I used to be nuts for pecans. Then something magical happened and I changed my allegiance to walnuts. Toasting is to blame. There is a difference and it is called huge. Makes all the difference in these Bacon and Bourbon Walnuts too!
I had never really put much thought into their being ‘raw’ but it’s that rawness that didn’t find as much favor with me. Toasted? They are magical and totally changed and I feel like I have to make up for years of ignoring them…I’m trying, I really am!
When I was asked if I would like to do a post featuring Diamond Walnuts, I, well, hmm…went nuts! Making something for the holidays? That was easy too. I love them in cookies and pies and salads. I just made a coating for chicken strips that included ‘the nut.’ I’m even thinking of making walnut liqueur for gifts this year but if there is one thing I know that I just love, love, love? Combining them with some maple syrup and spices and then baking them. They are a great addition to a party table but most often it’s my friends and family that can expect some version of a sugared and spicy bag of walnuts in their holiday gift baskets.
Today though I had an epiphany. My food inspirations come in such unexpected ways and as often unexpected places. I spied some of my home cured bacon in the fridge; it reminded me of the gifts I made last year when I had cured several pounds with maple and bourbon for holiday gifts and as the saying goes…the rest is history. No logic in how I got there but it made perfect sense. Toasted nuts with sweet elements provided by way of bourbon and maple syrup, some spice to heat things up a bit and the Pièce de résistance; some salty bacon bits. Let me tell you this was an ‘Oh yeah’ moment.
Beyond good…as in disappeared. Make a double batch. You’ll see.
Served with a fabulous blueberry studded Stilton cheese on my favorite crackers and with a nice Merlot? Maybe that trio will be my holiday gift basket this year. Who are my best friends now, hmm??
Maple, Bourbon and Bacon Spiced Walnuts
- 2 & 1/2 cups One 10-oz package Diamond Walnuts
- 1 large egg white beaten
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp bourbon
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ginger
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 6 slices bacon cubed and cooked until brown
- Pre-heat oven to 350.
- Mix all spices together in a small bowl.
- Beat the egg white with a whisk until it is frothy; add the maple syrup and bourbon and continue whisking for another minute.
- Add the walnuts to the bowl and coat well. Add the spices to the walnut mixture and mix until well blended.
- Pour walnuts on a layer of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes, stirring the walnuts every 5 minutes. After 15 minutes; add the crisp bacon and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Test a walnut to make sure it's fully roasted and crunchy; if not, continue to bake for another 2-3 minutes.
- As soon as they’re done, remove from oven and spoon them onto a new sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Allow the mixture to cool. If some pieces stick together break them apart once they’re cooled!
- Best served the day they are made but then...I don't know how you would have any left. 🙂
100 years of holiday traditions you just don’t mess with. Classic family recipes call for a classic ingredient. Diamond of California nuts. The only nut good enough for your mom’s mom’s recipes is the only one that should be in yours. Diamond of California. Premium quality nuts since 1912.
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Diamond of California via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Diamond of California