pretzel bites.

pretzel bites.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

hanukkah treats. that aren't fried.

i like to think of myself as a reasonable person. and a reasonable eater. but over the course of the last two weeks i have eaten approximately 17 jelly donuts (sufganiyot) and 139 chocolate gelt coins. the gelt coins weren't even that good. half of them were milk chocolate, which were fine, and the other half were dairy-free and tasted far more like the little foil wrappers they came in than like chocolate. but i ate them anyway. because that's what happens to reasonable people like me around hanukkah. i work at a jewish community center and school. i have been surrounded by hanukkah for a long, long time. there has been no escape.

i used to find jelly donuts unspeakably disgusting. why ruin perfectly delicious fried dough by stuffing it with jelly instead of with something sensible like custard or chocolate? i never even understood why jelly donuts in particular are traditional hanukkah fare. first of all, it was olive oil that miraculously lit the eternal flame above the ark of the torah in the destroyed temple in jerusalem for eight nights when everyone thought the oil would only last for one. i'm pretty sure no one ever fries jelly donuts in olive oil because that's just not a very good idea. i lived in jerusalem for two years and jelly donuts were everywhere around hanukkah. literally everywhere. it seemed like they were stacked in every bakery window, being sold on every street corner even. and still i resisted. because... well... blech. as i saw it, there were two kinds of people in the world. boston creme people and jelly donut people. i was proud to stand with creme.

and then something happened. and i don't remember how or why. but last year, unquestionably against my will, i was coerced into trying a raspberry jelly donut from trois pommes patisserie, this perfectly adorable bakery down the street from me in brooklyn. and everything changed. you see, these delightful confections are filled with the exact right proportion of delicious raspberry jelly that's entirely reminiscent of the jewel-like fruit, then fried to doughy, crispy perfection before being heavily coated in powdered sugar. they are completely delicious. completely. delicious. and now i'm a jelly donut convert.

and i'm not afraid to say it.

i love jelly donuts! they are delicious!!!!

but now the trouble is, i already ate my fill. it's the second day of hanukkah and i don't even want to look at them anymore.

latkes don't really do it for me. i'll eat one here and there, but unless they're made by my mom, whose latkes taste the way latkes are supposed to taste (smothered in applesauce and sour cream), i pretty much avoid them. so that's my situation this year. and that's why i decided to make lemon olive oil cookies to bring to a friend's hanukkah party tonight. perfectly festive, fresh, and without a hint of jelly or fried anything! in fact, these cookies don't even have a hint of butter and they still manage to taste great.
ingredients for cookies:
2 cups flour
1 1/2cup sugar*
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of two lemons*
juice of 2 lemons
*1/2 cup sugar and remaining zest are used to make lemon sugar
to make the cookies:
1. preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. combine the flour, 1 cup of the sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
2. combine the olive oil, vanilla, 5 teaspoons of the lemon zest, and lemon juice in a smaller bowl.
3. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine with a fork. the batter will feel like wet sand. shape into tablespoon size balls, then make the lemon sugar.
4. combine the remaining zest with 1/2 cup sugar and stir until the consistency is like dry sand. the oils from the zest will get released and flavor the sugar. this will store well in an airtight container in your pantry.
5. roll each cookie ball in the lemon sugar and place evenly on cookie sheets lined with a silpat or parchment paper. bake for 12-14 minutes, or until cookies start to brown slightly on top. when they've cooled you can sprinkle them with some extra lemon sugar to taste.

i hope these light, lemony cookies will be a nice bright note for reasonable people who, like me, can't stomach another jelly donut or even a piece of chocolate gelt!

and to those who celebrate, i hope you have a wonderful, happy hanukkah and that your homes are filled with light and love!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

flourless chocolate cake. like fudge you eat with a fork.

sometimes you need
                     divinely rich
                             chocolate cake.
without the flour getting in the way.
            are you ready for this much chocolate?

ingredients (there are only FOUR):
1 1/8 cups dark chocolate chips (think 60% or higher.)
1 stick butter (salted. always salted.)
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs 
to make the cake:
1. preheat the oven to 300° F. separate the eggs yolks from the whites.

