spiced Matcha Candied Walnuts makes a great hostess gift – try putting a square of wrapping paper or colorful fabric under the sealing-rim to dress it up — and my family can count on getting some for Christmas each year. In our moist Northwest weather, these nuts can lose their crunch after a few days, even in an airtight container, but a few minutes in a 300-degree oven will crisp them right up. (Again, they rarely last long enough to go stale at my house….)
Spiced Matcha Candied Walnuts
- 3 cups raw walnut halves and pieces
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
- ¼ tsp Matcha
- 1/8 to ¼ tsp (or more) smoked serrano chile powder
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put the walnuts in a bowl and cover with water while you assemble the other ingredients into a medium mixing bowl. Use a whisk to mix the sugar and spices thoroughly.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
- Drain the nuts into a colander and allow to drain for a couple of minutes, then mix with the sugar/spice mixture until the nuts are evenly coated with glaze.
- Spread the nuts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, and toast in preheated oven for 10 – 15 minutes. Watch closely so the nuts don’t burn. When the nuts are a deep golden brown and the glaze has lost the ‘wet’ look the nuts are ready to come out of the oven.
- Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.