Like a culinary magic trick, these brined walnuts are loaded with flavor yet there's no seasoning in sight. By brining walnuts before roasting them, the walnuts are infused with a subtle mix of orange, pepper, and cinnamon flavors.
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons cane sugar, unrefined
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- Strips of 1-inch x 3-inch peel from 2 oranges, medium
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 cup ice cubes (about 6 ice cube tray cubes)
- 1 cinnamon stick, 3 inches
- 3 cups California walnut halves (about 10 ounces), untoasted
- Combine water, sugar, salt, orange peel, peppercorns, and bay leaves in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt then remove from heat.
- Pour brine into a large bowl, add ice cubes, cinnamon, and nuts, cover, and set aside to soak at least 12 and up to 24 hours.
- Heat oven to 250°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Drain walnuts then spread walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally, until walnuts are dry, toasted, and slightly crunchy, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. Walnuts can be served slightly warm or at room temperature. (Can be made up to 1 week ahead and stored at room temperature.)