Our beloved Sox sluggers kick off the season next Monday, in Cleveland, against the Indians and whether you’re a Fenway Frank® aficionado or a pretzel person, there’s one old fashioned box of candied popcorn and peanuts that screams baseball – it’s even in the song. For the away opener try making your own nostalgic ballpark fare. These candied peanuts are crunchy and nutty on their own or you can mix them into a bag of your favorite kettle corn to emulate the sentimental snack.
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon hickory or applewood smoked salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
3 cups raw peanuts or almonds
1½ cups sugar
½ cup water
2 tablespoons honey
In a small bowl, combine the kosher salt, smoked salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
Line a cooling rack with aluminum foil and set aside.
Combine the peanuts, sugar, and water in a heavy-bottomed pot and set it over medium heat.
Stir the mixture with a sturdy spoon or spatula until the sugar is moistened by the water (top left in picture above). Mix the ingredients frequently as the sugar syrup bubbles vigorously (top right), then seizes up and transforms into a sandy texture (bottom left), about 10 minutes over medium heat.
Add the honey and stir the peanuts constantly as the sandy sugar melts into a caramelized syrup. Scrape the bottom of the pot and turn the peanuts in the amber syrup to coat them completely (bottom right). If the peanuts start to smoke, remove the pot from the heat and stir vigorously to cool them down before returning the pot to the stovetop.
Once the nuts take on a roasted golden brown color sprinkle on the seasoning mixture and blend into the entire batch immediately.
Pour the peanuts out onto the foil-lined rack, spread them into a single layer, and allow them to cool completely (about 35 minutes). Break up any large clusters of candied peanuts and store in an airtight container.