2. melt the chocolate and butter together. i did this on the stovetop, though you could do it in a double boiler or even in the microwave.

3. stir 1/4 cup of the sugar and the egg yolks together and slowly add the beautifully yellow mixture to the melted chocolate and butter.

4. beat the egg whites with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes, then slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until the mixture totally defies reason and transforms from a kind of gelatinous looking goo into fluffy whiteness and stiff peaks form. this should take about 5 minutes.

5. gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until just combined and then pour the batter into a greased 8" cake pan. bake for 40 minutes.

6. when the cake is cooled remove it from the pan and sprinkle some powdered sugar on it just before serving to make it look pretty.

fudgy, rich, delicious chocolate heaven.
savor every bite!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

peanut butter sandwiches. for dessert.

when i was young i think i knew exactly one person with food allergies. it was a kid at camp who couldn't eat the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that got packed for us when we went on field trips. if i recall correctly, no one made a big deal of it. least of all the poor kid with the peanut allergy. a few years later i remember reading about how some airline was banning the sad little bags of complimentary peanuts that used to get handed out before the airlines started making travelers pay $9 for bags of food that have to be rationed exceptionally well to make them last the length of any given flight. by my calculation, one would have to eat approximately 2 1/5 pretzels an hour to make the provisions last from NY to LA. anyway, according to the story i read, peanuts were being banned because someone with a serious airborne allergy to them inhaled peanut air on an airplane and nearly died. or something like that. yikes.  

but it's not just peanuts. it's gluten, too. i don't think i even ever heard the word gluten until i was 16 years old, and i absolutely can't recall knowing anyone with an allergy to it. don't get me wrong, i'm extremely sympathetic of people who suffer from allergies. as a lifetime seasonal allergy sufferer, from a family of lifetime seasonal allergy sufferers, i get what it's like to feel tired and runny and puffy as soon as the winds change. i also know what it's like to have a serious allergic reaction to an unidentified substance i may or may not have ingested. this happened to me at two, yes, TWO different weddings, both of which, coincidentally (?) took place in ohio, and once on a tuesday in NY. the NY one was scariest of all and i ended up in the hospital for however many hours they make a person wait after being shot with an epipen because i had experienced full-on anaphylaxis, my tongue had swelled so much it had obstructed my breathing, and my blood pressure had dropped dangerously low. the single bright note of all of these horribly terrifying and inconvenient experiences was the effect on my lips, which looked sumptuously angelina jolie-like for about two days after each incident. so sympathy for allergies, i've got. what i don't have is information. what on earth is happening to kids today?! why do so many children have so many complicated allergies?! i work at a community center with a preschool and afterschool and i don't think i can begin to count the number of children with food related allergies. this one can't eat chocolate. that one can't have dairy. no eggs for this one. peanuts and nuts are banned from the facility entirely. and gluten? forget about it! you can only imagine what the preschool bake sale was like last year...

i actually pride myself on accommodation baking. i love coming up with delicious desserts for my vegan friend josh that don't involve flax seeds, and i've even gotten pretty good at gluten free treats for my friend andy, like flourless chocolate cake and celiac friendly "oreo" truffles. but every once in a while it's nice to just go all out. to use good old fashioned, thick, creamy, velvety peanut butter. and not worry about killing anyone.

today i went to a really delicious, lovely brunch to celebrate my friend sean's 30th birthday. since he's well within the range of the generation not afflicted by peanut allergies, i thought it was safe to make these indulgent little treats for him.

1 cup smooth peanut butter
2 1/2 tbs. butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (i used light brown)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 bag chocolate chips (i used a combination of milk and dark)
to make the pretzel bites:
1. melt 2 tbs. of butter and add mix it with the peanut butter.
2. add both sugars and the vanilla and beat with a hand mixer. the consistency should be kind of paste-like and dry enough to make little balls out of. if it's seems to wet and sticky after adding all the ingredients, slowly add a little bit more of both kinds of sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
3. roll the peanut butter into teaspoon-size balls and press down in between two pretzels to create a sandwich. freeze the mini sandwiches for about 20 minutes.
4. cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. melt the chocolate chips with 1/2 tbs. butter. when the chips are fully melted and smooth, dip the mini sandwiches in so they're halfway covered with chocolate then place each one flat on the parchment paper and return them to the freezer until the chocolate sets, which takes about an hour.

