Day: July 15, 2012

Dish :: Pig Nuts

Let’s say you were invited to a party.  Knowing full well the alcohol consumption will be off the charts, and aware that the host and hostess will be providing a lovely spread of chips and dips, you decide that you want to bring something salty, sweet, spicy, and most importantly, easily carried around in the free hand that isn’t holding one’s beer.

I have just the thing!

I found a basic recipe for these spiced nuts online a few days ago, and when this party came on my radar, I knew this was the perfect offering to bring.  Oh, and then yesterday, while getting my toesies painted at the salon, I saw a lady on TV making candied bacon and thought, “Holy CRAP, that looks good.  Now I just need a reason to make it!”

And then, while the tiny Vietnamese woman at my feet babbled to her friend on her Bluetooth headset, inspiration hit me and that bacony little lightbulb lit the hell up.


Oh dear Lord.  You must try this recipe next time you need to bring a snack to a friend’s house.  Or if you have an office party.  Or a family gathering.  Or for Christmas gifts.  Or even if you just want some bacon and need an excuse to candy the hell out of it.


You will not be sorry.  They satisfy every craving you could have.  Salty.  Sweet. Crunchy.  Chewy.  Just a little kick of spice.  BACON.

What else could you possibly want in a snack??

(If you’re a vegetarian, you can make these just as well by eliminating the bacon.  They are still delicious!)

Pig Nuts

  • 6 cups of salted mixed nuts (make sure to get salted, shelled pistachios and extra pecans to mix in)
  • 1 pound of sliced bacon (I used an uncured, thick-cut bacon, but any type would do – maple bacon might be amazing in this recipe!)
  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar,
  • 4 tablespoons of egg white, lightly beaten (3 medium eggs yielded just about the right amount for me)
  • 6 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground clove
  • Nonstick aluminum foil

Preheat your oven to 350°.  Line two large cookie sheets with nonstick foil (wrap the foil up over the edges, too, so the sugar doesn’t seep onto the pan and burn); set one of the sheets aside.

Arrange the bacon in a single layer on one of the cookie sheets.  Sprinkle a thin layer of brown sugar over the bacon slices, and use your fingers to spread the sugar evenly over the slices.  Flip each piece of bacon and repeat the process on the other side.  Bake until crisp and caramelized (20 – 25 minutes).  Watch carefully at the end so the bacon doesn’t burn; you may have some blackened ends, but those can easily be snipped away later.

Transfer the bacon to a wire rack to cool.  Once cooled and firm, use kitchen scissors to cut bacon into small, bite-sized pieces.  Set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°.

While the bacon is in the oven, measure out your mixed nuts into a large bowl and set aside.

Mix the dry spices and sugar together in a small bowl or measuring cup, and blend them well with a fork or whisk.

Measure out and lightly beat your egg whites, and toss them, and the vanilla, with the mixed nuts until they are all glossy and coated with the mixture.  Add the spice and sugar mixture and toss again.

Spread the nut mixture onto the second cookie sheet, and roast in a 325° oven for 12-15 minutes.  Watch carefully, as these should be a dark, caramelized color, but not burnt.  Once finished, remove from the oven and cool.

Notice how my pan isn’t lined with nonstick foil. I had to throw that pan away because the burnt sugar wouldn’t come off. Learn from my error, people!

Transfer your cooled spiced nuts to a large serving bowl, breaking apart any large clumps that may have formed.  Toss the candied bacon with the nuts, serve, and await the chorus of praise from your friends and family.

Makes 6 cups.

(I do not recommend halving this recipe, largely because these WILL get eaten.  I promise.  If you don’t need such a large portion for your gathering, put half of the nut mixture in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.  Because this recipe contains bacon, you want any room temperature nuts to be consumed within 12 hours, just in case.)


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