Enrobed in a sugary meringue coating, this candied nut recipe, known as Swedish Nuts is a delightful treat to serve during the holidays or any special occasion.
A Brief History of Candied Nuts
Comfits, a seed or nut that has been coated in layers – sometimes upwards of 100 layers – of sugar, were very popular during the Elizabethan Era. Because of the time required to make them as well as the cost of sugar, these treats were generally served by the elite and were a symbol of wealth and social status.
By the 18th century, sugar prices began to fall as demand for sugar to sweeten bitter drinks like coffee and tea soared. As sugar became more available, confections were consumed by a wider audience.
Though much more available, the ingredients to make a candied nut were still expensive and as such, these treats were reserved for special occasions, like weddings, holidays and even childbirth.
With the introduction of mechanization in the 19th century, candy began to be manufactured in larger quantities
Though, I wasn’t able to discover why this recipe has come to be known as Swedish Nuts, I was able to find dozens of comments about recipes similar to this. It seems this recipe is at the center of holiday memories for many people.
Candied Nuts Fun Facts
- The two items that Alice brought with her to Wonderland were a box comfits and a thimble. After the Caucus Race, she awards each of the creature a comfit.
- Confetti, and Italian treat of sugar coated nuts or seeds were sent to relatives celebrate weddings.
- For her wedding, Marguerite of Burgundy, wished to give sugared almonds “to the common people”.
Serving Swedish Nuts
- Serve for coffee hour with mocha bars, carrot cake, or angel slices.
- Pour a glass of Pinot Noir or Riesling and a side of Swedish Nuts.
- Sprinkle Swedish Nuts over a Pear Salad.
- Serve Swedish Nuts on a cheese board along with spent grain crackers, and fig cocktail cookies.
- Fill a cellophane bag with Swedish Nuts and wrap with a colorful ribbon for a delicious gift.
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- 2 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups walnuts
- 2 cups pecans
- 1/2 cup butter
- Preheat the oven to 325˚F.
- With a stand mixer or hand mixer on medium-high speed, beat the egg whites in until frothy. Gradually beat in sugar, until sugar is dissolved and stiff, glossy peaks form.
- Add the nuts into the egg mixture, stirring until well coated.
- Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces.
- Place the butter on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven to melt.
- Spread the nut mixture over the melted butter and bake for 30 - 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. The butter should be completely absorbed into the nuts when done.
- Cool on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
Recipe Box Roulette
This recipe is from a social media game we developed called Recipe Box Roulette. Find a family recipe box and play along.
The rules are simple. Let your fingers wander over the recipes cards in the box, draw one at random, share it with us on FB Page or on your Instagram Feed. Remember to tag @theheritagcookbookproject and use the hashtag #recipeboxroulette.
Extra credit – make the recipe and share a photograph.
Swedish Nuts contributed by Loretta O. from Peggy Morris’ recipe box