alternate endings:
1. bring out the salty side of peanut butter by sprinkling some sea salt on the chocolate before it sets.
2. prevent yourself from eating the leftover melted chocolate by pouring it into a plastic bag and cutting a little tiny piece of the corner off the bag before squeezing the it over the pretzels to make fun squiggly designs.
3. get really fancy by doing alternative ending 2 with white chocolate.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

smoked trout salad. by way of the 'burbs.

my parents live in the suburbs. where there is nowhere good to eat. according to them. this isn't exactly true, because there are plenty of perfectly delicious chain restaurants, like ruby tuesday, the cheesecake factory, and even chili's. but for some inexplicable reason these wonderful establishments don't quite cut it for them. (i am not being sarcastic. i LOVE a good spinach artichoke dip, an all-you-can-eat salad bar, and a menu that never ends.) their idea of dinner out doesn't involve a "two for tuesday" deal. they don't want their alcohol served in a fishbowl. and they certainly aren't interested in a super sampler platter. even though it's a great deal! and it's not that they're snobby. at all. my dad will happily eat grocery store macaroni and cheese. it's just that when they go out for dinner they want to eat something made with love and care and fresh ingredients. made with intention.

my family in napa
this all began on their honeymoon, which consisted of an eating tour of france. and it blossomed from there. they spent their 20th anniversary eating their way through italy. and around 30 years of marriage they discovered napa. i don't think we ate out all that much when jake and joey and i were young. sit-down family dinners were important for us. and if we did eat out, we usually ate at restaurants that had crayons and paper place-mats with trivia. my favorite childhood restaurant, cactus cantina (still standing!), had a tortilla-making machine right near the entrance, which was actually a brilliant move on the restaurant's part, because children who might otherwise have been running amok were riveted by the constant flow of doughy balls being flattened into the very torillas they'd soon be eating, right before their eyes, and the three of us were no exception. it wasn't until we were older, when we could truly appreciate what it is my parents love so much about great food, that they started bringing us along. and even then it didn't quite catch for me. the town surrounding the liberal-arts-school-in-the-middle-of-cornfields i attended didn't offer much in the way of fine dining (though it certainly had its fair share of fantastic diners). i was once taken to a place called ryan's steakhouse on a date, where every single bit of food, from the steak swimming in gravy of an unidentifiable color, to the jello with whipped cream on top, was served in a buffet. all-you-can-eat, needless to say. when i graduated college and moved to ny i was more interested in spending what little money i had on--and yes, i am embarrassed to admit this--rum and diet coke than on food. the great thing about ny is that it's actually possible to eat truly delicious things for under $5. but even still, i didn't really discover what it meant to truly eat until josh came around and i was able to share it all with him.

josh and me in napa before the third most delicious dinner of our trip
now i'm changed forever. i still love a good national chain restaurant, an all-you-can-eat buffet, and a nice hot dish of gooey, cheesy spinach artichoke dip (i'm happy to say my taste in alcohol has refined over the years), but now i get it. i get what it means to eat great food. over the summer josh and i took a belated honeymoon in the pacific northwest, which we hiked and ate our way down before meeting up with my parents and jake and joey in napa, which is what heaven must look and taste like. when food is prepared and served with affection, with appreciation, and yes, with ingenuity and finesse, the way it is by truly great chefs, eating it is a nearly inexplicable experience because how can you find words to explain the experience of nourishment becoming love right on your tongue? how can you describe what it's like to close your eyes and want to exist in a single bite of food forever?

that kind of eating does not exist in the washington suburbs. but there is something invaluable i gained from what was once really a pretty great restaurant a few miles from my parents' house. sadly, it has since come under new ownership and my parents haven't been there since 2009. but that's where i discovered smoked trout. on salad.

and then i discovered that trader joe's carries smoked trout in perfectly sized tins. and life got a little bit better.
a couple months ago my friend molly had a trader joe's themed birthday party. i know it sounds completely bizarre, but it really was rather brilliant. instead of having just a regular old potluck dinner she asked that everyone create some kind of culinary treat using only ingredients procured at trader joe's. i decided to make my smoked trout salad. it's one of the easiest things to throw together, and it's always a hit. in fact, it was such a hit at molly's party that when it came time to vote on best appetizer, main course, and dessert concoction, the salad won best main course! a huge honor! i won a trader joe's license plate border!!

