How Long To Soak Bourbon Candied Nuts To Get Them Nice And Boozy

A skillet filled with candied pecans
A skillet filled with candied pecans - Rudisill/Getty Images

For those who like to eat their alcohol instead of drinking it -- for instance, in an alcohol-infused dessert or tequila chicken tacos -- candied nuts soaked in bourbon are the perfect appetizer. A complex bourbon balances the salted flavor of roasted nuts while complementing any additional sweeteners and seasonings, from honey or sugar to pumpkin spice and cinnamon. Sweet, crispy, and slightly sharp, candied nuts are also simple to make and last for a long time in storage. They're perfect for setting out at a winter dinner party, so guests can snack on them while waiting for the main meal.

Candied pecans are popular across the U.S., where pecans are native and plentiful. More affordable almonds and cashews work just as well, but pecans have a more luxurious connotation. Exactly how long you soak them depends on how strong you'd like the bourbon flavor to be, and of course, it also depends on how much time you have before you plan to serve the snack. However, there is a minimum amount of time that you must soak the nuts if you want them to absorb any bourbon flavor at all.

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The Longer The Soak, The Stronger The Flavor

Two glasses of bourbon, one tipped, with nuts, chocolate and mint leaves
Two glasses of bourbon, one tipped, with nuts, chocolate and mint leaves - Алексей Желтухин/Getty Images

Whether you choose pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, or a mixture of many different types of nuts, you need to soak them in bourbon for at least 30 minutes. Before soaking, the nuts must be lightly toasted in the oven to intensify the nutty flavors. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for five to 10 minutes at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then allow them to cool before dropping them in a large, bourbon-filled container.

While 30 minutes will suffice if you're in a hurry, a longer marinating period allows the nuts to soak up more of the bourbon's boozy taste. To ensure they absorb all of the bourbon's best qualities, soaking them for longer periods -- anywhere from overnight to a week -- is most effective.

Most recipes suggest using anywhere from a few tablespoons to a quarter-full cup of bourbon for the perfect blend, but it depends entirely on how many pecans you're soaking -- there should be enough liquid to cover the nuts. Mixing the bourbon with other herbs and spices, however, can dilute its flavor, leaving it to the chef's prerogative to add more of the beverage for that especially boozy effect.

Which Flavors Work Best With Bourbon-Candied Nuts?

Two glasses of bourbon next to coffee beans and dried orange slices
Two glasses of bourbon next to coffee beans and dried orange slices - Svittlana/Getty Images

Recipes vary with this versatile dish. For those looking to temper the tart taste of bourbon, adding a quarter-cup of cherries during the soaking process sweetens the mixture, adding more of an old-fashioned twist to this nutty dish. Sugar and salt can also be added to taste. Another option for those wanting more of a kick to their bourbon nuts is a small sprinkling of black pepper or cayenne pepper. Orange zest adds subtle citrusy undertones, while cinnamon and vanilla are perfect wintry additions for the festive season. Alternatively, mint leaves can infuse a more unique, distinctive palate.

Whatever your chosen flavors, soak the pecans well and the result will be a deliciously boozy candied treat, rich in protein and packed with flavor, and a perfect addition to the dinner table. This dish has a longevity of several weeks as long it is stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.