not your average candied nuts; these spicy candied nuts with bacon are amped up with tons of flavor from center-cut bacon, brown sugar, maple syrup, chili powder, & kosher salt, making them the perfect sweet & savory snack for any special guy in your life. make a double batch to keep some for yourself – you’ll thank me when you do!
ahhhh, dads. they are pretty easy creatures to figure out. just give ’em some combination of fresh air, competition, & delicious food, & they’ll be happy as clams.
my dad, for example, is a total guy’s guy. he loves hunting, & fishing, & canoeing, & all sorts of other outdoorsy things. so when he & mom would come visit us in milwaukee, chris & i would always find ourselves brainstorming things that we could all do & enjoy together.
you see, milwaukee is a gorgeous city with tons of wonderful lakeshore (if you haven’t been, you NEED to go – but more on that to come!), & chris & i lived in our dream apartment – but it was smack dab in the middle of downtown – a real concrete jungle as my dad would call it. we usually would spend most of our milwaukee time together as a group of 4 – walking down the lakeshore or grabbing a bite to eat – but eventually at some point our foursome would split into two twosomes so mom & i could have some girl’s time to go shopping.
for example, in one of our last milwaukee visits, mom & i left the guys for an afternoon to go see a meryl streep movie (something that was not high on either my dad’s or chris’ list of things to do). we weren’t sure what the guys would do, but they assured us that they’d figure something out.
& of course, they did just fine without us: a few hours later, mom & i return from our movie only to find dad & chris happy as can be in the little park across the street from our apartment sitting in lawn chairs with a 6-pack, a bag of chips, & a radio playing the brewer’s game sitting between them. they called it “miller park east” & i just shook my head.
of course – give the guy a lawn chair, a beer, & a baseball game, & what more could he need?
so when it comes to father’s day, i think it’s best to just keep it simple. i’m all about food gifts, & my go-to gift for any special guy is always a jar of spicy candied nuts.
these spicy candied nuts are life & i don’t know what to tell you other than you need to make them asap.
ok, just kidding, i do have more to tell you.
they’re not your average candied nuts; these candied nuts are amped up with tons of flavor from a generous amount of center-cut bacon, which gets candied itself with a quick parbake (told you we’re talking amped up flavor!!).
while the bacon is parbaking & filling your house with drool-worthy smells that cause you to have to continuously tell your husband not to open the oven door, you toss your favorite nut mixture (mine is a combo of toasted walnuts & pecans) with brown sugar, chili powder, & kosher salt. i also add a few dashes of cayenne for extra heat – totally optional, really delicious!
the magic starts to happen when you pull your candied bacon out of the oven. let it rest until it is cool enough to handle, & chop it into bite-sized pieces. toss into your nut mixture & drizzle in maple syrup to bind everything together & back into the oven they go, where they’ll continue to fill your house with almost unbearably delicious smells.
after about 20 minutes, you’ll pull the most amazing smelling candied nuts out of the oven: sweet & sticky from the maple syrup & brown sugar, rich & savory from the bacon & kosher salt, & smoky & spicy from the chili powder & cayenne.
it truly is the perfect snack.
& while my dad might look back on his fond memories with chris in “miller park east” & tell you that there was no better way to spend an afternoon in milwaukee – i have a feeling that a jar of these nuts would have been the icing on the cake.
- 2 cups favorite nuts, toasted (I use 1 cup each pecans & walnuts)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 lb center cut bacon
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place bacon on a parchment lined backing sheet.
- In a small bowl, make the candying mixture, mixing the brown sugar, chili powder, cayenne pepper, & kosher salt.
- Sprinkle half the candying mixture over the top of the bacon & par-bake the bacon at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
- While the bacon is baking, combine the toasted nuts with the remaining candying mixture & maple syrup in a medium bowl.
- Once the bacon is par-baked , chop it into bite-sized pieces & add to the nut mixture.
- Arrange the nut & bacon mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer to ensure even cooking time.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes rotating the baking sheet every 5 minutes, until golden & bubbly.
- Once cool enough to handle, break the candied nuts & bacon into bite sized pieces & enjoy!
- 1. always candy things on parchment paper. i've made the unfortunate mistake of candying both the bacon & the bacon + nuts mixture for this recipe on foil & the result is a sad & impossibly sticky mess. you’ll spend an hour pulling teeny tiny bits of foil off your treat! not fun. not delicious. just don’t do it.
- 2. depending on the hot spot situation that you have in your oven, you’ll want to rotate your nuts pretty frequently as they candy. i bake mine on the middle rack & aim to rotate mine every 5 minutes.
- 3. store nuts in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the fridge.