Ina Garten's Favorite After-Work Snack Is A Sweet And Salty Treat

The perfect after-work (or after-school) snack is fun, easy to make and eat, and leaves you satisfied for just a few hours to hold you over until dinner. Enter Ina Garten's salted caramel nuts. As she reminds us in a post on her Instagram, "Now that we're all back to school — or back to work — we need a treat after a long day. Who wouldn't love salted caramel nuts?"

We can't see many people turning down the snack, since the sweet and savory combo ensures that lovers of both flavors will enjoy the nuts. Plus, it's the perfect mobile treat, whether you're taking a handful with you as you head back out the door or just to your couch. And as Garten suggests, this snack is pretty easy to whip up, with a short ingredient list — all you need are nuts, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. The nuts are roasted, coated in a thick layer of sticky caramel, and broken into clusters of sweet and salty goodness. As a bonus, making this snack will fill your house with all kinds of delicious caramel and nutty aromas, perfect for the fall back-to-school season.

How to make Ina Garten's salted caramel nuts

If you're too tired to make this treat when you get home from work, make a big batch on Sunday and keep them for the week. However, they don't take too much effort to whip up. Garten's recipe uses one cup each of whole roasted salted cashews, whole large pecan halves, whole unsalted almonds, and whole walnut halves — but feel free to mix and match the nuts to a ratio of your liking, as long as you have four cups in total. She also advises using two types of salt: Kosher salt for tossing with the nuts, and fleur de sel for sprinkling on top at the end.

After you roast the nuts for seven minutes, Garten recommends making the caramel on the stove while they cool. This is easier than it sounds — all you need to do is cook sugar and water in a pan without stirring after the two are combined. Then the vanilla gets added in, the caramel gets poured onto the nuts, and the whole thing sits until it's cool to the touch. Want to modify this recipe a little? Try using brown sugar instead of white, or adding spices like cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or nutmeg to your caramel. If you're really looking to switch it up, try a little cayenne pepper or chili powder. Once you've nailed down your ideal flavor combo, you'll have a tasty snack that will (possibly) last the week.