the beauty of this dish is that there are a million and one variations. here's my favorite way to serve it.

i head of lettuce of your choice. i like red leaf or butter lettuce for this salad.
tomatoes. of your choice. i like to use about 3/4 a cup cherry or grape tomatoes.
1 apple. i like something with a little crunch. fuji or granny smith.
1/2 cup chopped cucumber.
1/4 cup chopped parsley. and/or dill.
2 cans smoked trout.

ingredients for dressing*:
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tbs. minced shallot
2 tbs. champagne, apple cider, or red wine vinegar
4 tbs. olive oil

to make the salad:
dump everything in a big bowl and mix it together, making sure the smoked trout is broken up and evenly distributed.
to make the dressing:
combine all ingredients until the oil, then slowly add the oil and whisk it in until it's emulsified.

another really delicious thing to do with smoked trout: combine it with a container of whipped cream cheese and a tablespoon of mayo. throw in some salt and pepper and you've got a wonderful smoked trout dip that's perfect for bagels or crackers!

Friday, December 9, 2011

sea salt caramel chocolate pretzel bark. candy for grown ups.

broad branch market. the location of one of the greatest joys of my childhood. a shop full of promise. full of candy. a place of friday afternoon freedom. this mecca of childhood happiness sat on the corner of broad branch road and northampton street, catty-corner to my elementary school in northwest washington dc. every friday after picking jake and joey and me up from school my mom would generously hand us $2 each (each!) to save or spend as we pleased. i can still recall the delighted exhilaration i experienced walking up the steps to what seemed to me to be a shining structure full of wonders and hope, and which, in retrospect, was more likely a dilapidated shack with questionable health code status.

jake used his allowance money to buy things like mushrooms so he could saute them, or brie so he could concoct cream of brie soup. i am convinced joey saved every single dollar of his allowance and has thousands of it just sitting in his bank account. and what did i do with my riches? i bought candy, of course! back then $2 was enough to buy four whole candy bars. i ran right to that colorful candy aisle and walked up and down, back and forth until i'd assembled the perfect quartet of textures and flavors. on any given friday this might include a box of gobstoppers, a pack of hubba bubba gum, a bar of hershey's chocolate, and a bag of skittles. or maybe it was a bag of m&m's, a pack of starburst, a three musketeers bar, and a box of nerds. by dinnertime friday they were gone. apparently "saving for later" wasn't my thing. you'd think i was otherwise deprived of sugar as a child, which wasn't at all the case. we got to eat sweet treats. but we got to eat them in reasonable proportions. a couple cookies. a piece of cake. an ice cream cone. and at reasonable times. after lunch. after dinner. at birthday parties. but that wasn't quite enough for me. i wanted more. wanted to be wholly in charge of my candy intake. i vividly recall, at the age of 8, trying to convince my mom to buy me some sugary concoction or other at the grocery store and being told no. no! a disaster! i tried negotiating. didn't work. i tried whining. really didn't work. i wasn't above crying, but before i got there, my mom let me in on a little secret. she told me that when i grew up i could buy all the candy i wanted, whenever i wanted. i could eat it every single day. all day long. she said so. the key to eternal happiness was within my reach. all i had to do was grow up...

i'm grown up now. mostly. and i still have that same sweet tooth. candy aisles at bodegas still catch my eye and make my heart flutter. i still spend an alarmingly large portion of my day thinking about chocolate. but there are a couple things my optimistic, sweet tooth 8 year old self didn't know about yet. just as i lost the fearlessness that lead me to daringly climb trees and do horrifying flips on jungle gyms, so too have i lost the notion that a lifelong candy binge is a good idea. calories have something to do with it. and sugar stomach aches do, too. it's really quite sad. but not sad enough to keep me from making my own candy. like sea salt caramel chocolate pretzel bark.

