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Glazed Nuts with Maple Syrup Make Easy Gift Treats!

Day 2 of "25 Days of Angels Baking Christmas Memories"

You'll go nutty over these maple glazed treats and so will the special people you gift them to!

One of the best aromas I remember as a kid at the state fair was the smell of warm spicy nuts at one of those kiosks close to the midway. They combined hot spices with sugars to make one of the best treats that you just couldn't resist. Now you can make them at home for home use or as gifts. They're quick and easy! They're easy because they only take a few ingredients. They're quick because they only take 3-4 minutes on the stove top and you don't need to heat the oven. This is a treat you'll want to keep around the house during the holidays as well as for school and work lunches. They're great for potlucks when you're not sure what to bring because they're quick to fix. And, you can mix so many different types of nuts, whatever you desire. I have made a basic suggestion for a recipe containing two cups of nuts. You decide exactly what types of nuts and what amounts, just so the total equals two cups for the amount of glaze created by this recipe. Or, double the recipe for larger groups and add a wider variety of nuts - walnuts, pecans, macadamias, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, mixed nuts, etc.

Heat your 10-12" fry pan on medium on the burner:

I use a non-stick fry pan.

Prepare your cookie sheet:

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Nutty Ingredients:

1 C Walnut halves

1 C Pecan halves

1/2 C Maple syrup

Pinch of Salt

1/4 - 1/2 t Cinnamon, ground (Optional)

1-2 Drops Cinnamon oil (Optional)

Cover the nuts with the glaze:

- Preheat your fry pan on the stove top over medium heat.

- Pour in all of the ingredients, sprinkling the salt and optional cinnamon on last. (If you want to add the cinnamon oil for more spiciness, first stir it into the maple syrup before you pour the syrup over the nuts.

- Stir all together, so everything is well mixed and all the nuts are covered with the maple syrup.

- Constantly stir until all have caramelized, about 3-4 minutes. Be sure not to sauté them too long or they could burn, and that's not a good flavor.

- Pour and spread out the nuts onto the parchment paper lined cookie sheet and cool.

- Keep them as a mixed nut offering or mix in some colorful holiday candies or popcorn for a festive look.

- They are ready to serve or gift!

Gift wrapping:

- Pour generous portions into cellophane gift bags and tie with pretty holiday ribbons or shiny twist ties. I don't use plastic sealable bags since they can get sticky in those. I prefer using cellophane bags. There are so many pretty cellophane bags in the marketplace, holiday designs, snowflakes, translucent colors or even just clean bags. Most bags of this type come with shiny colored twist ties.

- Cut a square piece of parchment paper or holiday paper and roll it in a cone shape. The size of the square and how tightly you roll it will determine how big the cone will be. Tape the sides. Fill the cone with mixed glazed nuts and fold down the extra points at the top. Secure the top with a holiday sticker. Lay them in a box, alternating top and bottom so they fit snuggly and give them as gifts or transport them to a holiday event. Display them upright in a pretty bowl and let people take their own cones of nuts to eat or share with a friend.

- For a different look, cut a square piece of colorful paper and roll into a cone shape. Fill with the nuts and twist the top and the bottom. Then there's no need for tape. Display in a bowl with the tops up so people know which end to untwist.

- Include a half pound or so in a little windowed gift box for special presents. Write a personal note and include inside or tape to the outside of the box. You can find these pretty packaging items in your local stores or online with holiday designs or just plain. Tie them with pretty bows and your gifts are ready to go.

Serving ideas:

- Sprinkle them on top of green salads as a special garnish.

- Just before serving a broccoli or carrot baked dish, sprinkle them on top for a special sweetness and crunch.

- For more variety, after the glazed nuts have cooled, add M&Ms, mini-marshmallows, dried fruit or chocolate covered fruit like blueberries, cherries or cranberries.

- Mix with salted or buttered popcorn or caramel corn.

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