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Author Notes: When I make my Butternut-Sage Scones, there's always a bit of butternut liquid leftover from draining the cooked squash. One day, I thought why not turn it into a simple syrup, not sure of what I'd actually use the syrup for, and this martini was born. The Maple-Sage Sugared Walnuts are adapted from the recipe for Maple Sugared Pecans in the cookbook In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley, one of my favorite cookbooks. - mrslarkin
For butternut-sage simple syrup
- 1/2 cup butternut liquid, drained from a microwaved, mashed butternut squash (see Butternut-Sage Scones recipe), or water
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
- Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to steam. Remove from heat, let cool while the sage infuses the syrup.
- When cool, strain syrup into a jar. Keeps for a few weeks in the refrigerator.
For the maple-sage sugared walnuts and the butternut-sage martini
- 1 cup raw walnuts, halves and pieces
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon egg whites
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- fresh sage leaf – one large, one small
- 1/4 ounce Nocello (walnut liqueur)
- 2 ounces vodka
- 3/4 ounces butternut-sage syrup, plus more for rimming glass
- 1 tablespoon finely crushed maple sugared walnuts
- FOR THE MAPLE SUGARED WALNUTS: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Place walnuts and chopped sage in a small mixing bowl. Mix egg white and maple syrup in a small cup. Add to walnuts and stir well. Sprinkle the brown sugar over and toss to coat nuts completely. Spill walnuts onto cookie sheet, and spread out in one layer.
- Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, stirring a few times, until nuts are nicely toasted. Slide parchment off of hot cookie sheet onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
- Finely crush a small amount of nuts equal to about a tablespoon. I use my mortar and pestle. Reserve the rest of the walnuts for another use.
- FOR THE BUTTERNUT-SAGE MARTINI: Rub inside of martini glass, as well as outer edge, with large sage leaf.
- Place 1 tablespoon butternut-sage syrup in a flat plate. Dip rim of glass in syrup, turning edge of glass all the way around.
- Place crushed maple sugared walnuts in a flat plate. Dip wet rim of glass into the nuts, turning edge of glass all the way around.
- In a cocktail shaker filled 2/3 with ice cubes, add Nocello, vodka and butternut-sage syrup. Shake. Pour into prepared glass. Garnish with small sage leaf.
- Cin cin!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Walnuts & Sage