I paid $8 for my first handful of Mashuga Nuts. It was a moment of weakness I admit, but the odds were against me: it was too late to leave the hotel room; the movie was great; the sweet cravings were unbearable; the minibar snack basket beckoned.
Mashuga Nuts is a brand name, but the word ‘Mashuga’ is Yiddish for ‘Crazy’. Which seems appropriate since these are crazy good. Too much? Sorry.
Anyway, I made these for my Leftover’s Club partner, Sandra of Meadows Cooks Healthy Recipes. She made adorable little chocolate meringues for me – the perfect bite-size sweet fix. You should check out her blog. The CousCous Cucumber salad and Sweet Potato Hash are calling my name.
Making these nuts is a two-part process, and you may be tempted to stop after the first part. You won’t hurt my feelings if you do, the nuts are already delicious at this point. But if you go one step further, coating them in a hot sugar syrup, you’ll have the closest homemade knock-off of Mashuga Nuts that I’ve ever tasted.
- 1 egg white whisked until frothy
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/4 cup Bourbon
- 2 cups raw pecan halves
- 2 cups raw walnut halves and pieces
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl (egg white through Bourbon); stir to combine.
Add pecans and walnuts; stir to coat. Transfer to one of the prepared baking sheets and spread into a single layer.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly on a wire rack. Separate nuts as much as possible (you'll have a few clumps) and transfer to a large bowl.
In a medium saucepan, combine granulated sugar, water and salt. Stir to combine. Place over medium-high heat and cook until a candy thermometer reads 300 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla and baking soda. The mixture will foam and double in size.
Pour sugar syrup over nuts in bowl and, working quickly, stir to coat. Transfer mixture to second prepared baking sheet and do your best to spread into a single layer.
Once cool, break nuts apart into bite-size chunks.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.