These candied nuts might make the perfect snack to bring on the plane - I can't believe we're actually going off to Cuba this spring break, and that we've only got to wait until the end of this week! None of us really know what to expect, and can only know what the guidebooks and reviews tell us; it will definitely be a very different experience. I've traveled to England many times with my parents, and to surrounding countries, and more recently been to tropical vacation resorts such as Hawaii and the Cayman Islands, however I've never been to a place as culturally different to where we live as Cuba. And I am very excited.
I'm also excited to break from bleak weather and cold rain that continues to finalise each week for us - however, I seem to have nothing to complain about compared to the other side of Canada, with snow storms bringing in over a foot of snow just as spring comes around the corner. Perhaps my pale skin will soak up enough vitamin D to last me until summer, and I'll come back happy and energetic (and tanned!) We've got sun screen, sunglasses, and bathing suits on our packing lists, and I can't wait to put them to good use!
A couple of weekends ago my parents took me to buy a backpack for the trip, it's not too large since we're only going for a week, but I've already started packing. Mentally laying out outfits for the week, planning which of my many pairs of shorts to take, and rolling things up to fit in my pack. I'm really excited to be away from my phone, from Facebook, Pinterest, everything, for a week, and in fact, I wish it were longer. I need a break. And I think both of my parents do as well, from work, school, and little problems that seem so great when we're in the middle of it all, but with a step back, a holiday, they don't seem so big on reflection. We need this trip for a change of perspective, and to put things into reality again.
It's actually quite refreshing not really knowing, or not knowing at all, what to expect. I am a planner and an organiser, and I feel myself slowly letting go even before we've left, all because I cannot plan the events, I can't picture the place or the people there at all. I'm trying to get mum to leave some of the planning to chance, since once we get there I expect our knowledge and feel of the place will change drastically from how it is now, and there is no way we can know now what we will want to do. But I think she's nervous: none of us speak Spanish, we don't know anyone there, and well, it's a completely new experience.
Pack on my back, and notebook in my hand, I can't wait to depart from the plane in hot, sunny, tropical Cuba, and just enjoy every moment we have there, wherever it takes us. Hopefully I can jot down recipes to try back at home, with new inspiration from traditional cuisine from the owners of the casas particulairs which we will be staying at, individually run and owned bed and breakfasts, an option for the "more adventurous tourist." I'm also taking a little camera from my trip to France in the summer, and hopefully will return with lots of colourful photos of Havana and surrounding towns which we will be visiting.
Maple Candied Nuts
Print recipe here
These Maple Candied Nuts are so delicious! I made some to top a salad for a dinner last week, and after we had all finished, we sat their munching on the remaining nuts - and finishing every last crumb off! So, I decided today to make another batch, just in case of course. They can be enjoyed as is, a simple but delicious snack, and also as a delicious garnish for desserts. Vanilla ice cream topped with caramel and spiced nuts? Oh that does sound delicious!
I already regret making so little as I did, so you might as well whip up a double batch while you've got all your ingredients ready to go - these will be gone quickly. These are just too good to pass up.
Personally, I don't like spicy foods very much, but if you would like that extra kick - add 1/4 tsp of cayenne powder to the mix.
2 cups mixed raw nuts (I used pecans and cashews because they're my favourite, but you can choose any type really!)
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons kosher salt (I used Himalayan)
Stir together nuts in a large bowl.
Pour the maple syrup over nuts, add ground cinnamon and stir to coat evenly.
On a baking sheet, pour nuts out and spread apart evenly. Sprinkle generously with salt.
Bake at 300ºF for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir, before baking an additional 10 minutes, or until nuts are toasted and coating is sticky.
Let cool 5 minutes, the nuts should be dry to the touch. Serve warm or cool completely and store in a sealed container.
Enjoy! xx S.
Labels: almonds, candied, cashews, cayenne, Cinnamon, gluten free, maple, maple syrup, Nuts, pecans, snack, spice, walnuts