bag of mini pretzel twists
2 sticks salted butter
1 cup sugar
12 oz. bag dark or bittersweet chocolate chips*
sea salt
*i used a little bit more than this because a little extra chocolate never hurt anyone

to make the bark:
1. preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a cookie tray with
tin foil
2. melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat. while it's melting line the cookie tray with an even layer of pretzels.
3. when the butter is melted add the sugar and stir it until it's incorporated. the butter and sugar will start bubbling, but make sure it doesn't boil. stir it occasionally as it caramelizes. when it looks like caramel, quickly and evenly pour it over the pretzels. it will help to do this in rows, back and forth, up and down the cookie sheet. even out the caramel using a spatula if it needs it. then pop the cookie sheet into the oven for 5-7 minutes.
4. while the pretzels and caramel are working their magic, melt the chocolate chips. you can do this in a bowl in the microwave, over a double boiler, or even in a pan on the stove top. just make sure the chocolate doesn't burn or start to harden before the pretzels come out of the oven. when they do, pour the melted chocolate evenly over them, spreading it with a spatula as needed.
5. sprinkle sea salt evenly over the chocolate and stick the pan in the fridge for about two hours. when the chocolate has hardened, peel back the tin foil and break the pretzels into small, bark-like pieces and enjoy!

something to try: i think smoked, salted almonds add a wonderful,
interesting flavor to this bark. you can buy then at most grocery stores in a little can. just throw them in a bag and hit them with a can of something a bunch of times, then sprinkle on top of the chocolate along with the sea salt.
something else to try: giving chocolate gifts!

a few years ago, jake and joey and i took josh on a tour of our old neighborhood. we drove past the house we grew up in, pointed out our crossing guard stations, the homes of our friends, our school, and of course, we made a stop at broad branch market. it's now some kind of fancy organic shop where things like coconut juice, heirloom tomatoes, and spelt flour are sold. i bought an organic, fair trade chocolate bar just for good measure...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

on swimming, seltzer, and soup.

i used to bike to work. every day. well, not every day. but every day that the temperature was above 30 or below 95 degrees when i woke up in the morning. i rode gleefully, peacefully, meditationally, and safely through the beautiful brownstone streets and over the glorious brooklyn bridge, past the statue of liberty, and into lower manhattan. roughly four miles there and four miles home. it was the most wonderful way to start and end my work day, and i didn't even have to worry about exercising in my free time. my bike even had a basket. it still does, actually. only, i'm not allowed to ride it anymore because there's a chance i'll fall off and hurt myself, which i'm not allowed to do now because i'm pregnant. (whereas falling off and hurting myself before i was pregnant would have been perfectly okay?) the nurse who delivered this disappointing news suggested i ride a stationary bike. it's not her fault. she doesn't know me. so she doesn't know that the likelihood i'd fall off a stationary bike is about 1000 times greater than the likelihood i'd fall off my road bike. but it's okay, because i started swimming. and i love swimming, which is soothing and wonderful in its own way, and i'm told i will be able to do it throughout my pregnancy because apparently the risk of asphyxiating on chlorinated water is smaller than the risk of falling off my bike. the only problem is the timing. the pool i go to is only open in the evening, which means that monday through wednesday i can't get there until about 6:45, which means that i don't get home until about 8:00, which means that by the time i'm ready to get dinner started it's 8:30. which, for me, is late to get dinner started. thursday is a bit better because all of that is pushed up an hour, and starting dinner at 7:30 seems a lot more reasonable.

especially when i have this.

the single greatest thing that has ever happened to my kitchen.

the second greatest thing that has ever happened to my kitchen is my seltzer maker. joey gave it to us as a wedding gift and it makes me happy every single day because it looks like a penguin and magically turns tap water into bubbly water. and i can control the bubbles. sparkling water just doesn't cut it. i need gigantic, spastic, loud bubbles that i can hear from the next room.

 my love affair with seltzer began when i finally stopped pretending that it was okay for me to replace my daily water intake with diet coke. (a fluid is a fluid?) what i missed more than the saccharine sweet, syrupy goodness of the diet coke was the bubbles. until i discovered seltzer. and now i'm a total convert. (seltzer=water!) 

but! but! but! i can't make soup in my seltzer maker.

