These crunchy and sweet cinnamon sugar-free candied nuts are a delicious, addicting – but healthy – keto & low-carb snack!
Candied nuts make for a perfect holiday or hosting edible gift for your friends, family and co-workers! You can put them in small mason glass jars or wrap them in cellophane bags, tied with colored ribbons.
They are unbelievably easy to make, too: the hardest thing about these keto candied nuts is to stop eating them! Cinnamon-nom-nom 😋
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The fact that these candied nuts are sugar-free is enough to get anyone excited, even if they are not on a keto or low-carb diet. Who doesn’t want some guilt-free indulgence every now and then?
They are a great addition to recipes, as well. The keto pumpkin spice baby bundt cake you can see on the pictures throughout this post got some of these crushed keto candied nuts on top which took it to a whole new realm of sticky and crunchy deliciousness!
Nuts – You can use any single nut or mix of nuts you prefer! It’s a great way to use up nut left-overs (if that’s even a thing). For my keto candied nut mix recipe I added a little bit of every nut I had in the pantry: there’s walnuts, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, macadamias and peanuts. Yes… peanuts. Why not?
Although not technically a nut, peanuts are a cheap and delicious option as well. I added some I had left from my keto spiced boiled peanuts recipe. When boiled, peanuts are similar in taste and texture to sweet potatoes, it’s crazy. If you miss sweet potatoes on keto go and check it out!
Egg white – an egg white beaten to stiff peaks is the base of the coating
Powdered keto sweetener – Powdered sweetener, like confectioners Swerve, is very important for uniform coating. You can use granulated sweetener, but the candied coating will not stick as well.
If you just have granulated sweetener, it’s easy to powder it yourself: just add it to the (very dry!) jar of a blender and pulse it for a few seconds. Wait for the powder to settle before opening the jar. Done!
I used my homemade erythritol stevia blend, which is as sweet as sugar. Pure erythritol has only 70% of sugar’s sweetness. You can make your own, or buy keto baking sweeteners already blended, with either stevia or monk fruit. For this recipe, as the crunchy is a major factor, it’s better to stick with erythritol. Xylitol might take a long while to crunch up after baking.
Spices – A generous amount of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, vanilla extract and, optional but highly recommended: organic blackstrap molasses. It is a natural sugar, but with only one fourth of a teaspoon for the whole recipe the macros are barely affected and the flavor boost is really amazing.
Organic blackstrap molasses adds a burnt sugar dimension that we can’t get from simple white erythritol, and it’s much cheaper than using brown keto sweetener. You can leave it out if you prefer, or just use a brown or golden keto sweetener for a similar result.
Optional: Whey protein! – As you probably have noticed, I am all for sneaking protein into every recipe possible. You’d think that this simple keto cinnamon sugar mixed nuts would be different… but no! I couldn’t resist. I had to make half of the batch adding whey protein.
The difference: in the end, pretty much unnoticeable. The candied nuts coated in the mix that takes protein powder seemed a to get a better coverage, but by a very small margin. The color is slightly lighter, and they have a resemblance of a milky taste.
I don’t think that anyone would be able to tell the difference on a blind tasting test. Or even non-blind, as you can see, in the pictures the sugar-free candied nuts are all mixed up and even I can’t really tell the difference. So, do as you please! Both variations of this keto candied nuts recipe are incredibly awesome, crunchy and delicious.
What are the most keto friendly nuts
To help you choose the best nuts for this keto candied nuts recipe, I separately calculated the net carbs of several nuts options. I pulled the nutrition facts for this table from the USDA database, and rounded the values.
In the USDA database, the term “carbohydrates, by difference” is used. Carbohydrates by difference means, in essence, the total carbs. I subtracted the fiber for the net carb counts, and the result is the list of some of the most common nuts to be candied in a keto friendliness order:
|Nut*||Net Carb||Total Carb||Fat||Protein||Calories|
Nut* in the culinary term. Botanically, peanuts are legumes, and pecans, macadamias, walnuts, almonds and cashews are seeds.
Most unfortunately, with the exception of our savior, the peanut, it seems the keto friendliness of nuts generally correlates with how expensive the nuts are, at least where I live. Tastiness, too. Oh, well.
What are the best nuts to use
The more the sweet candy coating sticks onto the nuts, the better. Nuts that have more nooks and crannies will get a thicker candy coating and walnuts and pecans are the best in this sense, followed by almonds with the skin on. Skinless nuts don’t keep the sugary coating on as well, but they will work, too.
Macadamia nuts are the ones that the coating stuck less to, I guess not only because they are super smooth but also because these little buttery morsels are the highest in fat, at least from the selection on the table below.
How to make keto candied nuts
Start up your oven to 150 °C (300 °F). Line a baking tray with parchment or wax paper. Beat the egg white to stiff peaks (1)
Add the keto sweetener (erythritol is best here), cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract and, optionally, black treacle or unsulfured blackstrap molasses for a deeper flavor (2). Beat the mixture until fully combined (3)
If you want to make the keto candied nuts in high protein version, the recipe is almost the same. You just need to add two ingredients at step 2, along with the spices: One scoop of whey protein and one tablespoon of water. Mix it up until the whey protein powder is also fully dissolved.
Finally, add the nuts to the egg white spiced concoction, and mix them in, coating them all really well.
Uniformly spread the keto candy coated nuts onto a baking tray covered in parchment or wax paper (6). The pictures 6 and 7 show the before and after baking, and the top row of nuts is the one with whey protein. Notice that they are much lighter in color before they go into the oven, but not that different after baking.
Take the tray with the keto cinnamon candied nuts into the oven for one hour. Every 15 minutes, take the tray out of the oven and mix the nuts around with a spatula or wooden spoon. Be gentle so you don’t rip the paper.
When the hour is up, take them out of the oven and wait for them to cool down before storing them, in airtight plastic bags or containers. The keto sugar-free candied nuts made with erythritol will crisp up immediately, but will get even crunchier and more irresistible on the next day!
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