Monday, January 11, 2010

Sweet, crunchy, sugar free?

Sometimes you just need something to munch on that is sweet.  If it's crunchy too, so much the better.  When I first did the low carb portion of the Metabolism Miracle, this was one of my mainstay snacks.  It satisfies your sweet tooth and is filling too.  Just be careful not to overdo it, these are addictive, but not calorie free!  If you don't mind using Splenda, these will definitely be a pleasant surprise.  One of these days I may modify this recipe to use a natural sugar free sweetener like Stevia.  We'll see, stevia can be bitter if you use too much.

Sugar Free Candied Nuts

12 oz pecans (or nuts of your choice)
½ c sugar free Davinci or Torani syrup (flavor of choice)
¼ c butter, melted
½ c Splenda (or ¼ c splenda, ¼ c erythritol and a few drops stevia)
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
¼ tsp black pepper

For a twist, and if you don't mind the extra carbs, add ½ tsp dried orange peel and ½ c dried cranberries and increase the pepper to ½ tsp.  Use a syrup like caramel or vanilla, even hazelnut, something simple, and you will end up with a close approximation of the storebought Valdosta pecans.  Just check them sooner and toss them more often to avoid scorching.

Preheat your oven to 350º.  In a medium bowl, toss the nuts with the butter and syrup.  Combine the splenda and spices and toss them with the nuts until evenly coated.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  (It will be safer if the sheet has sides.)  Pour the nuts and any liquid in the bowl onto the sheet and spread into a single layer.  Bake for 15 - 20 minutes and then start tossing the nuts every 10 minutes until they are just crispy.  Once all the liquid is absorbed, watch them closely as they will go quickly from crispy to scorched and will crisp up more once they cool.  You may want to turn down the oven to 325º at the end to be safe.  Cool on the sheet and store in an airtight container.  If using erythritol, watch carefully, as the browning will occur more easily.

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