and i can in my beautiful, shiny, heavy, red le creuset dutch oven. it was also a wedding gift. and it makes me feel very grown up and serious. and it also soothes me through the long winter because i can eat homemade soup as much as i please. which is often. which i ate on thursday evening when i got home from swimming.

i made this incredibly easy, delicious, comforting soup.

ingredients for the soup:
2 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
2 tbs olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth*
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cannellini beans
4 cups roughly torn kale
salt, pepper, garlic salt, and celery salt
2 cups bread cubes**
*you can use more or less depending on how much liquid you like in your soup.
**i used not-so-good bread from the grocery store which i just cut up into cubes about 1 inch each

to make the soup:
1. preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tbs olive oil, then generously sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic salt over them. mix it all together with your hands and stick it in the oven for about 12 minutes. you should check on them after about 6 minutes to see how they're doing and give the baking sheet a little shake. you want the croutons to be hard and nicely browned. but not burned.
2. drizzle the remaining 1 tbs olive oil in your soup pot, which is a large le creuset if you're lucky like i am. dice the garlic and onion and add them to the pot, along with about a teaspoon of salt and pepper and about 1/2 teaspoon celery salt. you can omit the celery salt if you're crazy and you don't like it. let them garlic and onion cook down over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.
3. add the can of diced tomatoes, including the liquid, 2 cups of the vegetable broth, and the cannellini beans, stir it all together and cook uncovered on high while you prepare the kale.

4. prepare the kale. remove the thick stems and tear the leaves into 2 or 3 inch pieces. when they kale is ready to go, dump it into the pot, add the remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth (more or less to taste), stir it in so the kale is submerged, cover and let it cook for about 5 minutes, or until the kale is cooked down. a lot.
5. scoop it into a bowl and throw some of those delicious garlic croutons on top.

the different flavors and textures are wonderful together and they'll make you feel warm and happy inside, even if you don't have a le creuset. or a seltzer maker.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


when jake and joey and i were young my dad used to tell us stories before bedtime. sometimes the stories were about the amazing adventures of three daring, heroic children named jake, nani, and joey, who went around saving lives and stopping crime. other times he told us what came to be known as "true new funnies" which were stories from his own childhood, more often than not about embarrassing and ridiculous things his own aunts and uncles had done, that left us rolling on the floor in hysterics. once, he told us a true new funny about the time he ordered a pretzel on a new york city street corner when he was a child. he watched, mouth agape, as the pretzel vendor took my dad's order--a single, deliciously chewy and salty pretzel--then paused to sneeze gigantically, colossaly into his own bare hand before reaching for my father's treat, hanging innocently behind the protective glass with the very same hand. i'll spare you the details of the rest of the story, which i'm sure were hilarious enough to have us all in tears, but not damaging enough to prevent me from buying food from street carts. some things are just too delicious. pretzels and street cart nuts are two of those things.

one of the wonderful things about new york city during the period when fall turns to winter is the nuts. just the smell of them makes me nostalgic for christmas. the lights, the carols, the wrapping paper, the cheer. and i'm jewish. and not even hanukkah bush jewish. married to a rabbinical student jewish. but there's something magical about new york in the holiday season, by which i mean thanksgiving through new years, and i only hope that the tourists who come pouring in to the city during this time period go home with a sense memory of the smell of those steamy, sweet, soul-warming street-corner nuts. because then they'll be fond of new york forever.

this recipe is good inspiration, though i think there's a lot of room for improvisation. and improvisation is the best.

2 egg whites
4 cups whole raw cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds*
1 cup white sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt**
*or any nuts you like!
*throw in some pumpkin pie spice or allspice if you have it!

to make the nuts:
1. preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
2. whisk the egg whites until they break up and start getting foamy.
3. dump all the nuts in the bowl and use your (clean!) hands to mix them into the egg whites, making sure they're all covered. add the sugar and spices and mix them again to coat.
4. spread the nuts on two baking sheets covered with parchment and bake for 30-40 minutes until the nuts aren't sticky anymore. your house will smell like happiness. break them apart and eat them!

i tripled the recipe and put the nuts in jars to give out as thanksgiving gifts, which made people happy. the essence of fall in a jar. how could it not?