I love nuts.
I love nuts of any type, in any form (ok, saying I like walnuts might be a bit of stretch. But I do like to bake with them, even though just the thought of the frequent bitterness in the raw version gives me chills up my spine). But, generally, give me nuts to nibble on, and I’m a pretty happy camper.
While my favourites are the roasted, lightly salted variety, and I also enjoy them raw (very good for you), I have to confess: I consider nuts coated in yoghurt one of life’s true pleasures.
Yes, I love yoghurt covered nuts. Yoghurt peanuts, yoghurt pecans, yoghurt cashews and yoghurt macadamia nuts. While I no longer fool myself that they are particularly healthy (they are not; a recent study confirmed that the snack contains more fat per gram than a Mac of the Big variety from a popular fast-food franchise!), I still prefer them to chocolate, chips or other sweets when peckish in the car, or out and about.
At a Christmas market yesterday, I treated myself to a small packet of yoghurt peanuts, which inspired me to search for a recipe to make some. (Since beginning my kitchen adventures with sweets, I find it difficult not to view every sweet I see or taste without considering whether I could make it myself.)
Recipes seem surprisingly scarce, though, but I did manage to find one which seemed reasonable to try. Interestingly, the person who posted the recipe on food.com had not tried it out, but simply “stored” it there for later use. So, the exercise was a real experiment, with no genuine reference or guide.
I decided to use macadamia nuts, and to halve the given quantities for the experiment. The reason for this was fairly simple: I only had macadamia nuts, and I only had half the recommended quantity.
This first attempt didn’t quite give me the desired result, in that the coating wasn’t enough in my view, and didn’t set or dry at all. There are a few things that I will do differently on my next try:
I will add more yoghurt, and possibly a little less sugar. To me the coating is a little too sweet, and lacks the sharp yoghurty “bite” that I so enjoy in the store-bought version. The bite is there, but only for a second before being taken over by sweetness.
- I will make a larger quantity of coating for the quantity of nuts given. The ratio doesn’t seem quite right, with the coating not really coating the nuts at all, rather being enough to just lightly cover them.
- I will heat the mixture to at least the firm-ball (118 – 121C), rather than the soft-ball (112 – 115C), stage. This is in the hope that the coating will thicken more, and cling more readily to the nuts. This time round, the coating seemed too thin, and tended to slide off the nuts when spread on the wax paper. It also didn’t quite firm up and get the white, “yoghurty” look I wanted.
- I may also leave the coated nuts in the pot a little longer to thicken before turning out onto the wax paper. This might help the coating set around the nuts instead of sliding off onto the paper.
For interest, here is the recipe as done this time. I’ll post changes the next time I try this.
Make no mistake – these nuts turned out very yummy, they’re just not the way yoghurt nuts are supposed to be. A rather delicious “miss”…
1/6 cup plain low-fat yogurt (my usual concession to (slightly) healthier eating)
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
½ tablespoon butter
¼ teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup macadamia nuts
Wax paper (I placed this on a baking tray for ease)
- Combine yogurt, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in the pot.
- Bring to the boil (I set the plate to 4).
- Once the mixture boils (bubbling), reduce the heat (I turned the plate to 2) and stir constantly until the mixture reaches 115C – about 10 minutes. (As noted, I think this should be longer and hotter. Consider heating this to 120C. Or… wait until I try that next time and see if it has the desired effect.)
- Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter and vanilla essence.
- Stir in the nuts.
- Pour out onto the wax paper (waxy side up). (The original recipe said to separate the nuts with a fork before cooling. I tried this, but then changed my mind, because all it really did was separate the nuts from the coating, which was spreading itself on the paper. Hopefully, my planned changes will prevent this next time, and the coating will adhere better to the nuts rather than to the paper.)
- Do what you can to ensure the nuts are well coated. I folded the wax paper over and made a “sausage” to facilitate maximum contact between the nuts and the coating.
- Leave to cool.
As a final attempt to get them to resemble the yoghurt nuts I wanted, I put them in the fridge in the hope that this will set them. Given the consistency of the coating, though, I don’t see this happening.
We will probably have to eat these with a spoon or fork. Or…
Another option – oh how decadent! – would be to get a litre of vanilla ice-cream, let it soften and then stir this nut mixture into it before re-freezing. Mm, mm, mmmm – my type of flop!